By Dan Johnson

Great fishing memories deserve to be captured in stellar photos. Unfortunately, sweet shots don’t happen by accident, they demand as much focus and effort as the most intricate jigging presentation.

After years of traveling the Ice Belt — shadowing Lindy’s pro staffers like the hardwater paparazzi — I’ve picked up a few tricks for snapping winter pics.

First off, perusing fine fish photos ahead of time can help you decide which holds and poses you like — as well as the ones you’d rather avoid. The next step involves your camera. Whether using your smartphone or a dedicated digital camera, always shoot at the highest resolution setting, which dictates how many pixels will be packed into each image.

When setting up a shot, pay attention to details. Make sure your subject is presentable, their sunglasses are off and there’s nothing offensive on their attire or in the background. If you plan to submit your photos to a media outlet or Lindy’s Facebook page, things like alcohol or tobacco can be deal-breakers. And speaking of the background, natural settings are awesome. A cluttered ice shack or the kitchen sink, not so much.

Before you take the shot, give the fish a little TLC, too. Wipe away any blood and freshen it up with a quick dip in the lake. If you plan to release the fish, keep it in the water as much as possible, don’t expose it to frigid air for more than a few seconds, and return it to its icewater home ASAP.

OK, time for the pose. Hold the fish slightly up and out, with one side toward the camera. The photographer should hold the camera slightly below the fish, and fill the viewfinder with the subject and his or her catch. On the lighting front, use a fill flash to reduce cap shadows or brighten the photo on cloudy days. And whenever possible, have the subject face the sun.

Finally, make sure your happy angler looks happy. Most people are a bit camera-shy, but saying something to make them laugh typically does the trick. In my travels, something mildly insulting or slightly shocking has cracked the countenance of grizzled guides and no-nonsense game wardens alike.

One final word of advice, if you’re on the other side of the lens, posing with a top catch, ask to see the photo before releasing the fish. Make sure it’s an image equally worthy of sharing with the world on social media and saving for posterity. If not, do it again — only better. Get the picture?