Meet the Winners of Our 2021 “20 Days in September” Contest

The winning image was taken in Yellowstone National Park, at Cave Falls on the Fall River.

This year’s “20 Days in September” Photo Contest was another big success, featuring thousands of great photos from anglers around the U.S. Even those who couldn’t get the full 20 days in seemed to enjoy discovering new waters right in their backyards and sneaking off for a few casts at lunchtime or after work. As C Franklin commented, “This is the second time I’ve been able to participate and it’s been so much fun, looking forward to next September!”

Last week, we presented you with 10 finalists for the contest’s prizes. Unlike last year, we did have a runaway winner, but the battle for second and third was much closer. After more than 1,400 votes, the race for third was decided by just 15 votes. Congrats to all the photographers who made the finals!

Your top choice was Britt Reynolds’s glorious shot of an angler fishing in front of a majestic waterfall, which commenter Jimmy Shaw declared “breathtaking!” Reynolds, of Monona, Wisconsin, described his winning image:

Fly-fishing in Yellowstone National Park is about more than catching fish. It is about connecting with the incredible forces of nature that constantly surround you. This day was no different. The overwhelming sound of Cave Falls rushing over its 20-foot plunge and the spray of the waterfall surrounding you made time slow to a crawl. That is what I tried to capture in this photo of my dad fishing at the base of the falls.

For capturing the top spot, Britt will receive a Helios 3D 9-foot 6-weight fly rod.

A golden day in California looks even better in black and white.

In second place was @maedbhryanphotography‘s beautifully lit, black-and-white image of her husband, Chris Williams (a.k.a. fatfingeredflytyer). Commenter Jeffery R. Werner, a professional photographer himself, wrote that “[Maedbh] really nailed it with style, composition, and that great feel you get from the old days of black and white.”

Chris Williams, of Sorrento, Louisiana, described how the scene came about and how his #20sepdays was interrupted by Mother Nature:

This was supposed to be the year that I fished all 20 days.  Unfortunately, Hurricane Ida changed all that.  We went 11 days without power, spent 24 of the next 27 days in the office, and had to scrap a Rocky Mountain National Park trip along the way.  A friend’s wedding in California was still on the docket though, and provided a much needed reprieve as the month came to an end. Rod in tow, we finally found a chance to fish, when we visited Crissy Field below the Golden Gate Bridge. Striking out in the morning, we returned in the evening for one last round of fishing. Camera in hand, my wife, waited for the shot she wanted. She found it as the sun set over the Pacific.

For coming in second, Maedbh (pronounced mave) gets a pair of our new Women’s Pro Waders, which are built for the toughest conditions, for those anglers who will go to whatever extreme necessary to find fish. Chris and Maedbh were last year’s winners, so they’re on a roll.

The penetrating sunlight really makes this image of a wild brown trout pop!

Third place went to John Fallon‘s dreamy underwater shot of a small-stream brown trout. Commenter Jim W declared that the “perspective in [Fallon’s] photographs are stunning.” Fallon, of Furlong, Pennsylvania, described this shot as a case of serendipity:

I really wanted to try to capture an underwater shot of a trout in this stream because it’s one of only two streams in my home county that have a population of wild browns. The light rays that came through the water on this day was an added bonus!

John’s prize is a Mirage LT Fly Reel, a size IV in Olive.

Folks on Cathryn Valancius’s home water are mighty thirsty . . . and irresponsible.

You may remember that we announced a new prize–a pair of of made-in-the-USA Orvis Nippers–for one randomly selected person who posts a photo of them picking up trash while fishing. Of her winning image, Cathryn Valancius said, “Almost a beer slam. Short a PBR and a Modelo. Should’ve looked harder.”

Finally, everyone who voted for our finalists was eligible for a prize, as well. We plugged in the numbers, and the widget at random.org spat out a winner: Corby Brandes, who wrote, “I love seeing kids enjoying the outdoors.”

Finally, thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s “20 Days in September” Challenge by fishing, submitting photos, voting, or commenting (or all of these). This was an amazing September for me, mostly because the water levels of the Battenkill were so good. Instead, it was the mountain streams that were blown out.

Here’s a great idea: Let’s all do it again next year!

6 thoughts on “Meet the Winners of Our 2021 “20 Days in September” Contest”

  1. Congratulations to Britt, John and all the finalists!! There were some truly stunning images this year!

    And a big thanks to Phil and everyone at Orvis for hosting this contest once again!

  2. Great photos this month ,Love the one the one with Mom and her two children. Taking the kids fishing is special. Thanks Orvis for another great photo month.

  3. Great photos this month . Special photo of mom and her children fishing. Love to see the kids on the water.

    1. It should have placed very high , as in 1st or 2nd . I always wonder why the actual good pictures dont get picked . A shame it’s so rigged .

  4. Yes, thanks Phil so much for your hard work on this. And thanks everyone for submitting photos. Especially if you picked up trash while you were on the water.

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