Fly Fishing Film Tour goes virtual
What: Fly Fishing Film Tour
WHEN: March 10-April 4
Cost: $20 for individual tickets, $40 for a household pass
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
When the Fly Fishing Film Tour made a stop at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Theatre on Feb. 4, 2020, it was with an emphasis on the people, places and fisheries that help make up the vast world of fly fishing.
As it had in years past, the traveling festival brought together not only anglers of all ages, but also those who were interested in seeing how people around the globe connected with the often-contemplative sport.
The Lincoln only recently announced it was opening its doors to the public for limited movie screenings after shuttering around this time last year due to the pandemic, and so far, the tour isn’t on the lineup. But starting March 10 and continuing through April 4, those lured by the idea of viewing fly fishing films focusing on locales both near and far can purchase digital tickets that will allow them to watch the festival on the screening device of their choice—more than once, if they so desire.
Among the 2021 selections is Leap Year, which places its emphasis on those swinging flies for wild steelhead in British Columbia’s famed Bulkley-Sheena Valley. Tradition is at the heart of the film, but it also tackles bigger issues such as global warming, pandemics and the countless ways those traditions can be broken. “I think everything serious about steelhead fishing is bullshit,” a man says at the beginning of the trailer for the Topo Films production, setting the stage for an interesting ride.
Viewers will also meet an angler named Ryan Kelly trying to deter chronic pain by turning frustration into fight and logging more than 1,500 miles on what he calls the “heal-toe express.” Kelly, also known as the Green River Fly Fisher, has an autoimmune disease that makes the pain in his bones, skin and muscles unbearable if he stops moving, and doctors advise him to be outside as much as possible and spend plenty of time exercising. In Escape, that’s precisely what he does—while learning significant life lessons along the way, of course.
Hardlined transports us to the East Coast, where avid anglers flock to the rocky coastlines, estuaries, rivers and inshore waters from the Carolinas to Canada to target one of the country’s most iconic gamefish, the striped bass. The KGB Production revisits one of the greatest conservation success stories of all time, but cautions the fishery is once again in jeopardy. “It’ll go away,” a man notes in the short trailer. “It has before, and it’s happening again.”
Conservation and environmental connections found within watersheds are also the focus in A Soul Cleansing Spot Burn and A Journey Upstream—the former of which takes place on the Menominee River in northwestern Michigan and northeastern Wisconsin, and the latter drawing attention to the importance of a healthy Chesapeake Bay watershed.
This is a good time to mention that North Sound Trout Unlimited joins Trout Unlimited as one of the sponsors of the film festival. The chapter formed in the basement of a Bellingham brewery in 2016 describes itself as a “ragtag group of anglers, conservationists, small business owners and connoisseurs, and community members who are passionate about restoring and protecting the waterways of the northwest corner of Washington” through habitat restoration, data collection and monitoring, advocating for science-based management and public outreach.
As part of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, Trout Unlimited is also hosting a “Snag the Swag” fundraiser featuring a grand prize of gear, goodies and a two-week rental of a Costa-branded Adipose drift boat for a future trip to Montana. A bunch of other fish-focused prizes can also be had, and items that typically would’ve been raffled off during the intermission at in-person shows will now be pulled for the ticket-holders who register in the online sweepstakes.
Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the event, and funds raised will go to Trout Unlimited’s TU Costa 5 Rivers College Club, a program bringing conservation projects to rivers and streams near each group’s college campus.
Once you’ve entered the sweepstakes, direct your attention to the other films on the roster. While transporting you to bodies of water in Guyana, the Bahamas, French Polynesia, Christmas Island, the wilderness of Russia, and beyond, it’s likely you’ll be hooked by learning a lot more about the people and places these stories are being told—and also about the endless draw of fly fishing.
Photo from the film Hardlined by Chris Kitchens
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