I have had this film for a while now. It was released in 2005, but spurred by a recent new release by Felt Soul Media, I decided to dig this out and watch it again - and review it.
Upon loading this DVD I again felt like I was in for a scary movie. I remembered this brief feeling from my first viewing. Seeing the first title page with its eerie, noisy and scratched B/W visuals (with large bugs in silhouette) and its short and somewhat mystic title accompanied by dark sounding music I had the clear feeling of something a bit frightening. And the tone of the DVD continues is this mood for a minute or two, but then darkness and gray shadows shift into beautiful colors and lighter-hearted music as you fly over the gorge in a small plane, seeing the Black Canyon where the Gunnisson River in Colorado runs.
Even though the mood does get a lot happier, you immediately know that the crew behind the film both want to celebrate this fantastic place and its astonishing fishing, as well as strike a more sinister chord, warning about the immediate and long term danger of depleting the Gunnisson of its water for irrigation and households. As Bruce Driver from the Western Resource Advocates puts it: "Get used to it: We live in a desert!".
The film covers both this aspect of the river as well as the fabulous fishing that takes place in it during a few weeks every summer where the salmon fly hatches. Fish go crazy and every feeding lane seems to be occupied by large rainbows or brownies, and judging from the imagery, quite a few anglers have a great time when this happens.
Different anglers and guides tell about their relationship with this phenomenon mixed in with the fishing scenes.
One guide, Woody Pattishall, says, "I don't know who the *beep* told anybody about it. It wasn't me!". But someone obviously did, because it actually seems that letting out the secret in one way saved the river from being dammed and ruined.
Travis Rummel, who guides on the river, has together with Ben Knight made this little gem of a film that tells this story in fascinating footage and very sensible words spoken by guides, anglers and rangers from the area.
Now, the term little gem is not chosen by coincidence, because the film truly is "little". With a running time of about 22 minutes, it's as short as fishing DVD's come. It's well produced, well filmed and mixed, but I do miss just a little more dwelling at a fishing scene or two, or the opportunity to get to know some of the guides or anglers just a little better. But still, I enjoyed every minute - I would just have loved to have some more of them.
You can watch an apetizing trailer on the Felt Soul Media homepage. The site is purely Flash, so I can't provide a direct link, but click around a bit and you'll find it.
PS: A review of Felt Soul Medias latest epos "Running Down The Man" about chasing roosterfish is coming soon.
A fantastic documentary about the salmon fly hatch on the Gunnison River Gorge in Colorado. Some very concerning environmental considerations in the form of interviews with local anglers and guides coupled with some fantastic fishing footage.