Rivers of a Lost Coast
Instructor, narrator, producer etc.: Justin Coupe & Palmer Taylor
Reviewed by Martin Joergensen This is once more a fishing DVD, which leans heavily on feature and documentary tradtions rather than fishing video traditions. And that's a good thing!
It's also a DVD that focuses on overusing and destroying natural resources. In this case the river systems of northern California and what's in them, or rather: what was in them, and only is to a very limited extent now.
Rivers of a lost coast tells a fascinating and terribly sad story about the fabled Pacific salmon and steelhead fishing of rivers such as Russian River, Klamath River, Eel River, Smith River and the whole northern California Pacific coast. A lost coast. It might still be there, but the video tells the story of the waters, the nature, the fish and not least the people that once made this area a very special one in American fishing.
Nowadays, unfortunately, it's merely a shadow of its previous self. Back in the early part of the century and up until the 40's and 50's, the decades, which the DVD mainly covers, the fishing was beyond belief and catches and catchers were worth talking about. Into the 70's and 80's all this was lost as a result of dam building, mining, lumber cutting and overfishing. These rivers were so rich in salmon and steelhead, but still collapsed as a consequence of reckless exploitation of a fragile resource.
The documentary style is used in the best possible way in the DVD, which uses old photos and film footage combined with current video of interviews with renown anglers and environmentalists, who talk about the fishing and the fishermen of the heydays and tell some fantastic stories about the characters found on the rivers back then. Into this is mixed a few sequences of video showing industrialization and urban expansion, all clearly illustrating what's lost and what we have in stead today.
The DVD also has something, which I as an old printed media man like in DVD's: a booklet. 40 pages which in themselves comprise a whole little documentation, portraying people and showing lots of picture, old and contemporary. Kudos for that!
The video is narrated by actor Tom Skerritt of "A River Runs Through it" fame, and not surprisingly he does a great job. Way too few contemporary video producers acknowledge the value of a good voice. Skerritt has such a voice.
The video time is equally split between history, people and environment. It's rare to see fishing DVD's with historical content, which is so well researched and well documented as is the case here, and even though this is not a "cast, hook and fight" video, it's equally exciting to watch, and although its story is sad, it also leaves a bit of hope for the future.
The rivers are still there, and there is some fishing going on, but it's a far cry from the tens or hundreds of thousands of fish that used to migrate up these water systems and create fantastic fishing for thousands of anglers.
They surely are rivers of a lost coast.
This DVD easily earns a Global Class score for its important message and high quality.