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2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour hooks the thrill of the catch

Montana fishing guide Mark Raisler prepares to release brown trout in Missouri River during filming of “Sipping Dry,” to be featured in 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour.
Montana fishing guide Mark Raisler prepares to release brown trout in Missouri River during filming of “Sipping Dry,” to be featured in 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour.

Whether the focus is trout rising to tiny tricos in Montana or to huge cicadas in New Zealand, the global nature of the Fly Fishing Film Tour is luring anglers across the country to an evening of fine fishing – no waders or license required.

The fourth annual film tour is coming to the Bing Crosby Theater in Spokane on Feb. 8 with portions of 11 films compiled into a 2-hour show.

Previews of the films indicate not only a wide range of water, including Florida tarpon and arctic char, but also a diversity of moods associated with the sport of fly fishing. While getting the action shots viewers love, the filmmakers also are proving they can be good storytellers.

“Doc of the Drakes” (by Brian Huskey) profiles the relationship between a guide on Idaho’s Silver Creek and a fly-fishing surgeon whose stellar career was cut short by Parkinson’s disease.

On the other end of the spectrum, “ReVerb: A Punk Rock Love Story” (3rd Year Fly Fisher) will shock a lot of fly fishers with a revelation: Aging punkers who still bloody themselves on stage with exuberance approaching violence can come under the spell of a fly rod as though it were a magic wand.

“It gets us out to get in a different state of mind without taking a fist full of pills,” one of the band members said.

“Last year I’d agree the tour was a little heavy on salt, while this year we lean a little more to freshwater,” said Thad Robison, film tour

presenter. “We don’t have any control over what the top filmmakers go out and shoot from year to year, but we think audiences will be very pleased with this year’s diversity.”

The Film Tour kicked off Saturday in Ventura, Calif., for a road trip that will include 125 cities, including the Wilma Theater in Missoula on Feb. 10. The tour will loop back to the Inland Northwest this spring for a stop at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint on April 20.

“People like seeing films about waters they’re familiar with,” Robison said, “but they also appreciate footage of cool hatches of gigantic drake mayflies in Poland and Slovenia to see how things are kind of the same but different on the other side of the world.”

The evolution of fly-fishing films is spiraling upward in quality, he said. “Guys are really getting into this,” Robison said. “It’s bad enough when we spend our extra money on new fly rods, but wives are really rolling their eyes when all the extra cash is going to camera equipment.

“But as a result, these independent filmmakers within the fly-fishing culture are turning out vivid, evolving films that are really fun to watch.”

Other films included in the Fly Fishing Film Tour include:

• “Clearly B.C., Part One: Fall Bullies” (Tod Moen, Catch Magazine), zeroes in on fishing guide Becki Clarke of Fernie as she hits her autumn fishing hot spots in the Elk River Valley.

• “Riding High” (Waterline Media), follows a spirited group bending rods and burning reels during the tarpon migration through Florida.

• “Hatch” (Gin Clear Media), documents some of the world’s extraordinary insect hatches and the fantastic fly fishing that accompanies them in Europe and New Zealand.

• “Fly: a Legacy” (Ronnie Goodwin), chronicles an anglers evolution from a youngster fishing a float to an adult tackling Atlantic salmon in Scotland.

• “The Kodiak Project” (LDR Media) features anglers flying to Kodiak Island where they elbow in among Alaska’s biggest brown bears to tap the state’s second-largest steelhead run on the Karluk River.

• “Missouri Trout: Sipping Dry” (Sharptail Media) explores the obsession some fly fishers have for hunting trout with a dry fly, filmed on the Missouri River near Craig, Mont.

• “Fishing Fantasies: Arctic Char” (Beattie Outdoor Productions) heads far north into mostly frozen portions of Canada where anglers hit big water for huge char.

• “Right On It” (Get Lost Films) is included because no collection of fly-fishing films would be complete without a bonefishing fix.

• “GEOFISH: A Mayan Prophecy” (MOTIV Fishing) continues the journey featured last year of four fish bums in a pickup converted to run on cooking oil as they travel from Mexico to the backside of Belize, wetting lines as they deal with break-ins, breakdowns, breakups and broken rods.

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North Idaho trail volunteers needed

UPDATED: 11:08 a.m.

The Idaho Trails Association is looking for volunteers to work on two North Idaho trail projects this summer. The first project, Russell Ridge, runs July 22-28. The week-long project aims to repair a ridge-top trail in the Selkirk Mountains of North Idaho. Water, food and camp gear will be packed in and a cook provided. Work will include digging tread, cleaning water bars and reconstructing trail.