The Literature and Film Makers Art – Expanding our Trout Horizons

As we engage more and more people from the international community, I find my “North American” centered perspective on trout to be limited by my own knowledge.  Let me give you an example.  I consider myself fairly well read but my reading about trout and trout fishing through various outlets including books, magazines, blogs, and other sources.  Being here at Montana State, we have access to the Trout and Salmon Collection where there are books that go back to the 1600’s.  So imagine my surprise when one of our collaborators from Spain, Carlos Rodriguez sends me a link for a film “Escrito con Plumas” (Writing with Feathers), the story based on the “Manuscript of Astorga” that describes the evolution of trout fishing with a fly in the 1600’s in Spain.  The film does a brilliant job of capturing the careful research done by Juan de Bergara and you see the evolution of the flies, lines and rods used during that time period to capture trout.  In fact the casting done in the movie and described in the manuscript is remarkably “Tenkara” like. 

Of course there are films about trout from all over the world that include environmental films to fishing films; each conveying a message about trout and trout conversations.  Probably because I’m paying more attention now, I see trout messages in many recent films.  The Fly Fishing Film Tour was here in town last week and aside from fishing videos, Todd Tanner’s film CO2LD WATERS premiered as a strong, conservation-oriented film that speaks to the influence of changing climate on trout waters.  We will be fortunate to have this film as part of the series that will be playing at our film festival and art show on Monday evening of the conference.  Many of the films featured at these festivals use trout and trout waters as the backdrop for the fishing that occurs.  While many of them speak to the beauty of fly fishing and sport, in my view the trout and trout streams are always the story; the fish of a lifetime, the gentle sipping of a mayfly by a wary trout or the arm wrenching take of a large trout chasing a lure or a streamer.

What is probably most incredible to me is the number of these films on social media.  Some are professionally done, some are not but all convey the passion that people from all over the world feel about trout.   So what do you say?  Make your own short film.   Send it to us and tell us “Why Trout?”  We’ll feature it as part of the Congress on the website and share it with people from all over the world.   Then come to Bozeman this summer and help us celebrate these iconic fish.   We’ll see you there.


Jeff Kershner