Joys of fly-fishing showcased in film tour

Joys of fly-fishing showcased in film tour
This undated photo provided by Todd Moen shows a steelhead, that was caught during the filming of Moen's "Fall Run." Moen, of Sisters, Ore., and two of his friends set out to capture the essence of Pacific Northwest steelheading last November on a river, the name of which Moen will not divulge for secrecy purpose, in northwest Oregon. (AP Photo/Todd Moen)

BEND, Ore. (AP) — As most anglers know, catching a steelhead on a fly is a challenge like few others. Catching that moment on film enhances that challenge and adds an element of intrigue to the most mystical of fly-fishing adventures.

Todd Moen, of Sisters, and two of his friends set out to capture the essence of Pacific Northwest steelheading last November on a river — the name of which Moen will not divulge for secrecy purposes — in northwest Oregon.

What occurred was a once-in-a-lifetime moment featured in Moen's film "Fall Run" that will be screened in Bend as part of the 150-stop Fly Fishing Film Tour.

The 2013 tour includes 16 films, nine of which will be shown during the Bend stop. Three of those films are by filmmakers who either live in Central Oregon or grew up here, including "Fall Run," ''Expedición Alacranes," by R.A. Beattie, of Bend; and "Hit 'em Again Doc," by Bryan Huskey, who grew up in Bend and now lives in Idaho.

The tour showcases some of the most prolific fly-fishing filmmakers in the country and provides anglers a chance to support local conservation groups. It also gives away $350,000 in prizes and goods to tour participants, according to F3T co-owner Doug Powell. Some $30,000 of the proceeds generated by the tour goes back to support filmmakers and the 150 different conservation groups involved.

Adventure is a focal point of the films being shown in this year's tour.

"We approached this year with the attitude that 'adventure is what you make it,'" said F3T co-owner Chris Keig. "Sometimes the greatest adventures can be found in your own backyard or an urban corridor."

Moen, 36, and friends Jeff Hickman and Jakob Lund certainly found a worthy adventure in "Fall Run." The filmmaker says he wanted to shoot on a river that nobody would recognize — the Deschutes was out of the question.

"We wanted to go out and try something new," said Moen, the co-founder, owner and producer of the online "Catch Magazine" (catchmagazine.net). "We wanted to find a remote drainage."

During the filming, as rain poured and the river began to rise, some buttons on Moen's video camera began to malfunction. Then Hickman threw a cast into a deep pool and hooked a steelhead.

"And where we were, there was a giant rock outcropping at the tail-out of this pool," Moen explained.

The fish jumped twice and raced downstream.

"This thing turns into the craziest, most unbelievable steelhead fight that I'll ever see in my life," Moen said. "Hopefully people realize this is a once-in-a-lifetime scenario where two anglers are together, and they get into a situation where the only way they're going to land this fish is if they hand the rod off to each other to get up and over this giant cliff and back down."

The anglers eventually land the fish about 200 yards downstream.

Aside from the Northwest fishing destinations featured in the tour, films include Thailand, Bolivia, Georgia (the country), Washington D.C., the Midwest, and the Rocky Mountains.

"Hit 'em Again Doc" is filmed on Silver Creek in Idaho. Filmmaker Huskey says the Fly Fishing Film Tour is a unique opportunity to bring fly anglers together in celebration of their sport.

"I think angling is somewhat a solitary activity," Huskey said. "Pair that with the way society as a whole seems to be trending inward with so much interaction taking place digitally, events like this for like-minded fly anglers to congregate and socialize together is evermore important. Just seeing theaters packed with fly-fishing enthusiasts from all walks of life is inspiring. I couldn't be happier for the success of the event, the camaraderie that takes place, and the energy it brings to a sport with somewhat of an identity crisis."

Huskey, 35, was raised in Bend and graduated from Mountain View High School in 1995. He moved to Idaho in 2000 and now works in media and marketing for Silver Creek Outfitters in Sun Valley.

"Hit 'em Again Doc" is a sequel to Huskey's film of last year, "Doc of the Drakes," about Dr. Robert Franklin, an 86-year-old who loves fly-fishing the brown drake hatch on Silver Creek. He suffers from Parkinson's disease.

Huskey says he had never considered making a sequel — until a chance encounter with Franklin and guide Pete Wood this past summer.

"Just five weeks prior, Doc had undergone neurosurgery to treat the Parkinson's, and for that reason alone I was inspired to record his account of the journey he had traveled over the past year," Huskey said. "The simple fact that he was once again holding a fly rod with Pete and fishing better than ever, deserved attention."

Huskey says the medical procedure provided Franklin with vastly improved motor abilities, walking and speech.

"But more importantly, his casting and hook-setting are now more than adequate!" Huskey said.

Beattie, 30, moved to Bend from Colorado two years ago.

Beattie's "Expedición Alacranes" follows a group of anglers to one of the most remote reef systems in the world, the Alacranes Reef in the Gulf of Mexico off the Yucatan Peninsula. The reef includes five small islands, to which no ferry or any regularly scheduled transportation goes. Visitors must take their own water, food and shelter.

One of Beattie's favorite aspects of filming was seeing friend and fellow Bend resident Ryan Buccola on his first saltwater fishing trip.

"This was quite an adventure for him," Beattie said. "It's kind of like buying your first pair of skis and then jumping in a helicopter and flying to your line."

Beattie, who works for Two Old Hippies guitar manufacturer in Bend, made a custom F3T guitar for this year's film tour. At the end of the tour, the guitar will be auctioned off to support Casting 4 A Cure, a fly-fishing-based charity that supports girls stricken with Rett syndrome (a disorder of the nervous system that predominantly affects females).

The filmmakers agree that the quality of video equipment available today has made creating stunning outdoor entertainment easier, allowing more outdoor enthusiasts to share their fishing stories through film.

"Outdoor films and festivals are certainly nothing new, but every year there seems to be more high-profile exposure of this kind of content," Huskey said. "Each year more people see this tour and are inspired to submit their own work. Over time, the great fly-fishing films of the past have inspired so many others to push the bar higher than ever."

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The original story can be found on The Bulletin's website: http://bit.ly/VET9rl

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press