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Fly Fishing Film Festival Proceeds to Benefit the San Juan River

Posted by on March 6, 2011
Aaron Carithers of Anasazi Anglers and a native San Juan River Brown trout.

By Karl Moffatt
Fly fishing fanatics can get their fix and do some good by attending an upcoming film tour in which proceeds will go to trout habitat improvements and other worthy projects on the state’s top angling attraction, the San Juan River below Navajo Dam, sponsors say.

“Anyone who loves to fish and truly cares about this trophy-class trout stream should come on down to the show,” says Larry Johnson of the San Juan River Guide Association, one the local fly- fishing film tour’s primary sponsors. “The films are great, there’ll be fabulous raffle prizes and it’s a wonderful opportunity to show support for our beautiful San Juan River.”

The San Juan River in northwestern New Mexico draws thousands of fly-fishing enthusiasts to its waters each year for the opportunity to catch and release big trout and is consistently rated among the country’s top ten trout fisheries.

But because of ongoing low flows, the river, one of state’s top tourism draws estimated to bring in up to $40 million a year, is in need of habitat and other improvement projects to keep it special for anglers and trout alike.

E.T.Rock on the San Juan River at Navajo Dam, New Mexico.

Thus members of the angling community have come together to sponsor the fly-fishing film tour in March with shows in Albuquerque and Santa Fe with proceeds to fund future projects on the San Juan River.

The film tour’s New Mexico debut is scheduled for Friday, March 11, at the Hotel Albuquerque in Old Town at 800 Rio Grande Blvd. NW and is sponsored by Charlie’s Sporting Goods and the Los Pinos Fly Shop.

T.J. Trout of 94 Rock, an avid trout fisherman, will emcee the event, which will feature a no-host bar, food carts, vendors’ booths and a raffle at intermission for prizes such as rods and reels or guided trips and lodging on the San Juan River.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with over two hours of films slated to begin at 7 p.m.

And in Santa Fe the film tour will show at the Lodge at Santa Fe, 750 North St. Francis Drive, on March 25 with the Reel Life and High Desert Anglers fly shops sponsoring.

The event will feature similar attractions to those found in Albuquerque with the doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the show to begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $15 at the door or $10 when purchased at the sponsors’ stores.

Proceeds will go to yet to be determined projects on the San Juan that have been endorsed by New Mexico Trout, the Truchas Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the San Juan River Guide Association.

Baetis Bend on the San Juan River at Navajo Dam, New Mexico.

Heritage Hotels, which operates both the Hotel Albuquerque and the Lodge at Santa Fe, donated cinemagraphic accommodations for the film festival, Johnson said.

Films to be shown include a documentary of the exploits of four die-hard fishermen doing whatever it takes to survive on the open road for nearly four months on an epic, overland, fly-fishing adventure.

Beginning in Portland, Oregon, the crew converts a diesel truck to run on vegetable oil, while they beg, borrow, and barter ways to fuel their 8,000-mile journey to the tip of Baja and across mainland Mexico to the beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula.

While en route to their fishing destinations, the crew tries desperately to avoid harassment from local law enforcement and from being kidnapped and held for ransom by the drug cartels.

Another film features two childhood friends whose lifelong dream of exploring the wilderness of the South Island of New Zealand becomes reality and the experience of a lifetime.

Other segments include films dedicated to Muskie fishing in Wisconsin, fishing the marshes of Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and fly fishing for shark, permit and smallmouth bass in unique locations.

And the show will feature a sneak preview of the first 20 minutes of the film “Low & Clear”, a story about a winter fly-fishing trip to Canada that serves as catalyst for two old friends who have gone their separate ways.

Old fishing buddies Glenn May and Karl Moffatt at Texas Hole on the San Juan River in December 2003.

With days spent in icy waters and cramped motel rooms, the two discover they may have grown too far apart as ideologies and egos clash.

A meditation on friendship, the film seeks to examine how for some, life can be about fishing and for others, fishing can be about life.

The Fly Fishing Film Tour is the work of the Webeye Group out of Boulder, Colo., and more information about the national tour can be found at their website at http://www.flyfishingfilmtour.com/

For more info about the local film tour contact Larry Johnson by email at Soaring Eagle Lodge at info@soaringeaglelodge.net or by telephone at (505) 632-3721.

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