The annual Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) kicked off earlier this week in Denver, Colorado. The tour has since moved on to Montana, with a showing last night at Bozeman's Emerson Theater and continues this week with screenings in Billings, Helena and Missoula. 160 cities later, the tour will conclude on April 30th in Austin, Texas.
This year's F3T selections includes films like Co2ld Waters, which stars Craig Matthews and Yvon Chouinard, amongst others and takes a look at the single biggest threat facing the future of angling: climate change. 90 Miles, which tells the story of Cuba's bonefish, tarpon and permit fishery -- a topic hot on the minds of many anglers these days -- seen through the eyes of a Bonefish Tarpon and Trust scientific outreach mission in 2013.
It would appear that the energy and extraction industries are getting tired of the burgeoning influence sportsmen and women are wielding these days in the conservation arena, and they’re spending some money on a clandestine effort to besmirch a handful of nonprofit organizations that help give anglers and hunters a voice in today’s pivotal conservation debate.
And it’s pretty sleazy, honestly.
Colorado's Roan Plateau, the site of a collaborative agreement between conservation groups, including TU, and the oil and gas industry. The Bill Barrett Co.--the natural gas lease holder on the Roan--is donating $500,000 to TU and its conservation partners over the next several years for cutthroat trout recovery efforts on the plateau (photo: EcoFlight).
Since last spring, a slew of letters to the editor to dozens of small to mid-sized daily newspapers around the country has appeared from a single author -- one Will Coggin -- describing some of the most influential sportsmen’s conservation groups as left-wing fronts that take money from anti-industry foundations and use that money to stifle everything from natural gas fracking to hard-rock mining.
Fly fishers might be the ultimate explorers, and not just when it comes to unearthing new species of far-flung fish to target. Exploring can take place without leaving the country… or even the county, and without even turning over a new piece of fishy real estate. Instead, “exploring” can be better described under a banner of pride--”I’ll figure this place out if it kills me.”
Fly fishers can be like those uber-handy homeowners who can’t stand the idea of calling in a plumber or an electrician, even if if would make more sense to do so. Instead, they’ll pick up the parts at the hardware store and, if they think they’ll need it, a book on the topic.
The sun begins to shine through the two foot gap I’ve left in our cabana’s curtains somewhere around 6 am. For the first time in months, sleeping in is an option. At least an option. Breakfast is at 7:00 and our guide, Daniel, will be ready by 7:30, but he’s gone out of his way to let us know he’s moving on our schedule -- and so the opportunity to catch another hour or two of rest before hitting the flats is there, even if it’s one we’re decidedly unlikely to seize.
Bonefish tail on the home flat (photo: Chad Shmukler).
But the Turneffe Atoll’s bonefish have other ideas. Still flat on my back, I squint towards the increasingly confident flood of sunlight, trying to catch a glimpse of the palm trees outside in an effort to determine whether last night’s stiff wind has subsided. Light gleams sharply off the water that slaps against the seawall not more than 40 feet from the cabana’s porch, forcing my still bleary eyes to recoil.
Last week the EPA released the results of a study that confirms what anglers, thinking humans and other animals with basic common sense have known all along: what goes on in small streams and wetlands affects the larger streams, rivers and other water bodies they flow into.
Photo: Andreas Olsson
Though it may seem nonsensical to suggest that any measure of investigation was necessary to demonstrate what anyone with a rudimentary understanding of gravity would take to be plain fact, the connectivity between headwaters and wetlands and downstream water bodies has been in dispute since a pair of Supreme Court decisions in the early 2000s claimed there was no proven connection between upstream waters and downstream waters, removing protections for small streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act and making them vulnerable to development.