I had heard great things about this DVD long before I ever had the chance to review it. In addition to an interesting history of California north coast fly fishing, it was narrated by Tom Skerritt of A River Runs Through It, and contained a virtual treasure trove of pictures and footage of a long lost era in fly fishing.
Rivers Of A Lost Coast provides all of this and much more. It covers the early years of fly fishing for rivers such the Eel, Russian, San Lorenzo, and Smith. The movie also covers the men who pioneered norther California fly fishing, such as the reclusive and eccentric Bill Schaadt, who never really held a job but devoted his life to fishing, and the equally unusual Ted Lindner, who spent the last 30 years of his life chasing steelhead.
There are also short segments on stalwarts of the northern California fishing scene, such as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club, which produced a dynasty of distance casters. The Russian River’s King’s News and Tackle also figured prominently in the early days as a source for fishing hotspots.
It also tells the story of precious resources lost. The Eel River in Humboldt County, once called the river of giants, fell victim to the impacts of excessive logging in the 1960’s, and became what was described as “a muddy bed.” Many of the tributaries to the river were paved over by the loggers, thereby eliminating nurseries for the fingerlings.
The Coyote Dam built on the Russian River effectively cutoff access to spawning grounds for steelhead and silver salmon. The burgeoning wine industry in Mendocino and Sonoma counties also robbed the river of water and impacted the feeder creeks.
The Smith River of Del Norte County, once known for its 50-60 lbs Chinook salmon, described as “torpedoes” and “sharks” was also decimated over time.
Mother nature played a role as well. The drought of 1976, combined with overfishing and coastal pressure from foreign fishing boats decimated the productivity of these waters.
What once seemed like an inexhaustible resource now teetered on the verge of extinction.
The good news is that many of the anglers who have been fishing these rivers for decades have now become some of their strongest advocates, working to preserve and restore these fisheries to their former glory.
This movie contains hundreds of photographs and some great interviews with anglers that have fished these rivers for quite some time. It is really an enjoyable film.
To see the official site, click here.
As part of our December email signup campaign, we’re offering a DVD copy of Rivers Of A Lost Coast to one lucky winner. To be eligible, simply join our email list between December 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010. On New Year’s Day 2011 we’ll hold a random drawing for a winner and announce it here as well.
If you don’t want to wait to see if you’ll win it, or you want to purchase a copy as a Christmas gift, click here.
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