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Archive for July, 2010

Montana TU's Pat Byorth at Milesnick's MZ Bar Ranch
The first week of shooting has been completed for "Spring Creek: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout". Pete Caron and I spent the second week of July filming in and around Bozeman and Dillon. We shot footage at the Milesnick's MZ Bar Ranch , the Big Hole C4 Lodge and McCoy's Spring Creeks. Special thanks to everyone involved for their time and participation. Tom Milesnick, Pat Byorth (Montana TU) Steve Bielenberg and Clif Inge at McCoy's as well as Dave Ashcraft from the Big Hole C4 Lodge all took time out of their day to sit down with us on camera for the film. Special thanks to Keith Comiso, Chef Craig Seguin  and of course Ryan Eisfeldt at the Gallatin River Lodge for the cold beers, great food and good times. I'd alsolike thank Tim Tollett at Frontier Anglers from granting us an interview as well.
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A Missoula Institution

The last stop for our parched throats and road weary souls was the Stockman’s Bar and Cafe in downtown Missoula. For decades the sign outside the Stockman’s read “Liquor in the front, Poker in the rear” While poker has given way to pull taps, you can still get something for whatever “ales” you served with a side of roasted peanuts in the shell. Feel free to leave the empty peanut shells beneath your bar stool, on the floor. In Missoula, the Stockman’s is an institution and beer pong Tuesday’s with $3 dollar pitchers and $2 Jag shots are a University of Montana right of passage. In case you’re wondering about the $2 dollar Jag shots, I’ve been down that road before and it ends passed out in an alley somewhere in Missoula. Montana is home to numerous micro breweries that put out some pretty tasty, trout themed craft beers. With names like, Trout Slayer Ale, Double Haul IPA and Bayern Brewing’s Dancing Trout Ale, Montana has plenty of brews for an angler’s thirst. Dancing Trout is actual the official beer sponsor of Montana Trout Unlimited. A portion of the profits from all merchandising and sales are donated to Montana TU’s efforts to conserve, protect and restore the state’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds. Buying a case of Dancing Trout is like buying a trout a drink; of cold, clean, pure water. That’s the kind of logic my thirst just can’t argue with so I usually end up with a case or five.
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Dave Ashcraft watches an angler work Owlsley Slough

Dave Ashcraft is Montana. A third generation rancher in Montana’s Gold West Country he’s a true American cowboy.  Dave doesn’t drive a SUV, he drives a Dodge flat bed truck and his other car is a horse. Up until a few years ago, Dave drove 600 head of Black Angus cattle from his C Lazy J ranch to their summer range near the headwaters of the Ruby River in a week long cattle drive. But ranching modernization takes no prisoners. These days, the cattle are herded on to a transport truck and shipped, making that same journey in one day. That leaves Dave a little more time for his pride and joy, Owlsley and Schoolhouse Sloughs, two beautiful little spring creeks that meander through his property.
11 Jul

Frontier Anglers

Author: Travis 0 comments

Tim Tollet is dead serious about BIG FLIES!

If you're in Dillon, a stop at Tim Tollett's Frontier Anglers is a must. Tim's a veteran of the south western Montana fly fishing scene, having guided for Al Troth. I’m connoisseur of fly shops and Frontier Anglers separated me from some serious cash, in a short amount of time. Not because the prices were steep but because Tim stocks his shop with so much stuff that I want! I just wish they would have had Simm's Dry Creek Guide Backpack for my cameras, because I would have left with that too! What I did pick up (amongst other things) is a crazy new cowboy hat from Riverz Amphibous Hats, though I have to admit it looks better on Steve Bielenberg than it does on a poser from BC! One of Tim's guides told me "you gotta OWN the hat! don't let it OWN you!"
The Riverz Scout
  From the website: The Scout has a western style crown with a super wide 4 1/4" brim for extra sun protection. Features include a super-wicking sweatband, practical stowaway chin cord/tumpline, adjustable sport webbing band, and new handwoven polypropylene TechStraw?. The Riverz? Scout is amphibious. It will maintain its shape and stay light and functional when wet - just shake dry.Wash in soapy water and wear another day. Just call it a proactive purchase against carcenoma!Tim and his guides know what’s what on the Dillon fishing scene. Want proof? Just check out the serious traffic jam of drift boats, rafts and SUV’s in front every morning. Thanks to Tim for taking the time out of the morning rush of customers and clients to sit down for an interview and talk about the fishing around the Dillon area and the surrounding spring creeks.

Photo courtesy of The Gallatin River Lodge

 

When I was looking for sponsors for this year's RM Angler Fly Fishing Film Festival, I sent a note to Keith Comiso, manager at the Gallatin River Lodge. I told Keith that I loved the lodge's promotional film and would like to show it as part of the festival.

Not only did Keith send me a DVD copy, but he threw in a bunch of lodge logo'd swag for door prizes! Months later, when I told him I was planning on shooting a film in Montana, Keith invited us down to the lodge. We may have arrived a little late for Wednesday night's Ribs and Beer fest, but we made up for it the next day after Milesnicks. Everyone at the lodge welcomed us. Executive Chef Craig Seguin gave me a tour of his kitchen and explained his Rocky Mountain inspired menu. We drank, we ate, and we drank some more! I've said it before and I'll say it again, a trip to Steve Gamble's Gallatin River Lodge should be on every serious angler's bucket list.

Thanks to everyone at the lodge for their hospitality. Off to McCoy's Spring Creeks outside of Dillon!

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An old timer from McCoy Spring Creeks

Steve Bielenberg may just have the best job in the world. Bielenberg is the manager of McCoy Spring Creeks. McCoy’s is a phenomenal spring creek fishery, located a few miles north of Dillon, Montana. Compared to the world famous spring creeks like Armstrong’s Depuy’s and Nelson’s, McCoy’s is the new kid on the block. Thanks to visionary environmental land stewardship, started over a decade ago by former owner Poncho McCoy, the ranch’s two creeks Fox Island and Big Meadow offer classic spring creek fishing for extremely large rainbows and browns. For the price of a good game of golf you can have an entire stretch of a Beaverhead valley spring creek to yourself. Present owner, Clif Inge has picked up right where the McCoy’s left off, continuing on with in-stream restoration and habitat enhancement work. We were fortunate enough to get the full meal deal at McCoy’s and thanks to our generous hosts; we had the entire ranch to ourselves. Not only that, but Steve gave us the tour. A former guide, Bielenberg introduced us to the ranch’s numerous big trout that freely rose to the morning’s PMD hatch. In every hole 6 or 7 giant snouts would softly rise to intercept size 18 sulphur coloured duns from the creek’s glassy currents. Once a guide, always a guide so no matter what we did, we couldn’t convince Steve to grab a rod and join in the fray. He was content to walk the banks of the creek, film crew in tow, regaling us with humorous stories as we looked for rising fish or as Steve called them “players”. It was more like fishing with an old friend then being shown the ropes at a new venue. We educated a couple of trophy sized browns and got schooled by many more. We got some great footage at McCoy's and thanks to Steve and Clif for sitting down with us for interviews. When it was all said and done and time for some post fishing pops, we retired to Steve’s streamside office and sat on the deck enjoying the view of the ranch and few of Steve’s “house beer”, Miller High Life. When I die, IF I go to heaven…….. I’ll be in Montana, probably fishing at McCoy’s.   More Later T>
9 Jul

Milesnick’s MZ Bar Ranch

Author: Travis 0 comments

Sunset over Benhart Spring Creek at the MZ Bar Ranch

"The fish at Milesnick's spook when you open your car door" That's an old fisherman's tale about the fishing at the MZ Bar Cattle Co. oustide of Belgrade. Tom and Mary Kay Milesnick have put in so much work restoring Thompson and Benhart spring creeks that they don't spook quite that easily any more, but they'll still run for cover if you're approach is sloppy. We found that out in spades today. The day started great. Tom Milesnick was on hand waiting for us to interview him when we arrived. Tom`s progressive ideas about ranching have won him numerous environmental stewardship awards from his peers. His passion for ranching and connection to the land was evident when we spoke. Tom`s family has been ranching for generations in the Gallatin valley and he feels a stong sense of environmental responsiblity to the land. Sustainability is at the fore front of his actions when it comes to the MZ Bar Ranch. After speaking with Tom we hooked up with Pat Byorth. Pat is a former fisheries biologist with Montana Fish and Wildlife and now a lawyer for TU Montana. Pat gave us the fish biology side of the equation with spring creeks. After that we broke out the rods and proceeded to spook some fish! All in all a fantastic first day of shooting. Thanks to everyone who helped out! More Later T>
Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
Location filming in Montana officially got underway yesterday. We got an early morning start. Rolled out of Kelowna, headed for the border crossing at Grand Forks at 5am. We cruised through into Washington state without delay just after it opened. Made a B line straight for Spokane, got on the 90 and never looked back. After an hour long compulsory stop at Cabela's in Post Falls, Idaho we made straight for Missoula with a quick detour for fishing licences at St. Regis. We had hoped to stop and do some fishing on the way but it became quickly apparent that run-off was still in full swing in Montana much like BC. Good thing we are heading for Montana's spring creeks. We followed the Clark Fork along I-90 and it was floating upside down with the mud on the top. After a lunch at the Stockman's in Missoula we drove on to Belgrade and spent our first night at the Ponds. Thanks to Doug and Mary Hamilton our hosts. The Ponds cabins are a great place to stay and just a few miles down Dry Creek Rd. is Milesnick's Ranch and the famous Thompson and Benhart spring creeks where we'll be shooting for the day.

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2 Jul

Troutwaters Fly and Tackle

Author: Travis 0 comments
Cinema Digital has just finished a corporate video for Trout Waters Fly and Tackle. The video was shot using the Canon 7D with a Tokina 11-16mm lens and the Canon 50mm 1.8 prime. A Sony HVR-V1U was used along with a Glidecam 2000 for the steadicam shots. Trout Waters is a sponsor for SPRING CREEK: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout
Spring Creek: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout

Welcome to the Spring Creek Film website and blog.  A web journal which follows the production of Cinema Digital's new documentary film, SPRING CREEK: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout.

SPRING CREEK: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout is a conservation film which chronicles an angler's journey for new water and big trout. Faced with the demise of his homewaters, the Kettle River, due to excessive water extraction, British Columbian filmmaker and passionate fly fisherman Travis Lowe sets out to explore the mystique surrounding fishing Montana's fabled spring creeks. What he discovers though, is not what he expected. The film explores how numerous ranchers in Montana have embraced angling to help sustain their rural way of life. SPRING CREEK: Ranchers, Anglers, Water and Trout is a fim that should give all anglers an occasion for hope and some really big fish.