October 19, 2015
The Last Great Place is our latest fly fishing film sponsored by Orvis, Western Rise, Mpowerd and Topo Designs. We embarked on a week long, self-guided fly fishing trip to explore the unbelievably beautiful, natural landscapes that characterize the headwaters of the immense Clark Fork watershed, and documented the sights and sounds of the abundance of wildlife that inhabits this ever-shrinking expanse of western wilderness – an area that many have come to call, The Last Great Place.
The massive Clark Fork watershed comprises an area of over 14 million acres, with its vast network of streams and rivers cascading and meandering for over 28,000 miles through the rugged, mountainous landscape of western Montana. This hard-working watershed supports an intricately woven ecosystem of plants and wildlife in its upper reaches; steep slopes of dense, mixed coniferous forest line the banks of cold, clear streams, with Montana’s native westslope cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii lewisi), and wild brown and rainbow trout holding in almost every lie.
Unfortunately, this beautiful system is also heavily relied upon downstream by the agricultural industry in the region. Many cold water tributaries that would otherwise provide suitable spawning habitat, or adequate refuge for native and game fish species during warmer summer months, actually run dry prior to their confluence with the Clark Fork; their flows having been critically reduced by increasing irrigation demands. In an effort to learn more about some of the issues at hand, we connected with Andy Fischer, a Project Manager for the Clark Fork Coalition, to fish a recently restored headwaters stream and discuss some of his organization’s innovative and effective approaches toward conservation and cleanup within the Clark Fork watershed.
To learn more about how you can contribute to much-needed and ongoing conservation efforts in this alluring slice of western Montana, feel free to visit the Clark Fork Coalition’s website.
We shot this piece over a week exclusively on a RED Epic Dragon equipped with Canon L series lenses, and a DJI Phantom 3 Professional was utilized for all aerial footage. The opening shot was obtained with the DJI Ronin 3-axis stabilizer. Our beloved Syrp Genie assisted with all timelapse footage.
Our post-production workflow (editing/color grading/sound) was handled in 4K from beginning to delivery in our own production studio. An entirely original soundtrack was composed in-house as well.