In a lot of ways, I started work on this film 18 years ago, when my beloved spring wild steelhead fishery on the Skykomish River closed. About 10 years ago, I’d read enough scientific papers and talked with enough scientists to understand that hatcheries were one of the primary factors in our spiraling wild salmon and steelhead populations, and that tax-paying citizens were spending billions of dollars to finance a system that didn’t work. I felt compelled to read and speak on the subject. After publishing a number of stories about the impact of hatcheries, I found myself traveling around giving a talk called “The High Cost of Hatcheries,” to crowds ranging from three people to about 100, and mostly preaching to the choir. I quickly realized that I was making almost no impact on a very contentious subject. People in the fish world had all, for the most part, made up their minds.
Fast forward a bit to three years ago. My buddy Yvon and I discussed the situation at length, and agreed that we needed to take the message to a larger audience. Patagonia, riding the success of DamNation, would make the film.
And after two long years of production, with a fantastic director, producer and crew, and the talented, guiding hands of the Patagonia film department producers, we are almost ready to show the resulting film. So yeah, I’ve been a little busy, especially during the last month, which is why I’ve been so negligent about keeping up with the blog. But I’m super excited to share the first public announcement of the project. Tomorrow morning, when the Denver Fly Fishing Show opens, these posters will be up in the Patagonia booth, along with an essay in the Patagonia Fly Fishing catalog. Still a ton of work to do, but the film itself, now called “Artifishal,” will premiere this spring. The home stretch is in sight. Here we go!