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SKWALHALLA – Why It Took 3 Years to Film

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This week we dropped our trailer for our film SKWALHALLA.  You can read more about the hatch and film HERE.  If you missed it here is the trailer:

We really started fishing the hatch in 2012.  New to fishing and eager to get out after a long winter, this hatch was a welcomed respite from worm chucking and turd swinging.  In 2013 we fished the hatch with more dedication, hoping to unlock the secrets of the hatch so that days could be spent catching fish on a dry and not just staring at foam float downriver for eight hours.  While some may claim this hatch is so easy to hit we’ve found it to be quite the opposite.  With a 2+month weather and water temp window these bugs can pop with little to no reason one day and be gone the next only to reappear three weeks later in the same spot.  An angler dedicated to seeing the hatch in all its glory often has to be borderline obsessed with time on the river the biggest factor in catching glimpses of the best days.  That year we filmed a few days but had relatively nothing to show for the effort.  2013 came around and we again set out to fish the hatch and were met with slightly better success.

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Getting just the right drift was the ticket to catching this rainbow.

Again we filmed a bit but with no mission and no goal it was only worth added time spent behind the camera gaining valuable experience filming fishing.  2014 came and once again we walked banks searching for rising trout and skwalas crawling through the rocks.  A few epic days without the camera had us feeling more confident.

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Travis with one of a handful of fish caught in a small stretch of river

Around this time I had become better friends with Josh Rokosch, a local of the valley and one knowledgeable skwala fisherman.  Growing up fishing the hatch meant he was a wealth of knowledge and in 2013 he had expressed his desire to make a skwala film called Skwalhalla.  The title essentially means Skwala Valhalla and we were right at the center of the best skwala fishing to be found.  Things didn’t work out to begin filming then or in 2014, but more groundwork was laid and a project was starting to line up.

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Beautiful colors on a skwala eating cutty

As 2015 rolled around we agreed to begin filming Skwalhalla.  The film was meant to document the glory of the hatch and the epic dry fly eats associated with it.  No long, boring storyline, just good friends, good times and big eats.  We filmed 4 days that spring and got a few shots but far from what we needed to make a film.  With no funding of any kind this was going to be a personal project and that meant no real deadline.  With the ball slowly rolling we ramped up production in 2016 and filmed a total of 11 days searching for more eats and bigger fish.  That may seem like a lot of days but often film days never seem to be amazing fishing days.  Sure there are a few every once in a while but often if you get 5-10 really good shots in a day you’re crushing it.  Running a camera for 8 hours on a river can be tough and shots get missed, fish get missed, the exposure or focus was off, the audio was cracking, or something didn’t line up that made the shot just ok.  Again this is entirely self funded so if the fishing sucks and we’re sick of filming then the camera goes bye bye and usually someone catches a fish within 5 minutes haha!! Typical.

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Late afternoon riser

With lots of footage logged we were still missing a few shots that would round out the film.  One area which was lacking was high quality bug footage.  When you’re focused on catching fish and filming eats you’re not always looking to film the naturals crawling around on banks.  With plenty of eats in the bag we set out to find skwalas doing their thing, crawling out of the river, hatching, squirming on the water and flying off rocks and logs.

skwala, fishing, montana

A slow day but proof that things were about to heat up

Day one of 2017 and boom we hit it right on the money.  Skwalas were crawling all over the first log we pulled up to and we logged some awesome shots.  One thing to note is that we saw lots and lots of bugs that day but the fish weren’t keyed into them yet.  We fished hard but just didn’t get the eats.  The streamer actually got pulled out and turned up a few nice fish though.  The next day we switched systems and got into some amazing fishing.  With plenty of footage on the hard drives we made the gamble to go to a stretch of water that hadn’t seen much traffic and hoped we would be rewarded.  That choice paid off in a big way with a half dozen of our best eats of the film taking place on that float.  With so much success we decided to go back to the same spot the next day.  The weather was essentially the same and flows remained stable but the fishing was night and day.  The fishing had turned off and only a few eats were had.  It wasn’t how you’d hope to end a film trip but that’s the nature of the hatch.

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Side channel log jams. Fortunately we were able to pull the braces off and slide through

At the end of it all we had spent over 20 days filming for this movie and we’re damn proud of what we’ve created.  The final film is 21 minutes long and filled with over 70 dry fly eats.  The storyline is simple and it’s filled with good music and even better fishing.  Projects like this are big undertakings, but we hope they push the progression of fishing films in the right direction.  This is undoubtedly the best video documentation of the hatch to date and your support of this project goes a long, LONG ways in helping fund more content in the future (both free and paid).  At the end of the day we can’t do this without the support of our fans.  Please consider purchasing SKWALHALLA, it will get you stoked for spring fishing!!!

Words by Zack Boughton

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SKWALHALLA – All about the hatch and our upcoming film

skwalhalla, skwala, skwala hatch, montana, wild, film, video, bitterroot river
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A large squall that narrowly missed us on a spring float.

Winter is long in most of the West.  Many fisherman have gone months without handling a fly rod and have either went into full hibernation or have been busy tying flies for the upcoming spring.  Late January and early February the temps start to rise and nymphing can be good, especially with the ever deadly San Jaun worm.  It works but it also gets old quick.  Fortunately the skwala hatch is just around the corner.  In limited spots across the West a medium sized stonefly called the Skwala (skwala americana) begins its emergence onto river banks, logs and other structure around the river.  Emerging from their shucks they begin to crawl around and eventually search for a mate.  After mating the females return to the water to lay their eggs and the lifecycle continues its cycle.

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A male skwala stonefly

That’s a highly simplified version but the key here is that the trout start looking up in a big way.  Being able to toss a size 10 foam body dry fly in the middle of a snowstorm to a 20″ brown will absolutely change your perspective on spring fishing.  But that doesn’t mean the hatch is easy to hit perfectly.  Fishing a day here or there means you might not even get a glimpse of the potential and could very well think the hatch sucks and why would a guy waste his time throwing a dry when nothing eats it?  Given spring in Montana weather and water temps can drastically change as well as river flows.  The hatch can pop one day and be dead the next even without a significant weather/temp change.  It can be good in one five mile stretch one day and in an entirely different area the next.  Often a few bugs show up around mid-February and can last well into April.  Finding the right window on the right stretch is the tough part.  But when you hit it right it’s absolutely amazing.  Big fish and even bigger eats.

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A hefty cutbow that ate a skwala dry.

After a few years of talking about making a film to show the highlights of the hatch we finally decided to go for it.  That was 2015 and with no funding and no real plan we filmed 4 days that spring.  That year gave us just a taste of what was to come as only one of those days really worked as far as getting any good shots on camera.  We then filmed 11 days in 2016 knowing that we needed more good footage to really capture the eats we had hoped to show.  Filming fishing is always a tough gig.  You can almost count on the fishing to be worse the second the camera comes out, it’s just how it is.  Throw in missing shots, having the exposure or focus wrong or just not being in the right place at the right time and you’re lucky if you log 5-10 really great shots in a day.  We now had filmed enough eats but the bug footage was lacking.  Actually capturing the bugs hatching had been tough and we decided we needed one more year to round out the footage and add a few more good fish to the mix.  After three years and over 20 days spent filming we called it complete and got to editing.  A few long weeks in the edit bay left us with a rough cut and another week of polishing saw the film finished and complete.  Three years and lots of work, money invested, long days and even longer nights and we are proud to present the trailer for SKWALHALLA.  The full film will be available for purchase on Vimeo On Demand on February 1st and is now available for Pre-Order at this link > https://vimeo.com/ondemand/skwalhalla  Enjoy the teaser!

Please be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the latest deals and news surrounding both this film and also our brand.  Trust me when I say it will be worth it.

-Written by Zack Boughton

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Top 10 Bucknasty Brown Eats

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Watch the Top 10 Bucknasty Brown eats from the original film.

Want to see more Bucknasty Brown trout eats? Support our Bucknasty Browns 2 film by clicking here: BUCKNASTY BROWNS II

We are 25% of the way to our goal and really would love your help! If you enjoy our films, now is the chance to lend a hand and bring this film to life. You can help with as little as $5 and you can pre-order the film for $10. Thank you to all who have supported the film so far and have a Happy New Year!

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$12K?! Cost Breakdown of Bucknasty Browns II

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$12K for a fishing film?! Some may see our goal on the Kickstarter and think that number is high, but in reality that number is low! Shooting a six week, high-quality production Internationally takes lots of money. Below is our cost breakdown for Bucknasty Browns 2:

-Flights: $1,500 X three anglers = $4,500

-Checked Camera Gear: $100 X four pelican cases = $400

-Van Rental: $6,880.36 (If you can find it cheaper, shoot us a message)

-Van Insurance: $1,170

-Music Licensing: $700-$900/per song X 4 songs = $2,800 (low end and does not even include music for web series)

-iTunes, Amazon hosting: $1,800

                TOTAL: $17,550.36

 

That number is the bare bones! This does not include the following costs:

-Camera Gear (dry bags, extra batteries, power source, housing, drone): over $2,500

-Gas: ????

-Food: ????

-Film insurance: ????

-Kickstarter and Processing Fees: 10% of $12K goals = $1,200

-Cost to edit:???

-Cost to film: ???

-Cost to deliver rewards: ???

 

As you can see our $12K goal is a very low goal for us to even consider making this film. Take out the Kickstarter fees, processing fees, and cost to produce shirts, hats, streamers, canvas images, and others and we are somewhere well below $12K. Hence why we need your support to make Bucknasty Browns 2! Please, if you enjoy our fishing films and want to see more of them in the future it is imperative that you support the film by clicking here: Bucknasty Browns II

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For the small cost of $5 you can help bring this film to life. That is the cost of a beer or a couple sodas. This is a great chance for our long time supporters to give back by giving a very small amount.  And if you have any input on what you’d like to see in the film or web series leave a comment, shoot us a message through our social pages or send an email! Thank you to all who supported us and Merry Christmas!

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Support BUCKNASTY BROWNS II

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Our amazing fans have been insistent in asking for a second Bucknasty Browns film and we are here to deliver, but we need your help. This film project will be documenting a Do-It-Yourself trip to one of the greatest brown trout destinations in the world, the South Island of New Zealand. World-renowned for it’s clear backcountry waters, epic spring creeks, and large, trophy sized, AKA Bucknasty, brown trout. The plan is to roadtrip the island in search of adventure and large brown trout. We just launched a Kickstarter for Bucknasty Browns II and we would love if you showed us some support! In order for Bucknasty Browns II to become a reality, we need to reach our goal of $12,000. We are offering a ton of great rewards and you can also pre-order the film (see below). By pre-ordering the film you will be the first to get to download and watch the full film.

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Please click here to support Bucknasty Browns II and/or pre-order the film >>> BUCKNASTY BROWNS II Kickstarter

 

For more info on the film project, click here >>> BUCKNASTY INFO

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SUMMER HYPE – Video Launch

Our latest fly fishing film, SUMMER HYPE showcases some epic salmonfly fishing, big fish, savage eats, and good times on the water.  Shot by our most recent summer intern Bryant Patterson, this short film captured a few great days on the water.  Pull up a seat, sit back and enjoy SUMMER HYPE!

Shop our hats used in the film, by clicking on the images below.

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Idaho Elk Hunting /// 2018 Bear Archery Promo

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This fall we had the opportunity to work with our long time partner Bear Archery on a promotional video to help launch their 2018 lineup of bows.  With tags in Montana we hoped to fill during rifle we knew we would need to venture out-of-state to shoot an archery elk video.  With a quick turnaround we knew a September elk hunt would fit the bill.  One short scouting trip left me with some local info but film permitting forced us to hunt areas of the unit which I’d never stepped foot in.  With enough previous elk experience under our belt we still felt confident we could show up and eventually be in the thick of things.

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Sunset over Elk Country on night 1

We arrived late in the afternoon and were able to dip into the head of a basin that we hoped to hunt in the morning.  A faint bugle and a few elk spotted just before dark left us feeling hopeful for the morning.  The alarm came quick and without much pause we were headed down the mountain and began to sidehill through a large, timber filled basin.  We had hoped to hear bugles but were greeted only with small amounts of sign and nothing of much excitement.

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Other than a small bull this was the best sign we saw all morning

After the morning hunt we hopped into the truck and decided to move a few basins to the north.  A short drive down the road revealed multiple camps setup on the basin we had just hunted.  Our fingers were crossed that the next spot would be empty but we only found more of the same.  That night we quickly chowed down dinner and then scrutinized the maps and tried to decide on a new spot hopefully with less people.  Two days later we were in a new area with much more depth to the topography.  We hoped this would keep a few people out and our hike in the dark left us thinking of what might lie up the canyon.  As dawn barely began to show itself we heard our first bugle not more than a few hundred yards up the trail.  As we waited for shooting light we could hear multiple bulls sounding off further up the basin.  We continued up the draw and soon decided the best bet would be to chase the bull bugling closest to us and go from there.  We quickly climbed uphill following this bull headed to his bedding area.  When I felt we were on the verge of spooking some of the herd I decided now was the time to challenge him.  The next five minutes were spent exchanging bugles as I slowly worked closer.  Without a caller and with a cameraman in tow this can be a tough game to play but this day it worked to perfection.  As I moved up an elk trail I saw tines through the small pine trees ahead of me.  With an open lane in front of me I hooked up to my D-loop and waited.  As the bull disappeared behind the last tree separating us I drew.  Soon he emerged in the opening at 22 yards looking for his challenger.  One quick cow call slowed him enough to take a shot before he cleared my lane.  My arrow hit further back than I’d hoped but still caught lungs and I was able to watch my bull crash in a small rock field just 80 yards away.

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Tools of the trade

We took a few minutes to soak in what had just happened and then went to find my arrow.

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300 grains of steel

Stuck in a log my arrow was covered with bubbly, red blood.  It was a sight for sore eyes as it had been a few years since I’d been able to tag a bull during archery season.  A short walk left me admiring an awesome bull elk taken on our beautiful public lands.  We are truly blessed to do this.

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As we finished breaking the bull down it began to pour rain.  With about six hours of daylight left we knew we could get this elk back to the truck before dark but it would be wet and miserable.  For elk hunters it’s what we expect and the pain and hardship is eagerly welcomed.

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The Kifaru Argali making its maiden voyage and performing flawlessly

Two trips up and down the mountain left us at the truck, sipping a cold beverage pulled from the YETI.  With daylight quickly fading we packed the truck up and headed home.

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One quick stop and then back on the road

After getting home Travis quickly got to downloading all the footage and beginning the edit process.  A week later the edit was done and delivered.  Here is the 1 minute Bear Archery promotional film:

 

If you haven’t checked out the new lineup of bows from Bear Archery you can do so right here > 2018 Bear Archery lineup

The bow I shot was the Bear Approach, an entry level bow that prides itself on exceptional value.  When I got it I wasn’t entirely stoked knowing this was an entry level bow.  As an avid hunter I like to have the best equipment I can get my hands on but I swallowed my pride and gave the bow a chance to show its true colors.  After shooting and successfully hunting with this bow I was blown away at the feel and value that any bowhunter could get from a $399 bow.  It shot as good as I could shoot, was quiet and dead-in-hand, and most importantly easy to tune.  I had about 4 days to setup and tune this bow before hunting with it and if I didn’t feel comfortable with it I definitely wouldn’t have taken it.  At the end of the day it has to feel good in your hand and shoot well and this bow did both.

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2018 Bear Approach

-Written By Zack Boughton 

 

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THE CRAGS – Bowhunting Public Land Mule Deer

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/theoutlier

As hunters we always have an attraction to adventure, and not just the kill. Travis found his adventure in 2014 chasing mule deer in the rolling sage covered hills of Montana. With only a handful of days, Travis searches the barren landscape with hopes of arrowing his first archery buck. This public land, DIY hunt shows the opportunity and importance of our public lands. This is bowhunting public land mule deer as seen in the 2015 Hunting Film Tour.

Produced in partnership with Sitka Gear and Behring Made Knives.

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If you haven’t watched our latest feature film, The Outlier, you can purchase it at our Web Store or on VimeoOnDemand.  The purchase of our films and apparel go a long ways in helping us continue to create high quality outdoor content most of which we will continue to release for free!

 

 

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THE OUTLIER – OFFICIAL RELEASE

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Today we officially released our latest elk hunting film The Outlier.  This film has been a multi-year project for us and it’s hands down our best hunting content to date.  Follow along as four good friends battle to fill their elk tags with bows in hand in the Missouri River Breaks.  The film is available for purchase through our store on the website and also through Vimeo On Demand.  More information can be found on the films website www.theoutlierfilm.com

Purchase DVDs HERE.

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Purchase a DVD and T-Shirt combo pack HERE.

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And purchase the film digitally through Vimeo On Demand HERE.

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GOOD ALTITUDE Apparel

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Its a fact that people that spend time in the mountains tend to be happier and carry a good attitude throughout their daily lives.  Exploring the mountains and gaining elevation equals having Good Altitude!  We are proud to release our lineup of Good Altitude Apparel!

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MTN GRAY COLORWAY

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HUNTER TWILL COLORWAY

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RED COLORWAY

To purchase Good Altitude hats click HERE.

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MTN TOP BLUE COLORWAY

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CHARCOAL COLORWAY

To purchase Good Altitude shirts click HERE.  As a way of giving back, 3% of the sale of this product will go towards conservation (RMEF, BHA, TRCP).