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SKWALHALLA – All about the hatch and our upcoming film

skwalhalla, skwala, skwala hatch, montana, wild, film, video, bitterroot river
montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing

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.

montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing

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.

montana, spring, bitterroot river, bitterroot, skwala, skwala hatch, fishing, montana

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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BUCKNASTY BROWNS TRUCKERS – Back in Stock

bucknasty browns, brown trout, trucker, hat, montana, fishing, wild, fly fishing, streamers, mousing

Now available is the Bucknasty Browns Truckers. Available in two new colorways. These hats are limited release and will be gone forever once they are sold out.

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bucknasty, browns, film, movie, hat, snapback

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bucknasty, trucker, browns, hat, film, brown trout, fishing,

 

We also have a new colorway now available in the Bully Trucker

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Bull, trout, hat, trucker, fishing, apparel

Shop our new products HERE.

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Spring Fishing 2017

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Another spring has almost flown by once again.  In a few short weeks runoff will be here and our spring fishing window will be shut down and we will be back in the mountains chasing bears and turkeys.  This spring we have gotten the privilege to wet a fly in eight different rivers here in Montana.  Although the fishing wasn’t as good as previous springs we still were able to find a healthy number of nice trout and beautiful Montana views.  Below are a few images from our spring travels around the state.

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Kicking off the early spring with a chucky bow.

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Pulling for pigs on a mud line.

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Mean muggin for the camera

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Maddie with a nice streamer fish to start off a very windy day

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Streamers saving a very slow day of dry fly fishing

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Josh with a nice fish caught while filming for an upcoming project

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Exploring some gin clear water before the snow started melting from the mountains

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This fish was a serious moral boost on a slow day.

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Travis fooled this great brown out of hiding in small pocket water.

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Trout selfie

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Warmer weather means more browns on the prowl

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Travis product testing a new t-shirt. Appears to be working just fine

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Josh stoked for days

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The sometimes elusive spring dry fly eat

We now have a handful of new shirts and hats in our online store.  To see more and shop click HERE.

-Zack

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10 Great Online Fishing Films

fishing, film, montana, trout

Fly fishing film.  It’s come a long ways in the last five years yet also remained surprisingly stagnant.  Technology has helped put the tools to create great film in almost everyone’s hands and documenting the sport has never been easier.  With a younger crowd pushing into the industry the look and feel of the content has slowly began to shift.  On the other hand it seems little progress has been made towards new and creative content.  Each year’s film tour is filled with the same storylines, slow-mo tarpon jumps, and exotic locations only the rich or connected few will ever see.  Some would disagree but hey that’s just my opinion.  The emergence of quality fishing films really started about 5-6 years ago in my opinion and since then there have been thousands of films made.  As filmmakers we continually look to progress the realm of fishing films and to some extent I think we have although not without ruffling a few feathers.  The fishing community can be a touchy bunch.  As such though we try to keep an eye on what other films are coming out and we appreciate the work others put into promoting the sport of fly fishing.  At the end of the day that is really what fishing film should be about, promoting the sport and passion for catching fish and as a result of that passion we want to protect the places those fish live.  With that said here are 10 of our favorites from over the years.  Over half of them are now two years old and to me that says something, I’ll let you interpret the meaning for yourselves.  Without further ado watch, enjoy and please leave me a comment below with your thoughts on remarkable fishing films you feel we may have overlooked!

Trout Is All

Rolf Nylinder is one exceptional filmmaker and storyteller.  He graces this list twice and for good reason.  His films have style and this film merges much of why we trout fish into one beautiful short film.  No egos, just fishing, beautiful places and rising trout.

Double Down

Shot five years ago this film is one that hasn’t lost any appeal since then.  Still moody as ever and filled with great fish and some great shots.  The underwater shot a 2:00 is still a personal favorite.

Mighty Mouse

Mice, trout, AK.  Need we say more?

Breathe

RC has become a beast behind the camera over the years.  From competing against him at the Simms Shoot Out in 2012 his progression has been rapid.  This film of his came out about 4 years ago but still rings true as ever.  Fishing is good for the soul and sometimes all you need is a deep breath and a fly rod in hand.

New Zealand – Dream Come True

Great music, big trout, & beautiful New Zealand.  This is a more recent piece and many fishing films have come out of NZ but this one we seemed to like a bit more than the rest.  Did we mention we’ve got a trip in the works?

Early Morning Jungle Poon

The music and editing might be a bit jarring but the shots at 1:40 and 3:00 are easily worth the admission.

Plan B

Faceless Fly Fishing has been around for a good long while and this film from 5 years ago is a classic.  Cutties, bull trout, browns, brookies and falling buildings.

The Field Coffee Diary – Ep4 – A Late Hatch

Rolf with more poetry in motion.

Streamers Inc.

Breaking the mold here with a funny parody about streamer fisherman.

Knocking On The Door

The next generation is here.  These guys are all about stoking out the next generation and embracing the next wave of anglers to take up fly fishing.

Picking only 10 makes it tough so please share with us in the comments some of your favorite fishing films that are free and online!

Zack Boughton

My Montana Wild Internship

internship, outdoor, photography, film, video

Are you a young, motivated individual who is passionate about the outdoors, and filmmaking & photography? Are you looking for an internship to develop those skills? If so, look no further. Montana Wild is looking for interns for 2017, and you could be one of them. Follow along as I take you through my summer as an intern for the guys at Montana Wild!

montana wild, internship, hunting, fishing, photo, video

Taking a break from running the camera and throwing a salmonfly sure isn’t a bad gig.

As I approached my final summer as a college student at the University of Montana, I knew that I wanted to stay in Montana for the summer and work somewhere that’s directly related to media arts, which is what I’m studying in school. Shortly after making this decision, I saw a post on Montana Wild’s Facebook page that they were hiring, and also had internship positions available. From there I got ahold of Zack and Travis Boughton, and sent them my cover letter, resume, and portfolio. Shortly thereafter, I met up with the guys to talk about being an intern, and the next thing I knew, I had landed myself the sickest summer job around. I was stoked!

montana wild, internship, fishing, photo, video, smith river

Snapping photos, rowing, fishing, and camping on Montana’s Smith River.

What I didn’t know going into this internship was how many awesome places I was going to go while working. The major highlight of my internship for me was floating the Smith River and seeing first hand how important of a resource it is for Montana. Not only was it an awesome place to experience, but over the course of the trip I was able to shoot a wide variety of photos, and get to use some new gear for the first time. It gave me time to try new things, and ask questions that greatly improved my photography as a whole, but specifically fishing related photography and astrophotography. During that trip I also was able to see firsthand how the guys at Montana Wild work on a production. Being able work side-by-side with Zack and Travis helped shorten my learning curve greatly.

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Camping while on the job.

I also went on trips shed hunting, bear hunting, and a few days of salmonfly fishing/filming in SW Montana, where I was able to gain experience shooting on a cinema camera for the first time. Running a professional grade film camera allowed me to get a closer look at all the settings available to the filmmaker but also what it takes to make these cameras really shine. When you make that step up inherently you are going to make mistakes and being able to have a focused yet fun setting to make those mistakes was a great way to learn. After the shoot I had the opportunity to edit all my footage and work with high quality slow motion video for the first time as well. Aside from shooting and editing content in the field, as an intern for Montana wild you will learn the ins and outs of social media, advertising, brand and social promotions, and what it takes to run a successful brand and social media platform.

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Running the Sony FS7 while Zack navigates some whitewater.

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Chase packs out during a spring bear hunt.

Over the course of my internship I had the opportunity to work on a wide range of daily tasks that took me to some pretty incredible places. Daily tasks included the following:

  • Creating and scheduling daily social media posts
  • Creating focused, branded content packages for social media
  • Brainstormed photo/video content ideas
  • Shooting photo/video content
  • Editing photo/video content with Adobe programs
  • Coming up with blog post ideas. Writing blog posts
Montana Wild Internship

Developing skillsets, one click at a time.

If you are looking to become an intern for Montana Wild in the future, you should have some experience or be proficient with Adobe software. Specifically Lightroom, Photoshop, and Premiere. Having a strong grasp of the basics is a necessity of the internship but will really allow you absorb much more during your internship. The more you already know the better, but that brings me to my next point.

By now you’re probably wondering, “So what am I going to get out of this internship?” other than a summer full of stoke, brown trout, camera gear and laughs. The answer is A LOT. Over the course of my internship I was able to improve my skills across the board from shooting photos and video, to editing said shots in Premiere, Lightroom, and Photoshop. When it came to shooting content, my technical skills improved drastically when it was time to set up gear, or quickly getting camera settings to desired levels to capture a shot. The more you do it, the easier it gets, and knowing how to use your gear to its fullest extent will greatly improve the content that you end up with. Subsequently, the content that I was shooting greatly improved as the summer went on. This was partially due to being out and shooting more frequently, but also because I had a resource to bring my work back to and be critiqued. Seems like a solid gig so far doesn’t it? Well it gets better yet. If you’re a college student, you more than likely will be able to receive credits towards graduation for your work over the course of the summer. In my case, I was able to get 6 credits, which meant less class and more time in the mountains come September!

montana wild, internship, hunting, film, photo

Spending time in the mountains with the guys meant more knowledge gained about cameras but also about hunting and backpacking.

Interested in working in the hunting and fishing media industry as a career? Not to worry, as an intern for Montana Wild not only will you build skills that will help you succeed in the future, but you will also have the chance to make connections by learning the ropes and insider tips from Zack and Travis. This will also allow you to meet other like minded people in the industry, and in today’s world, being talented at what you do, having job experience, and knowing the right people will get you far. Like what you see? If so send the guys at Montana Wild an email to info@montana-wild.com with the SUBJECT line: Montana Wild Internship.  Be sure to send a resume, cover letter and a portfolio of any photo/video work you’ve done.  Good luck!

Written by Calvin Connor

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BIG GULPS – VIDEO

salmonfly, fishing, montana, video

The Salmonfly, one of the biggest meals on a trout’s menu.  It’s one of our favorite times to be on the water.  Last summer we took the camera out for a few days to capture a bit of why we love that time of year.  BIG GULPS is descriptive of the big eats that these bugs elicit from the trout that call Western Montana home.

If you missed the blog post giving a bit more info about the film and our fishing see the other post right HERE.

Also, if you didn’t quite get what you had hoped for this Christmas please visit our store and consider some of our branded apparel.  The purchase of this gear helps us make more free films for you in the future.  Shop here > MONTANA WILD STORE

-Zack Boughton

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BIG GULPS – Salmonfly Fishing SW Montana

salmonfly, fishing, montana, brown trout
salmonfly, nymph, montana, hatch

Pteronarcys californica

Late each spring salmonfly nymphs begin their migration towards banks, rock walls, logs, boulders and any other good structure where they can hatch.  The largest of stonefly here in Montana mean big food for all the fish in the river.  The hatch exists across the Western part of our state and in many areas across the Western half of the US.  It’s something anglers wait for and anticipate.  My first good taste of this hatch was in 2013 when good friend Dan “Rooster” Leavens, owner of the The Stonefly Inn, called me and said it was on.  I grabbed my camera and showed up for two great days of fishing.  Those days proved to be enough for a short film and Bareback Rider was created (watch below).

Since then we’ve fished the hatch in many places and had many memorable days.  This year we wanted to return to some of the areas that were quite renowned for their salmonfly fishing and take the camera out for a few days.  Fishing a massive dry fly is something I enjoy and love to capture.  This year we were able to get out ahead of the hatch and try to watch it progress and learn more of the intricacies of this impressive bug.

salmonfly fishing, montana, montanawild, film

Where they at?

Early on the fish didn’t key in on the dry.  As a few adults would begin to hatch you’d think it would be popping off at any second.  An hour later and you hadn’t had one fish rise to the big bug.  Nymphing, streamers and other small dries were the ticket to getting fish in the boat those first few days out.  As to be expected when the fish started looking up for the salmonfly the word got out.  It wasn’t unusual to see 10-20 trailers at all the main fishing access sites along the river.  Fish were to be had but catch a few and pull over for a quick photo and you just might get passed by a handful of boats.

salmonfly hatch, montana, fishing, brown trout

Travis kicking the morning off with a slab of butter.

Some days I didn’t know which was better, be out in front and be the first bug the fish see or sit back and let the other boats create the hatch.  We had big fish eat both ways and regardless of pressure you’ll always have those fish sitting in the spot that only 10% of anglers can either cast to or get a good drift through.

salmonfly hatch, bug, tula hats, babe, fishing

Sunny, warm days, salmonflies and pretty women in the front of the boat. Life is good.

brown trout, huge, big, massive, montana, salmonfly hatch, film, video

The “if you’re real lucky” salmonfly eater

At the end of the year we’d gotten enough shots to piece together a short film.  Monday the 9th we’ll release our latest fishing film, BIG GULPS, here on the website!

Zack Boughton

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Stoked On The Smith – VIDEO

smith river, montana, copper mine

smith river, montana, fishing, tintina, copper mine

Stoked On The Smith is now live!!!  This spring we had the opportunity to float the Smith River in Central Montana.  We wanted to see this resource for ourselves and document the trip to help raise awareness about the Smith and the current situation with a copper mine proposed for Sheep Creek, one of it’s main tributaries.  To read about the trip you can start with Part 1 right here > Smith River Trip Part 1

Informative links regarding the Smith River:

www.saveoursmith.com
www.tintinaresources.com
www.smithriverwatch.org
www.backcountryhunters.org/sign_smith_river_petition

-Zack

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Smith River, Montana – Part 1

SMITH RIVER, MONTANA

To protect a place or thing, you must appreciate and understand the value of it.  The greater the number of individuals that have that appreciation and value residing in their souls, the more support you have and the stronger the voice when a call to action is needed.  Although the Smith River is the only permitted recreational river in Montana and is enjoyed by thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year, it continues to seemingly fly under the radar as a Montana destination in comparison to some of our other wildly famous resources.  That all has slowly been changing over the last year as a proposed copper mine has brought the beloved Smith River front and center.  Some cringe at the idea of more people knowing of their beloved spots and diluting their chances at drawing a permit yearly, but others see the necessity of a wider awareness and hope more people can become personally acquainted and educated on this beautiful river system and the overall majesty of the larger landscape of which the Smith River calls home.

smith river, montana, copper, mine, fly fishing, tintina

A classic look at Montana’s Smith River.

The Smith River is what I would call the Grand Canyon of Montana.  Flowing north out of the Big Belt, Little Belt and Castle Mountains it picks up size as it winds its way through windswept cattle country near White Sulfur Springs, Montana.  As it passes Camp Baker, where floaters put in on their 59 mile float, it dives into a deep limestone canyon that provides some of the most stunning river vistas Montana has to offer.  Cliff walls soar over corner after corner of this epic river and the beauty often distracts the fisherman from an eat of their fly by a hungry brown or rainbow trout.

fly, fishing, smith, river, montana, copper, mine, tintina, conservation, wild

This dynamic river is considered a red-ribbon trout fishery with trout densities back in 2011 averaging about 250 brown trout and 250 rainbow per mile in the upper stretches.  Angler-days averaged about 14,200 between 1982 and 2009.  The primary species to be hooked under these limestone walls are brown trout and rainbow trout, but cutthroat and brook trout do exist in lesser numbers as well.  Given the nature of the upper 100 miles of river it often runs a varying hue of brown for much of the first half of the float season.  Fishing a nymph will produce your best numbers but the Smith offers some exceptional dry fly fishing and great structure and pockets for the streamer junkie to target the larger fish in the river.

smith river, montana, brown, trout, wild, copper, mine, fishing

A nice Smith River brown trout.

Why the Smith is the #4 most Endangered River in America for 2015

Currently Tintina Resources is going through the permit process with Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality for an underground copper and related minerals mine in the Sheep Creek area.  Sheep Creek is a tributary to the Smith River and prime spawning habitat for native fish populations from as far away as the Missouri River hundreds of miles downstream.  The proposed mine has many worried.  A few of the concerns revolve around acid mine drainage and it’s potential effect on fish and other aquatic life, the potential for a lowered water table that could effect adjacent stream flows in a river system that already has to deal with low flows during the summer months, as well as groundwater contamination issues.  (More about the risks of the mine can be found in the links at the end of this post).  Now it’s a fact that our society and most all of us rely on mining in our daily lives.  I’m surely not anti-mining, but given Montana’s poor history with mines heavily polluting waterways it’s hard to not be highly concerned that we eventually will see many negative environmental effects from a mine such as this.  The Upper Clark Fork basin is currently one of the largest Super Fund sites in the nation due to a flood in 1908 that caused an open-pit copper mine in Butte to spill millions of tons of contaminated sediment downstream along the river for hundreds of miles (https://www.hcn.org/articles/clarkfork_superfund).

smith river, montana, wild, fishing, landscape, epic, conservation

Over hanging cliffs line a large portion of the Smith River.

With the debate raging on it was easy to see how both sides had valid points regarding their stance on the project.  One side wanted to protect the environment and recreational value of the resource and the other wanted to mine a valuable raw material our society demands while providing jobs to the local economy which currently has few to offer.  I figured the best way to feel out the subject was to actually get a first hand experience on the river.  Both my brother Travis and I had drawn permits for mid-April, and we knew that after 5 days on the river we’d have a much stronger opinion on the matter at hand.  As we spent time researching more about the river, I found that there was not much to be read or seen about the fishing on the river or the experience in general.  A quick Google search of “fly fishing the Smith River” led to the first page being dominated by outfitters and fly shops offering guided trips.  A read through these pages did provide some insight into the river but left more questions than it could answer.  A quick look at Youtube revealed an assortment of poor quality, handicam style videos that didn’t seem to showcase the grandeur of a place that was seemingly so epic and suddenly so threatened.  With little high quality content it seemed it would be hard for someone to understand the amazing value the resource had to offer without going on a trip firsthand.  Given the nature of our work we felt documenting our trip would be a great way to raise awareness for a resource that seemed to desperately need it.  It seemed that if thousands enjoyed the trip each year and our state was comprised of tens of thousands who enjoy fishing we could do better than only 8,022 signatures on a petition that needed 10,000 as of writing this.

smith river, montana, fly fishing, wild, copper mine, conservation

Looking for risers in the foam.

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Filming a nice cuttbow.

After a few weeks of quick planning we had arrived at Camp Baker with rafts, camping gear and a handful of cameras in tow.  Our group totaled only six people and only Sam had been here before.  Our goal was to see this resource firsthand and capture the trip through photo and video.  We had no big production crew, no big sponsors, no shot lists or scripts and no expectations, just a group of good friends, a beautiful river and five days of wild experience before us.  (Part 2 is now up on the site.  You can read it HERE > Part 2)

camp baker, smith river, montana, wild, gnar

Launch Day

To learn more about the Smith River Mine please see the following links:

Save Our Smith – (www.saveoursmith.com)

Tintina Resources – (www.tintinaresources.com)

Montana Environmental Information Center (www.meic.org/issues/smithriver)

Black Butte Copper – (www.blackbuttecopper.com)

Smith River Watch – (www.smithriverwatch.org)

Tintina’s mine proposal – (deq.mt.gov/Land/hardrock/tintinamines)

News Articles:

NY Times – (www.nytimes.com/smithriver)

Montana Kaimin – (www.montanakaimin.com/news/smith-river-mine)

Bozeman Chronicle 10/17/15 – (http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/opinions/guest_columnists/why-gamble-on-the-future-of-montana-s-smith-river)

Helena News 2/11/16 – (http://www.ktvh.com/2016/02/black-butte-copper-project-tintinas-technologies-part-3/)

 

-Written by Zack Boughton

-Photos by Travis Boughton, Zack Boughton, Calvin Connor, Maddie Sieler