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« Feb. SOTM Submission: McCoy G.T. | Main | Glacial Bull Trout »

Reflecting on the film “A River Runs Through It” and how it changed Montana

Turns out it's all McGuane's fault.

LINK (Via:The Bozeman Daily Chonicle)

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Reader Comments (16)

I was working as a guide in Alaska at a lodge that was almost exclusively fly fishing before and after The Movie. We went from guiding hardcore anglers who loved and respected the area to Sports who stepped off the Beaver's with Orvis price tags still dangling from their hats and vests, yes vests; they would be wearing their fly vests as everyday clothing. One morning I was waiting for the guests to come to the planes and a guy walks up dressed head to toe in brand new gear. I looked down at the blinding white felt of his boots and said, "Your boots are giving me a headache, go shuffle through that mud puddle, would ya?"

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLinemender

I guess the "good from bad" debate will never ease. From my perspective, the last time I fished Montana I was not confronted with huge crowds from Cali, or back East, or even Montana. It instead was a peaceful, engaging experience. Thank you to the great state for a perfect time!
Maclean was in genius mode with this story, Redford skillfully painted it on celluloid. I wonder if The Horse Whisperer brought more horse people to Montana?? I wonder if the trails are more crowded?
"Damn Californians and their thoroughbreds"

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdeerhawk

I thought we had eradicated poodles a hundred years ago! Maybe they were reintroduced...

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGMunson

"Redford skillfully painted on celluloid" - I just threw up, TWICE, in my mouth!!

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterFish On


While I agree clients can be goofy, If I was paying you good money to guide me and had to listen to your rude bullshit deserved or not, I would commence to laying a southern ass whipping on you that you would never forget. You are part of the problem....

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermoistness meter

I was very surprised at the crowds in Montana after my first trip through there a few years ago. Too much like Colorado. Give me the scablands between the two.
The movie really gave us a lot of new choices in equipment though.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersnuffer

I blame Zappa.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTwo Cold Soakers

I've see it too, and why is it always orvis gear? I remember going to Andros island in 1997 and I saved and saved to make that trip happen newly married and a fresh house payment.. I tied 25X more flies than I ever needed getting ready months before, always day dreaming about what it woud be like. Living in Idaho my whole life I was so excited to try salt. The morning after I showed up two couples sat on the deck at 8:00am asking the guide to put the F***ing backing, flyline , and leader on their new orvis rod and reels. I thought to myself is this what the guys look ike that travel to these places? Needless to say after 6 days for fishing I was sold on the salt experence.

February 27, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterspinner

I blame linemender

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterflyguy

honestly I get that the movie changed fly fishing ,it may have even gotten me back into at the time more so. The thing is I never really wanted to go to Montana to chase trout ,and I have heard it is over run .I have to say most places are over run ,we are growing as a society rapidly. since I was a kid in the 70's things have changed drastically and it seems more people are fishing now then ever. I often wonder how sales of are down of fishing licenses. Honestly I think that is a way of the states just crying for more money .
I'm sure this has changed Montana waters ,fly fishing is changing in general. We now have everyone and their brother filming and sharing ,and the more people see the more people want to try it. It really is a double edge sword ,because it grows the \\\" industry \\\" but on the other hand it brings the crowds. There are those of us who fish all the time and enjoy it ,you just have to accept the crowds these days as it has become part of it. If you want to get away from the crowds you have to hike where they don't go! So now you have to fish for a fishing spot. I'm still confused by the don't Vermont it up. Vermont is a nice place and if there are poodles there they arent on the side walk like in California. Maybe one of these day the big one will hit and Cali will sink and fly fishermen will rejoice everywhere !

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterwayward drifter

Never thought of the movie as a fly fishing movie. Rather a story of two brothers.

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterhillary clinton

I was a kid in Bozeman when it filmed. I remember waiting at a payphone (no cell then) to call my mom and the guy ahead of me took forever. It was robert redford. i never actually saw the movie until i was about 22. i think it's pretty good! The crowds arent that bid of deal cos most of those guys don't catch anything anyways. what does bother me is the people who come up and spend 80 days in a row on the same spot on the beaverhead, or whereever. fishing is awesome, but the movie definately inspired some real losers who have nothing in their lives to take out their insecurity on some trout. Perhaps instead of no line between religion and fly fishing, there could be a line between religion, family, work, fly fishing, and all the other things that lead to a balanced life.

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjanet reno

Aren't all of the guides in Montucky trust funders North Carolina?

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRT

Misanthropic megalomania.

Hard to fight navigable waters issues, pipelines and superfund sites without angler advocates eh? Just walk 150' from a parking area or up a trib and you'll be nice and lonely.

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergolden shower

That movie impacted everything from what I understand, just not MT. There was a surge in interest across the board in fly fishing, and guys from my FF club still talk about those days when you couldn't find a seat at a meeting. Of course, things have died down since then but it spoke to people nonetheless, despite what "Linemender" aka "dick-wad' has suggested, the movie brought people to the sport and I think that's a good thing.

February 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJGR

Even though the film is 20 years old we still get a lot of comments and requests related to the movie. The fishing shots were on the Gallatin and several of the other scenes were in the Bozeman and Paradise Valley areas. The scenery in the movie really captivated people and it still initiates folks to plan a fishing vacation to Montana.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMontana fishing guide

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