It goes by several different names, but Todd Moen and his friends refer to it as simply “the droid.”
Footage from Moen’s remote-controlled flying camera is featured in his latest fishing film, “Spatsizi.”
The film is being shown around the country as part of the increasingly popular Fly Fishing Film Tour, which comes to Bend’s Tower Theatre Feb. 11-12.
Moen’s journey into the remote Spatsizi Wilderness of northern British Columbia chronicles a week spent with a renowned Canadian bush pilot, Ray Collingwood, and his daughter, Carrie Collingwood.
In one memorable part of the film, Moen, of Sisters, gets footage of Carrie hooking a massive bull trout with his “droid,” also known as a quadcopter or multirotor.
“It’s a remote-controlled ship that flies around with a camera,” Moen explained. “I built this thing from scratch. There’s some shots in this movie like I’ve never seen before — shooting someone hooking a fish (from) a hundred feet in the air. You can see the fish’s shadow come up and eat the fly. It’s really cool.”
“Spatsizi” is basically a family story of a father and daughter, and how Carrie Collingwood is assuming control of the family’s lodge and guiding company.
“It’s just a generation- after-generation type deal,” Moen said. “It’s all about airplanes, and flying around and fishing. It’s just a great story of a father and a daughter. The daughter is taking over the company and she loves fishing.”
Before traveling to the Spatsizi Plateau Wilderness Provincial Park last August, Moen had already known about the area for quite some time. He began talking with Carrie about making a video featuring the Collingwoods’ Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge.
Most of the Spatsizi Wilderness is a large lava plateau, dissected by picturesque river valleys and several small, rugged mountain ranges. The sources of both the Stikine and Spatsizi rivers are located in the plateau.
The fly-fishing in Spatsizi is all for trout — big and beautiful wild rainbow and bull trout, according to Moen.
Moen took a flight to the small town of Smithers (population just over 5,000), where he hitched a ride of seven hours with a truck driver pulling a giant trailer full of horses as part of a hunting camp. From the camp, Moen boarded a small bush plane to reach the Spatsizi Wilderness Lodge.
The filmmaker spent a week with Carrie and three days with her father, whom he calls a “wild man” and a “complete character.”
Carrie Collingwood’s husband, also a pilot, flew Moen all over the remote, mountainous area for fly-fishing and filming.
“The rainbow trout fishery is UN-believable,” Moen said. “They are just beautiful fish. There’s many different rivers. The one (Ray Collingwood) built his first cabin on is one of the best trout streams I’ve ever been on. The fish are feisty and really pretty. There’s bull trout up there, and they get GIANT.”
Moen’s main project over the last several years has been Catch Magazine, an online journal of fly-fishing photography and film that he started with Powell Butte’s Brian O’Keefe. But lately, Moen has spent much of his time experimenting with the droid, which he took with him on a recent trip to Argentina as well as to British Columbia.
“I’m really into that electronics and camera part of it,” Moen said of the flying camera. “They’re really popular. But the way I’m using it, not too many people do what I’m doing. I’ve crashed, I’ve rebuilt. New stuff is coming out all the time.”
Moen used the multirotor to obtain aerial footage of the Collingwoods fly-fishing on the Firesteel River in the Spatsizi Wilderness.
This marks Moen’s fourth year with a film in the Fly Fishing Film Tour. The 2014 tour includes eight other films, featuring fishing locations such as Mongolia, Norway, Alaska, Virginia, the Florida Keys, Iceland, Argentina and the Bahamas.
The ninth annual tour, which kicked off its road show this past Saturday, aims to be the largest to date with premieres in more than 160 cities across the United States and Canada. Attendance is projected to exceed 50,000 filmgoers, according to a tour press release.
“Fly-fishing cinema is still a young medium and these filmmakers improve their technical skills and storytelling chops every year,” said tour co-owner Doug Powell.
Moen likes not only how the Fly Fishing Film Tour gets his films out to the public, but also how it creates excitement for fishing.
“It’s a great way to get people interested in fly-fishing and being outdoors,” Moen said. “And the film tour is really, for a lot of these guys, their best shot to get their work out to people. There’s a lot of up-and-coming guys that get into this. It goes all over the U.S. And it’s fun to see your stuff on the big screen.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0318, firstname.lastname@example.org