Down the Hatch Fly-Fishing Festival (a biennial Missoula event) is all about fishing, fun, music, catching up with friends and making new connections.
The party in Caras Park from noon-6 p.m. Saturday, April 27, celebrates Missoula and the coming summer season, while offering an opportunity to teach people (young to old) more about fly-fishing and local rivers. Attendees visit with vendors to see the latest in outdoor and fly-fishing gear, have the chance to watch the best of the best fly-fishing professionals showcase their skills in the Orvis Guide Olympics, partake in outdoor-themed activities for kids of all ages, and partake of local food and beer, courtesy of food trucks and Big Sky Brewing.
Two favorite local bands will be featured at Down the Hatch this year. First up is The Wrinkles with their farm-pop sound; and Milltown Damn will be back this year with high-energy bluegrass to close out the festival. In between bands is a raffle for items from Orvis and Down the Hatch sponsors.
Orvis continues its focus in making Down the Hatch another “Kick Plastic” event. No disposable water bottles will be allowed for giveaway or purchase since the elimination of plastic water bottles is paramount to reducing pollution and addressing climate change.
International Fly-Fishing Film Festival
After the party at Caras Park, the crowd heads over to The Wilma for the International Fly-Fishing Film Festival® (IF4™), which features the best fly-fishing films from around the world. Doors open at 6 p.m. for IF4™ and films start at 7 p.m.
The festival consists of short and feature-length films, produced by professional filmmakers from all corners of the globe, and showcases the passion, lifestyle and culture of fly-fishing.
Among the offerings:
- The Midnight Mission: A nighttime angling adventure in which two buddies “rescue” a fly-fisher who has given up the sport by seeking a monster lurking in the dark.
- Aniak: Travel down the Aniak, a 95-mile tributary of Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, as angler Brian O’Keefe fights large, heavy-shouldered leopard rainbow trout in the Alaskan backcountry.
- Bigotry to Brook Trout: Film traces one man’s transformation from a life of ignorance and hate to quiet solitude on the waters of northern Minnesota.
- One Day: Meredith McCord, Ken Tanaka and Marc Crapo meet up with the Fish Partner crew for One Day in Iceland.
- 104 Years: In search of an escape from the daily grind, the Hog Leg Fly Fishing crew sets off on an adventure to chase wild migratory brown trout in a remote river in South America.
- One Path: When Fly Fisherman Magazine editor Ross Purnell heard about a pristine river valley in northern Mongolia, he knew it would be no ordinary fishing trip. After a two-day journey by camel and horseback he embarks on a 100-mile two-week float trip in search of giant taimen.
- The Road Home: Journey along a secluded Rocky Mountain stream filled with feisty cutthroat and large bull trout lurking deep under logjams.
Tickets are $12 and includes entry into another “crazy good” raffle for new Orvis equipment, awesome gear and the grand prize: a once-in-a-lifetime getaway for two to Belize. Purchase online or by calling 800-514-3849.
Proceeds from film ticket sales and raffle tickets go to the Montana Trout Unlimited Conservation Youth Camp – a specialized program that gets kids outside learning about our waterways. The camp includes fly-fishing instruction, field trips to learn more about local fisheries, and all lodging, meals, and equipment.