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Patagonia premieres documentary at South Lake Brewing Company

J.P. Kelsey
jpkelsey@tahoedailytribune.com
The documentary,"Finding Fontinalis," which follows the journey of four anglers fron Canada to Patagonia in hopes of catching a world record Brook Trout, will premiere at South Lake Brewing Company, Thursday, July 6.
Courtesy/ Alex Silgalis |

Catching a world record brook trout and conservation of fishing areas are at the heart of the recently released documentary by Patagonia, “Finding Fontinalis,” which will premiere at South Lake Brewing Company, Thursday, July 6.

Several other local businesses and organizations will be present as sponsors. The documentary was filmed over the course of four years at several fly-fishing locations in North and South America. It follows a group of anglers throughout their journey of discovering the relationship between landscapes, culture, fly-fishing and water.

The name of the documentary is derived from the scientific name of the brook trout, Salvelinus fontinalis, and as indicated in the film, there are significantly fewer watersheds for brook trout than in the past. The current world record for the largest brook trout caught is 14.5 pounds and dates all the way back to 1915.

Although Lake Tahoe isn’t the focus of the film, fly-fishing and conservation are two activities that are prevalent around the basin, and fishing for certain species of trout in the region could actually be a thing of the past unless conservation is ramped up.

California Trout, a nonprofit, will be hosting a fundraiser through the film premiere to assist its conservation and protection efforts.

“Throughout California, when there’s an endangered fish, like the cutthroat trout in the Tahoe Basin, [California Trout] tries to help revive that species,” said Alex Silgalis, who has been helping promote the documentary locally through his business, Local Freshies. “[California Trout] focuses on wild fish and their relationship to people.”

According to the documentary, the brook trout is native to North America, but the species was taken to Argentina so they could thrive. The watershed in Argentina is one of the few remaining watersheds that creates a healthy and sustainable habitat for the brook trout. The film also explores why the majority of the watersheds in the U.S. and Canada that have brook trout are much smaller, compared to what they used to be.

Silgalis explained there was an enthusiastic response from most of the local businesses and organizations, which ends up benefiting the environment just as much as a sponsor or business.

“This is how it really connects to Tahoe,” said Silgalis. “Since we have so many organizations that have missions to keep the water clear, we can also protect our species. There’s a lot of different conservation groups and each of those groups does a different thing to help with the basin. In Tahoe, there are a lot of people that want to help with the environment and local businesses. It’s great to give these small businesses a platform and provide an outlet.”

According to Silgalis, getting the community and its businesses behind this film and its related causes helps shed light on a topic that can fly beneath the radar.

“It’s seeing the Tahoe area with a different view,” he said. “You have the adrenaline sports like mountain biking or skiing — and I didn’t even know this myself — but, [Tahoe] is like a mecca for fly-fishing and unless you’re exposed to it, you’d never know it.”

Silgalis said the documentary really takes a look at fly-fishing in a unique way by coupling it with environmental factors that can influence fish survival.

“When you hear that it’s about fly-fishing, you think it might be a slow film,” said Silgalis. “They make it very interesting with looking into the history of the brook trout and following the guys from Canada down to Patagonia.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. for the event, with the film being shown at 8 p.m. There will be a raffle with a chance to win an introductory fly-fishing course from Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters and a YETI cooler from Outdoor Gear Lab. Other raffle items will also be included. For information, call 708-945-9209 or email info@localfreshies.com.


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