A well-known and highly-respected fly fishing family in the Bulkley Valley was featured during this year’s F3T Flying Fishing Film Tour in front of a packed house at the Old Church last Saturday.
Spatsizi is a short film by American filmmaker Todd Moen about the legacy of the Collingwood family and its business, Spatsizi Wilderness Vacations.
Ray Collingwood and his brother Reg started Collingwood Brothers Guide and Outfitters and Spatsizi Wilderness Vacations in 1969. The multifaceted business includes fly fishing, hunting and wilderness trips such as canoeing and hiking.
“I knew that we got some cool shots and some unique opportunities, but to actually see the whole experience on film was absolutely amazing,” said Carrie Collingwood, Ray’s daughter. “Sometimes you don’t appreciate where you are at times, but when you see it on film you can definitely appreciate your environment and the scenery is spectacular.”
While the business has been in operating for more than 40 years, it is slowly but surely being passed down from one generation to the next, something the film hoped to pay tribute to.
“It was just really neat to see her dad interact with her grandkids, and to see Carrie with her dad fishing and how they would have a ball on the river together,” said Moen, adding the the family has a vast knowledge of the area.
“It’s probably going to be one of the best trips I’ll ever take.”
But Collingwood admitted she didn’t realize how unique her father’s business was until her second year of university.
“I felt that I wanted to come and continue the family business and took a real passion for fly fishing,” said Collingwood, adding that she also met her husband through the business. “Fishing is my thing.”
The film was shot over 10 days around the Spatsizi Wilderness Park and weather posed the biggest challenge for the crew.
“But we were patient and we ended up having three or four spectacular days of fishing and we were able to capture all the components of our operation from string fishing for wild rainbows, fishing for trout in lakes . . . and just the family aspect of our operation was really able to be portrayed in the film.”
For Collingwood, the film is more about the legacy that her father started than just a story about fly fishing.
“It’s just not your classic, standard, just another fishing film. It’s about our family, it’s about the Spatsizi and the fishing is secondary. Everything put together makes it a really special film,” she said.