Weathering the Storm

Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department




Faculty Mentor Department


Faculty Mentor

Jeremy Lurgio


film, fly fishing, coronavirus, Montana, documentary, conservation

Subject Categories

Film Production | Television


Weathering the Storm takes us into the lives of fishing guides, anglers, business owners and experts as they navigate both the challenges imposed by COVID-19 restrictions and the rollercoaster of emotions while operating during a pandemic.

Fly fishing plays a key role in Montana’s tourism industry. COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns shuttered the dynamic industry during the spring of 2020. When the state opened up, record numbers of people, both local and out-of-state, flocked to Montana’s beautiful rivers, challenging the organizations slated with managing and protecting our waterways.

Hear the personal struggles Montana fly-fishing guides encountered as the crippling effects of statewide shutdowns and closures stymied tourism and their businesses. Witness retail and fly shop owners struggling to keep their doors open and businesses afloat, while trying to keep retain their staff and provide top notch service to their clients. Listen to conservation experts trying to manage and protect Montana’s rivers and fish during a summer that saw a dramatic increase in recreational traffic.

The film follows industry voices such as Carlye Luft, Director of the Montana Women’s Fly-Fishing School, lifetime angler George Kesel, Blackfoot River Outfitter owners John and Terri Herzer and fly fishing guide Jenny West. Their stories highlight the resiliency and adaptability of the fly fishing industry in Montana during this unprecedented time.

Student filmmakers from the University of Montana School of Journalism spent three months reporting and documenting these stories while diving into the complex issues each of these industry members and businesses faced. This film was made possible by the Greater Montana Foundation and the University of Montana School of Journalism.


The documentary, Weathering the Storm, is available as a video file (mp4).

Honors College Research Project


GLI Capstone Project


Olson_Doc Website.docx (70741 kB)
Weathering the Storm web site screenshots



© Copyright 2021 Becca M. Olson, Hailey Monaco, Sydney Hanson, Trevor Reid, Maiya Fleck, and Hazel Cramer