The 13 Best Fly Fishing Documentaries (Ranked)

When I was writing my Best 19 Fishing Documentaries series, I realized that “Fly Fishing” deserves its own list.

So, below are the top 13 fly fishing documentaries I can find right now.


1) Live the Stream

Fishing meets Zen.

“Live the Stream” hooks you instantly.

Released in 2018, this 93-minute doc by Lucas Bell (Fishing the Dream) showcases the life of Joe Humphreys, a fly-fishing legend.

Joe. At 86, he’s the protagonist and your guru. A memorable scene features Joe mentoring a young veteran, weaving life lessons into fishing tips.

Joe gets spiritual: ‘”The river heals.” His method? Nymph fishing—a skill he’s honed for 70 years.

The doc’s structure is a fluid timeline, like a stream. It utilizes slow-motion sequences of fly-casting and archival footage—enhancing its meditative mood.

The doc shows how fly-fishing offers more than mere sport—it’s a philosophy:

“COACH JOE: Cast with intent.
VETERAN: Like life?
COACH JOE: Exactly. Aimlessness leads nowhere.”

Watch Live the Stream for free on YouTube at It’s also available for free (with ads) on Peacock, Roku, Tubi, PlutoTV and Plex.

And you can rent it on AppleTV, YouTube, Amazon and others. See the full streaming options here:

2) The Rocky Mountain Fly Highway

Trout Heaven. “The Rocky Mountain Fly Highway” is a scenic joyride through fisherman’s paradise.

Directed by Tom Hadzor, this 2018 doc clocks in at 56 minutes. Your guides are seasoned anglers, showing you prime spots along U.S. Route 20.

Highway. Here’s the meat: The highway spans Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming—each offering unique fishing experiences. Famous rivers like Henry’s Fork and Madison are your playgrounds.

The doc even presents a “fly vs. lure” debate among enthusiasts, providing insights into different fishing philosophies.

Epic Moments. One climactic scene involves landing a massive cutthroat trout, making every fly-fisher’s heart race.

“This is why we do it,” exclaims an angler. Expect the soothing melodies of guitar strums as the soundtrack—a perfect complement to nature’s backdrop.

The stunning aerial views of Rocky Mountain landscapes will leave you breathless.

Watch it for free on YouTube at There are more streaming options (Tubi, Vudu Fandango and Plex (all with ads) or rent it at Apple TV) — see for details.

3) Land of Little Rivers

Fish On! “Land of Little Rivers” (2020, 93 minutes) is a poetic journey into the heart of American fly-fishing.

Directed by Aaron Weisblatt, it reveals the Catskill Mountains as the cradle of modern fly-fishing.

The doc introduces us to various fly-fishing pioneers like Joan Wulff, a champion caster. Joan (age 94) asserts,

“Fly-fishing is the ballet of the sport world.” It’s a place where legends like Wulff mingle with newcomers, teaching them the intricate art of fly-tying.

Craftsmanship. A standout moment includes the meticulous crafting of a Catskill-style dry fly.

The doc incorporates time-lapses, archival footage, and intimate interviews. Music?

Acoustic tunes enhance the serenity of rivers like Beaverkill and Willowemoc.

“JOAN: Every cast is a hope.
YOUNG ANGLER: And every fish?
JOAN: A surprise.”

You can watch Land of Little Rivers for free with ads on Tubi or rent it on Apple TV, YouTube, Vudu Fandango and Google Play — see for details.

4) Red Gold

Salmon Saga. “Red Gold” (2008, 55 minutes) is a gripping tale of Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

Directed by Ben Knight and Travis Rummel—the duo behind “DamNation”—this doc highlights the battle over Pebble Mine, a colossal gold and copper mine proposal.

Conflict. The heart of the doc lies in its characters. The fishermen, natives, and scientists all have stakes in Bristol Bay, home to the world’s largest sockeye salmon run.

A climactic scene showcases a heated town meeting, where lifelong fishermen confront mining executives.

Stunning aerial shots of Bristol Bay contrast against bleak mine diagrams.

Archival footage and crisp interviews build tension. Soundtrack leans toward the somber, matching the doc’s gravitas.

“SCIENTIST: This isn’t just a local issue.
FISHERMAN: It’s global. Our salmon feed the world.”

Watch Red Gold for free on Vimeo

5) Low & Clear

Fish & Friendship. “Low and Clear” (2012, 69 minutes) dives into the emotional currents of fly-fishing. Directed by Kahlil Hudson and Tyler Hughen, it’s a portrait of a friendship under tension.

Miles Apart. Protagonists J.T. Van Zandt and Alex “Xenie” Hall reunite for a winter fishing trip. J.T. is a purist; Xenie, a thrill-seeker. Their contrasting styles symbolize deeper rifts. A memorable scene unfolds in a Texan fishing shop—J.T. eyes a traditional wooden fly reel, while Xenie opts for a modern, mechanical one.

Style & Substance. The doc cleverly uses split-screen techniques to capture both men fishing simultaneously—each in his own world. The soundscape is subtle, ambient river noises that let emotions surface.

“J.T.: It’s about the moment.
XENIE: For me, it’s the catch.”

You can watch Low and Clear by renting or buying it from Amazon here: Check back here for more options:

6) Where the Yellowstone Goes

River Road. “Where the Yellowstone Goes” (2012, 88 minutes) takes you on an introspective 30-day drift boat journey.

Directed by Hunter Weeks, it steers viewers through the Yellowstone River, America’s longest undammed river.

Nature’s Bounty. The doc follows guide Robert Hawkins and his crew. They navigate complex currents, both literal and emotional.

A standout scene: a dialogue between a rancher and Robert, debating river conservation over a campfire.

Eyes & Ears. Cinematography captures the grandeur of Montana’s landscapes.

Expect a soothing soundtrack featuring indie folk artists. Birds chirping, water flowing—it all immerses you.

“ROBERT: We’re not just passing through.
RANCHER: We’re living it.”

You can watch Where the Yellowstone Goes by renting it on Apple TV or Amazon. Check all options here:

7) Shadow Casting: The Making Of “A River Runs Through It”

Insiders’ View. “Shadow Casting: The Making Of ‘A River Runs Through It'” (1992, 30 minutes) is a companion doc by Sharon Wood.

It demystifies how Robert Redford and a skilled team adapted Norman Maclean’s iconic novella into a cinematic classic.

Talent Roster. Interviews feature heavy hitters: Director Robert Redford, Screenwriter Richard Friedenberg, and John and Jean Maclean, the author’s children.

PBS reveals the creative forces—Oscar-winning cinematographer Philippe Rousselot, Oscar-nominated writer Friedenberg, plus actors like Brad Pitt and Tom Skerritt.

Themes & Techniques. Redford dives into balancing fishing as art and sport.

Other gems include details on cinematography by Rousselot and dialogue between Friedenberg and the Maclean siblings about adapting their father’s work.

“REDFORD: It’s not just fishing.

FRIEDENBERG: It’s also about family.”

Watch Shadow Casting by clicking the video above or on PBS here:

8) A Steelhead Quest: Portrait of a Rivered Life

Year & Length. “A Steelhead Quest: Portrait of a Rivered Life” (2017, 50 minutes) is a Patagonia Presents film available on YouTube.

The doc details Terry Myers’ two-year mission to catch a wild steelhead every month.

Expanded Quest. Starting in 2015, Terry targeted a different river each month. She missed only two months and decided to complete her endeavor.

The film scrutinizes this ambitious undertaking, capturing Terry’s tenacity and her husband Jerry’s supportive role.

“TERRY: It’s not about the fish.
JERRY: It’s the journey.”

Challenges. The couple faces dwindling steelhead runs but relishes the river—rain or shine, fish or no fish.

The doc raises awareness about depleting runs, a concern for anglers and conservationists alike.

Watch it for free on YouTube at

9) Providence

Fly-Fishing Haven. “Providence” (2016, 46 minutes) by Confluence Films transports us to the Seychelles’ Farquhar Atoll—a fly-fishing paradise.

After years of closure due to piracy, this untouched gem reopens for fishing enthusiasts.

Eclectic Catch. The film offers rare glimpses of the Atoll’s teeming life—Giant Trevally, Milkfish, and Bonefish.

One electrifying moment: An angler’s reel screams as a monstrous Giant Trevally bolts for the horizon.

Art & Craft. Stunning drone shots capture the atoll’s breathtaking landscapes.

The filmmakers’ attention to detail, especially in capturing the tackle and the tension, sets this doc apart.

Watch Providence for free on Vimeo at

10) Waypoints

Global Angling. “Waypoints” (2013, 86 minutes) takes fishing fans on a global expedition.

Anglers profiled include Oliver White, Jeff Currier, Greg Bricker, Gerhard Laubscher and Rooster Leavens.

From stalking trout in Alaska to tussling with taimen in Mongolia, this film by Confluence Films covers it all.

Exotic Locales. You travel with elite anglers across six locations including Patagonia, Venezuela, and India.

The pursuit of Golden Mahseer in Himalayan waters adds an adventurous twist.

Craft & Cinematography. The doc uses drones, slo-mo, and underwater cams to immerse viewers in the experience. An intense sequence: Anglers battle a colossal taimen that almost snaps the rod.

The only place I can find to watch Waypoints is buying the DVD from Amazon here: Check back here for other streaming options:

11) Fly Fishing in the Anthropocene

Modern Struggles. “Fly Fishing in the Anthropocene” dives deep into the collision of fly-fishing and climate change.

Created by Rolf Nylinder and Peter Christensen, the doc lasts a gripping 20 minutes.

Eco-Message. This short film takes us from the pristine rivers of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula to the polluted waters of New York.

The stark contrast highlights the Earth’s fragile state, urging us to ponder on our environmental footprint.

Visuals & Tone. Drone footage captures nature’s grandeur, while haunting music underscores the gravity of ecological threats.

A memorable moment: Anglers catch a beautiful trout in Russia, yet express worry over future generations missing this joy.

Watch Fly Fishing in the Anthropocene for free on YouTube at

12) Blue Charm

Legacy & Rivers. “Blue Charm” is A River Runs Through It meets Braveheart.

Led by Ian Gordon, a third-generation Scottish fly fisherman, this 120-minute journey takes you through Scotland’s iconic fishing rivers: the River Spey, the Royal Dee, and the River Findhorn.

Technique & Wit. Graphics break down fly-casting essentials, pointing out common errors and quick fixes. Ian’s humor provides both entertainment and ease… like a seasoned mentor cracking jokes during a lesson.

IAN: “Fishing isn’t just a hobby; it’s heritage.”

The only place I see to watch Blue Charm is on Fishing TV — it requires a paid subscription. Here’s the link: .

13) Beyond the Horizon

Survival. Redemption. Fly fishing. “Beyond the Horizon” delivers a raw tale set in Guanaja, Honduras.

Produced in 2017, the doc explores Rankin Jackson’s shift from drug running to fly guiding.

Guanaja—15,000 islanders, hurricanes, and political unrest. It’s a place living on the edge.

Yet, the doc shows how Fly Fish Guanaja lodge cultivates a catch-and-release ethic, transforming local poverty to opportunity.

Rankin—once a cartel member, now a top fly guide in Honduras. His rise mirrors the island’s shift from drug wars to fly fishing.

Cayes Cajones, a perilous paradise, stands as the symbol of Rankin’s transformation.

In 2017, he and lodge owner Steven Brown risk a mission there.

Watch Beyond the Horizon for free on Vimeo at

Thanks for reading!

-Rob Kelly