What makes the most desirable fly fishing river? Crystal clear, icy water situated in a string of challenging pools? Or how about a river that is booked far out in advance because families have a standing appointment for the last 40 to 50 years? The crew of Fly Fishing the World, airing exclusively on Sportsman Channel, wanted to see why the land of fire and ice is considered the ‘mecca’ for Atlantic salmon fly fishing with guest host Sasha Savic, CEO of MediaCom USA and a longtime conservationist. Traveling to Iceland’s famed River Hofsá, they will shine a spotlight on the troubles facing the Atlantic salmon from big nets to habitat degradation. Savic joins Orri Vigfússon, founder of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF), for this unique episode of Flying Fishing the World airing Saturday, March 16 at 9pm ET.
Fly Fishing the World’s main host, Conway Bowman, doesn’t appear in this episode, but he shares with viewers upfront that the Atlantic salmon’s story needs to be told. Turns out, Savic and renowned entrepreneur, Vigfússon, are the perfect narrators. Together, they have more than 50 years of experience in understanding how salmon live…and die. “My first salmon was 24 pounds and since then, I don’t think I’ve fished for anything else. It’s just different. It’s not fishing, it’s like a religion. And if fishing was a religion, then this has to be one of the cathedrals,” said Savic referring to the beauty that is the River Hofsá.
Anglers have been pursuing Atlantic salmon for hundreds of years in Europe and that education has influenced the modern day fly fishers in the States. Human activities like fish farming, over fishing and habitat degradation have heavily damaged Atlantic salmon population. But there is hope.
When not managing marketing campaigns for some of the world’s largest corporations, Savic commits his time, heart and soul to the pursuit and protection of his beloved Atlantic salmon. He is actively involved with the Atlantic Salmon Federation and NASF. Plus, he’s produced and hosted the film “A Passion Called Salmon,” which took him more than six weeks and captured 80 hours of film. “Our only rule was, let’s make a film that is pure,” said Savic. “I worked on the film for two years and that was my donation to the Salmon Fund (NASF). It was a real labor of love.”
Even the media industry knows Savic’s first passion is salmon fishing. This past fall, he was asked about his fishing lifestyle in this article in Ad Age titled “’Never Cut and Paste Anything:’ Creativity and Story Telling in the Media Business” Also in that piece, Ad Age asks how his passion for fishing has helped him in the media business. He replied, “If you want to catch a fish you need to fish where the fish is. You need to be there at the right time and right place with the right lure and understand the ins and outs. If you want to be successful you need to think like fish. In our business we need to think like consumers and clients to understand what are the challenges and what keeps them awake and night, and if we translate that into our work we will be more successful and we will be able to help them.”
Sounds like the man knows media…and fishing.
The crew’s host for the week is Vigfússon, an Icelandic entrepreneur and environmentalist. In 2004, Time Magazine named him a “European Hero.” He was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize in 2007 for his efforts on saving endangered species. His objective is to “restore the abundance of wild salmon that formerly existed on both sides of the North Atlantic.” His non-stop work and dedication to the cause of restoring the fortunes of the wild North Atlantic salmon has brought him awards as diverse as Orders of Honorary Knighthood from both the Queen of Denmark and the President of Iceland, election as a European Hero by Time Magazine and a coveted Conservation Award from Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne.
Now aged 70, Orri somehow finds time to combine his life as a prominent Icelandic businessman with the continual demands of trying to put the King of Fish back on the piscatorial throne. One of his tactics was creating a system where salmon fishermen get paid not to fish. “I thought we would have this wrapped up in two years, but its 23 years later and just now the salmon are getting the notoriety and attention they deserve,” said Vigfússon.
The episode is part education and part abundantly beautiful scenery. Savic tells audiences during the show that salmon fishing may not be around for another 10 to 20 years if something isn’t done to maintain and improve their habitat. According to the Atlantic Salmon Federation, salmon is a species that has drawn an international commitment and determination to see that numbers are restored to historic levels – despite dams, acid rain, bad forestry practices and other abuses of the environment.
“This is one of those places that’s just so dramatic,” said Savic to the camera while fishing in River Hofsá. “The land is being created as we speak. Just to be here is a privilege. There is no feeling like this. This is the best there is.”
To learn more about Atlantic Salmon Federation, visit http://asf.ca
To learn more about the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (of which Orri is the president) visit http://www.nasfworldwide.com
To buy Savic’s film “A Passion for Salmon” click here: http://www.nasfworldwide.com/shop/passion-called-salmon-dvd/
To book Orri’s lodging along the River Hofsá or to see about getting on that long waiting list, just email him: email@example.com