Arctic Dreams in Nunavut
Produced, filmed, edited and narrated by Joseph Daniel, 2012 – Originally broadcast as two separate TV episodes, this full-length version of Arctic Dreams opens with Wild On The Fly angler Steve Jensen paying homage to the Inuit fish gods, with immediate and amazing results! Steve has traveled to the far North with Atlantic salmon guide Dave Bishop and filmmaker Joe Daniel in search of record-size searun Arctic char on the Ekaluk River in the Canadian territory of Nunavut. Once they finally arrive (after two days of travel) Dave is quick to hook up with a nice fish that engulfs his fly so deep it unfortunately becomes Arctic sashimi, leaving Dave a bit shaken but everyone well fed.
The Wild On The Fly team settles into the Spartan life of a fishing camp well above the Arctic Circle. They take a tour with head guide Jack Elofsson who manages his very short but impressive Ekaluk River like an English river keeper. A few fish get caught along the way but there's a sense that all is not well in this Northern paradise. Joe leaves the group for an amazing hike across the tundra where he films incredible wildlife, including huge muskox and a very pissed-off peregrine falcon. On his way back to camp he encounters Dave hooked up to something so large it breaks his spey rod; but he lands it anyway! That night after dinner an impromptu “group grumble” ensues over how the commercial fishing camp downriver is impacting angling.
Joe spends a day with the commercial fisherman camped at the mouth of the Ekaluk River. He helps them draw one of their 200-foot nets set along the shore of Wellington Bay in the Arctic Ocean. The haul is huge, and so are the fish, and suddenly the commercial aspect and impact of this tiny fishery becomes very clear. As the Inuit fisherman quickly prepare their valuable catch to be flown out later that day by float plane down to the processing plant in Cambridge Bay it's hard not to imagine that the thousands of fish being netted do have a significant negative effect on the quality of the sport fishing just upriver.
The gods giveth, and the gods taketh away. Dave finally connects with a truly trophy-size char that quickly shows this Quebecer who's boss in their heroic battle. As he makes his way back to camp at the end of the day Dave runs into Steve sitting in shock beside his prayer tower, a 1/0 streamer sunk deeply and painfully into the knuckle on his right hand. Warning to squeamish viewers; it's serious hook-removal time in the wilderness! Show ends with a final tribute to manager Jack Elofsson and Inuit owners Bill and Jessie Lyall, and resolution on the future of Ekaluk Camp.