For this installment of F3T Behind the Lens, we connect with Chris Kitchen of KGB Productions to talk about their film “BLEED WATER” with the Harrison Brothers. New England is not widely known for its trout or river fisheries, but Dan and Tom Harrison have developed quite the reputable operation up there with their dedicated, hard-core approach to guiding. Follow along to learn more about their fisheries, their story, and this awesome film! BLEED WATER is a bad*** film that you’re not going to want to miss!

Flylords: Chris, thanks for taking a second to connect with us. Before we dive into your 2023 F3T film, Bleed Water, can you share some background on you and KGB Productions.

KGB: KGB Productions has kind of been my baby of me collaborating with people who enjoy working in outdoor media. I started out by making ski films, and then we’ve just grown to do all sorts of commercial and editorial work. I spent some of my early years in Jackson guiding fishing trips and exploring that region’s infamous rivers. I always strayed away from filming fishing, as that was one activity I enjoyed that I hadn’t been filming, but about 5 years ago we decided to make a fishing film. Since then, we’ve made 5 others, all of which featured on the F3T

Flylords: Let’s hear about how you all learned about the Harrison brothers and their unique approach to fishing New England’s rivers and streams? And then turned that idea into a full film? 

KGB: I first heard of the Harrison Brothers through Rex at Simms and I was fascinated with the fact that these guys fish all over the world and came back to fish and guide in western Mass. I actually grew up in Mass and had no idea that this fishery even existed, so that was intriguing to me, as was doing a trout film in New England. It seems like that part of the world often gets overlooked although it’s got a huge fly fishing community base and in many ways it’s where fly fishing kind of originated in the United States. There’s so much history there, and it’s great to get some recognition. Once I started talking with Dan and Tom and heard about their passion for finding and discovering new fisheries and running new and different rivers, I was very intrigued and knew we had a good story.

The Crew behind Harrison Anglers

Flylords: The Harrison Brothers pride themselves and have built a business on fishing remote, hard to access stretches of water. I imagine that presented some challenges on the photo and videography front. Care to explain? 

KGB: It was interesting to film with the Harrison Brothers. I’m used to showing up at nice boat ramps with bathrooms and an easy way to put in the boat and take it out . With this, we were dropping boats off on the side of the highway or winching them down Cliffs or dragging through fields. I don’t think we ever went to an official boat ramp. For many of these rivers, easy boat ramps don’t even exist. In fact, half the time we’d pull up to the spot, and I’d be like “we’re putting in here? Where?” For filming, we had to slim down our gear and we brought just essentials which is still a lot. Everything had to be portable as we would portage the whitewater with our gear and then let them run the boats without it just in case. Also the whitewater day nobody had run that section, so we had to figure out what we wanted to shoot and not shoot as it happened. Normally you have an idea of the places where you would catch a fish or shoot scenic or have a plan. For the whitewater day, it was true in the moment documentary shooting.

The Harrison Brothers approach water differently–they regularly launch boats at places other anglers wouldn’t even consider!

Flylords: Dan and Tom Harrison, definitely seem like fishy, very fishy, guys. What was it like filming and fishing with them? 

KGB: Dan and Tom and all the guides are very fishy dudes, as they fish some really tough water. As we say in the film, some of the stretches we were fishing have 30 fish per mile, but these guys have figured it out and know how to fish their water. They definitely have the brother vibe and their difference is what makes their guide service strong. Tom is “the general,” he’s the business man, the logistics guy the day to day guy. Dan is the dreamer, the one with the big ideas, fun loose but dialed. I mean all these guys can fish, tie flies, and really understand the fisheries and are great entertainers. With any sort of guide service, they feel an immense pressure to catch fish and protect the fisheries, and I think they manage that well. For filming its nice to catch a bunch of fish–that helps the film but was not our only focus. These guys were working hard for 12 hours a day plus tons of driving. We ended up doing two trips with them one in the summer and one in the fall and coincidentally we just happen to come the weeks that were the toughest fishing of the season. Seems to be on par with filming even with the tough conditions these guys put in 110% every day and worked every opportunity we had. I’m sure they do the same for their clients. You can see how much they care and how much thought and knowledge goes into the rivers they are guiding. They all seem to truly love guiding and whether they are guiding or have a day off, they are all on the water for 250 days or more!

Flylords: In the film, you all covered many different types of water and fish species. Can you tell us a little more about the Harrison Brother’s different fishing techniques and types of fish they’re targeting? 

KGB: What’s cool about the Harrison Brothers’ operation is that it’s a year-round operation. They are targeting trout year round but they’re also able to fish other species such as Pike and provide winter fishing opportunities too. I mean they use every technique in the book, from deep nymphing to euro nymphing to streamers and  dry flies and all sorts of variations and techniques. I mean you have guides like Phil Nogee who can tie any fly in the book and has specific flies he’s developed for these waters but you won’t find them in a fly shop. And then Cam Chioffi, a Junior fly fishing world champion. Just like Tom and Dan, their guides are continuously changing and adapting and innovating. Even as more pressure comes to the rivers, they are able to stay on top and produce.

Flylords: On that note, did you have a specific fish or film sequence that was particularly memorable for you 

KGB: There’s always that one fish that got away from you but what stuck out of this is we’re fishing a river (I probably can’t say the name of it ) and it’s one of those post industrial rivers where there’s like less than 100 fish from mile maybe 50 which seems like the odds are dismal and it’s just been like overcast and raining all day and we had just been nymphing and every one of their holes that were supposed to produce didn’t. It just got to that end of the day where you’re like “man are we really going to get skunked again (because the previous day we did)?” And then Dan just hooked into this big fish starts freaking out yelling it’s a big one. Cam jumps out of the boat  and ends up netting it. I mean literally end of the day, it was just a nice healthy big brown trout, and I think for me as a filmmaker we can always work around that we did not catch a big wild fish, because we have we caught some fish on film and we are trying to tell a more comprehensive story, but I think for the crew and the guides it was kind of their favorite river and they wanted to really prove that big Browns are living in there, kind of to us more than anything. And to the world and for them, I think it was more of a win, a real moral booster. I mean obviously we love the footage but like that just kind of built the group morale after two kind of bad days and then you know we went into those next three days and really got what we needed for the film.

Flylords: Any stories from shooting that might not have made it into the final film but you’d like to share? 

KGB: It’s a small but tight community. It’s cool that Dan and Tom kinda started the thing there and now there are many other guides and river users and they all help out. There doesn’t seem to be any competition or animosity. And of course what makes every guide service special is the guides and their personalities.  

I think another cool story that’s in the film but I want to reiterate, is that originally we were trying to go to another area and check out the streams where they had found some big natural brows in real skinny water but the water levels were too low so we kind of improvised last minute and ended up running that white water river which wasn’t initially our plan before the trip. But it was a river that these guys were all honestly interested in checking out. Some of them had been eying it up for years  So, we literally kind of went into it blind and made it happen, and I hope that came across in the film. It’s kind of the spirit of these anglers, and I think of us as filmmakers when we figured our original plan isn’t going to work out, and just audible and make it work. We all just jumped into it no questions asked and did it. That’s a cool thing when a crew coalesces and comes together like that. Those guys are definitely my friends now, and I can’t wait to get out with them again.

Flylords: While KGB was heading up the production of Bleed Water, I’m sure this was a full team effort–care to highlight any partners or others involved in the film? 

KGB: I got to thank Matt Fournaris the principal camera and editor on this project. He put a lot of time into it and two trips and literally slept 4 hours a night it seemed.

I also must thank Fool Hardyhill. It’s an off the grid Glamping camp with cute structures and a common area, and they are part of the fishing community. Thet put us up and fed us and served as a home base. It’s a home base for Harrison Anglers too, and it’s just got that good community vibe.


 And of course Tom and Dan and all the guides. They don’t really need the publicity and they took a lot of time during prime season to make this work and they were with us from dawn to deep into late night shenanigans.

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