Restoring Brookies Film

Restoring Brookies, it’s exactly what it sounds like. This is a feature length environmental documentary film about the restoration process of the Southern Appalachian Brook Trout with a fly fishing aspect. In this documentary we will be taking our viewers through the history of these trout, the process of their restoration in their native environment, and what all of us can do to help further conserve these beautiful little fish.

Along the way we will be working with agencies like Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Tennessee Aquarium, National Parks Service, Department of Agriculture, and many more. While learning from the agencies who have boots on the ground daily to help conserve this species we will also be visiting with locals and fly fishermen and women. We plan to learn more about the history of the brook trout in these areas, why restoration is needed, and how successful the restoration efforts have been.

This film is not only going to show us how the restoration works but also why it’s there through the eyes of fly fishermen/women and the locals who see this fish as a part of their culture in the Southern Appalachian Mountains.


Producers Statement

Fishing has always been a very important part of my life. I learned to fish as a young child on a farm pond. At that time I was in it to catch anything, later I started smallmouth bass fishing on local streams, then as I got older I had friends with boats and would largemouth bass fish on lakes. When I got to college I didn’t know the area and with work and school lost touch of my fishing habits. It wasn’t until a warm January day in 2015 that I found fly fishing, among the next few months I looked forward to spring and eventually bought my own gear and that’s when the addiction started.

I took my first long road trip to fly fish in December of 2015 and went out to fish a stream we heard was great brook trout fishing. That stream was Sycamore Creek in Tellico Plains, Tennessee and it’s one of the older brook trout restoration streams in Tennessee. Being in film school I always had a camera and I decided I wanted to film the trip and that film ultimately put me here today. In January of 2016 I won a film festival placing in the Top 10 alongside producers from National Geographic, Discovery, and other avenues of the outdoor TV and film industry. At that point in time I thought wow I want to do what they’re doing and make a career in the outdoor industry, beforehand I thought I would go to Hollywood and make movies, not any longer was that the goal.

That film has since made me strive to be in this industry. That film is the spark that has now led to me working for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, Outdoor Channel, Sportsman Channel, and the Pursuit Channel. In 2 years I had already accomplished what I thought would be almost impossible. Now I sit here looking back at an idea I got back in December 2015 while learning about the restoration efforts thinking I would love to do that but I could never make a documentary that big. So here I am ready to accomplish another goal and make this film the best and most resourceful documentary about Southern Appalachian Brook Trout Restoration that has ever been made.

-Michael Cheser - Producer / Director


The Film That Started This Journey

The film that started this addiction to Southern Appalachian Brook Trout was one that lead us on a journey to catch these elusive fish. At that point in time we had never caught a brook trout and had one goal in mind and could not make it happen. We continued to film and made what turned into “Hunting Southern Brookies” and that film won a film festival. That journey to catch those little fish in a restoration stream that lead to a cold weekend with no brook trout made us think. We started learning more about the restoration efforts and why some have been better than others. Brook trout never left our minds, we eventually caught them in other restoration streams and some that have been left alone by nature and still hold great populations. Today that journey, that got us hooked on brook trout is what motivates us. We don’t want to go to native streams and not see brook trout so we are here to help protect and conserve the species and show our audience how they can help.

Hunting Southern Brookies “Official Selection & Top 10 Winner of The 2016 Outdoor Film Festival and Tour”