A Fly Angler’s Review of
Live The Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys
Feb. 20th, 2022
Joe Humphreys is probably the most well known fly fisherman in the world. Sure, you could argue that Lefty Kreh was more popular, but either way, Humphreys is a proverbial giant.
Born in Pennsylvania in 1929, Joe Humphreys caught his first trout at age six. His mother made him a fish sandwich with it, and Joe says it was the best sandwich he’s ever had.
Closing in on 94 years of age, he’s got a lifetime of wisdom to share. A documentary was made in 2019 to showcase him and his legacy, and it’s called “Live the Stream: The Story of Joe Humphreys.”
Let’s get into the movie review.
A life dedicated to fly fishing
So, I’ve seen this documentary twice now. It’s really well done.
Joe is featured prominently throughout the entire film. They don’t get all Ken Burns on you, relying on old photographs and such. On the contrary, this film presents Mr. Humphreys in all his glory, fishing in Pennsylvania trout streams day and night, cleaning up local watersheds, breakfast with his friends, and visits with family.
Joe will explain to you things he learned from his fly fishing mentor (George Harvey), as well as mistakes he made and things he discovered. He’ll even put on a clinic late at night, landing a monster brown trout. This guy’s a machine. You’ll even see him lifting weights like a boss.
Above all, it’s his unabashed drive that impressed me. Just last year, at an age of 92 years old, Joe landed a 30-inch brown trout at 1am.
One question I couldn’t shake at the end of the documentary was: what was on the other end of his line when he was fishing Arkansas? We’ll never know.
Here’s one fish we do get to see…
Live the Stream – Review Summary
The film’s cinematography is exceptional throughout. My favorite sections are when we get to watch Joe maneuvering through tight areas as he doggedly fishes small mountain streams. When he hooks into trout, even small ones, he’s determined to land them.
There aren’t many folks who can say they’re professional fly anglers, but Joe’s made a career out of it. He even taught fly fishing (and wrestling) at Penn State University, which he covers in the movie.
He’s a man of excellence. He clearly demands it of himself.
The Fly Fishing Film Tour documentaries can be fun to watch despite the self-aggrandizing, but you won’t learn much from them. Live the Stream, however, is inspiring on several levels. Joe Humphreys’s focus and drive will motivate you, as will his conservation mindedness.
You’re going to want to watch it more than once.
About the Author
My name's Sam and I'm a fly fishing enthusiast just like you. I get out onto the water 80+ times each year, whether it's blazing hot or snow is falling. I enjoy chasing everything from brown trout to carp, and exploring new waters is something I savor. My goal is to discover something new each time I hit the water. Along those lines, I record everything I learn in my fly fishing journal so I can share it with you.