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‘Live the Stream’ Documents The Life Of Penn State Flyfisher Joe Humphreys

Streams run through so much of State College, gently flowing through the ridges and valleys of the region. Fishermen from all over the land flock to the area to fish some of the best waters on the east coast. These waters act as a home for a legendary fly fisherman.

Joe Humphreys grew up around the State College area, and he didn’t miss the opportunity to fish the incredible waters of the region. He learned the art of fly fishing, went on to master it, and became a household name for those familiar with the sport. Until now, nobody had told the story of his childhood, his rise to stardom among the fly fishing community, or his desire to care for the environment.

His story went untold until Lucas and Meigan Bell ran into the Penn State graduate at the same time they were looking for somebody to feature in a documentary. Lucas and Meigan are currently self-funding the documentary “Live the Stream,” and they both act as directors and editors of the film.

“‘Live the Stream’ is about following Joe Humphreys for one year of his life,” Meigan said. “We’re following him in the local community, with family, and with friends. It’s a personal portrait.”

Despite being a worldwide star among the fly fishing community, Humphreys never forgot his humble State College and family-oriented roots. “Joe is everyone’s friend,” Meigan said. “Joe is a very loyal and devoted person. He treats everyone as family.”

Not only did Humphreys attend Penn State, but he also wrestled for the blue and white and served as the 19-year instructor of the Angling Program. Penn State is known for many things, but most people don’t know of it’s proud and storied history of fly fishing.

“Penn State was the first ever accredited university to offer a fly fishing course,” Lucas said. Its history is long and worthy of its own story, but the fact one of the best fly fishermen in the sport’s history led the program for 19 years speaks for itself.

Humphreys is renowned for his accomplishments, but that’s not the only reason Meigan and Lucas are documenting him. “He sees importance in nature and water quality,” Meigan explained. “If that water quality isn’t there, there won’t be any fish to catch there.”

Lucas also explained why nature plays such a big role in Humpheys’ life. “He grew up in these streams,” he said. “Nature, to him, is personal, it’s been his whole life.”

Humphreys understands without a healthy environment, his teachings and instructions in fly fishing would be meaningless. The Bells share his love for the enviorment, which is why the three make a perfect pair for the documentary. “Nature has always been Joe’s work, play, and safe place,” Meigan said.

Lucas and Meigan have a few goals for the documentary, none of which come without help from the Penn State and fly fishing communities. “I’d really like this to be nationally distributed,” Lucas said. “This film is for Joe, and it’s a legacy to him.” Meigan added, “I want people that wouldn’t watch a fly fishing documentary to check it out and know there’s a really good story here too, and get into it a little bit.”

If the documentary can attract people to fly fishing or just get them to care about stream quality in general, Lucas and Meigan will be satisfied with their results. As more and more streams become polluted everyday, the importance of recognizing the necessity to have these bodies of water is needed greatly, and Humphreys and the Bells know “Live the Stream” can get that information to people.

While filming this documentary, Lucas and Meigan have had quite the experience with Humphreys and they had a few stories to share about him. “Joe always rocked a Penn State cap while fishing,” Meigan said. “I remember him saying, ‘I can’t take this Penn State hat off,'” Lucas added. Even with “Live the Stream” hats and other merchandise readily available to Joe, he never strays away from his Penn State Fly Fishing hat. And, according to Lucas, even at 87, Humphreys proudly supports Penn State football and wrestling. Not only does he watch the games and cheer on the teams, he also attends tailgates when he can.

The Bells have released a teaser to their full documentary on their website, explaining more about themselves, Humphreys, the documentary, and how you can help contribute to spreading his story.

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About the Author

Matt Coleman

Matt Coleman is a writer for Onward State. His hometown is North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, a little under an hour from Pittsburgh. He is a sophomore majoring in Natural Resource Engineering in Biological Engineering. Please e-mail questions and comments to [email protected] Also, follow him on Twitter @cole_man2.

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