BOZEMAN - The state Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department has launched a media campaign to educate people about river etiquette without lecturing to them.
The Respect Your Rivers campaign was prompted by the FWP Region 3 Citizens Advisory Committee, which heard complaints about river crowding, litter and other issues from residents of southwestern Montana.
"I think we have got to create a behavior norm, that when someone is learning to fish or learning to row a boat, that there is instruction on basic etiquette," said Pat Flowers, FWP Region 3 supervisor. "It is the same when you are learning to golf. There are certain things you do and don't do on a golf course. It is the same with rivers."
The spots depict people engaging in poor river behavior. At the end of each commercial, Granny Trout - a person in a trout costume - shares a message emphasizing proper river etiquette.
To create the campaign, the committee presented the project to David Thompson with Brickhouse Creative in Bozeman, who said he didn't want the commercials to come off too preachy or follow antiquated formats.
"We didn't want it to be a warden, like somebody was in trouble," Thompson said. "And for some reason we landed on your grandmother. You want to do right by your grandmother."
The Brickhouse team developed the concept for "Granny Trout" and brought in filmmaker Justin Lubke, best known for his work on the award-winning girls high school basketball documentary "Class C."
One of the videos features a fisherman tromping through a stream in front of another angler. Another shows someone taking too long to launch a boat, and a third shows people littering.
Thompson said many breaches in river etiquette are unintentional and that developing a behavior norm is the key to improving the river experience for all users.
"I really think the main goal is to catch up the people who are not aware," he said.