August 1, 2013

Day 3: Bear Creek

On day 3 on my recent trip I decided to visit a small mountain stream that I haven't fished in years. It's just out of the way enough that I tend to go to other waters preferentially. The creek is Bear Creek, near Palisades Reservoir. In fact, its been so long ago that the last time I fished this stream I could drive over the dam to get to the access road. Now you have to drive further just to get to the road that takes you to Bear Creek.

Bear Creek is a small mountain stream that arises from the east slope of the Caribou Range. It's a cutthroat stream; its fish are on the small side, with a nice fish coming in at 12-13 inches. It's been reported that larger fish are in the stream but I've not taken anything larger than 12 inches.

Bear Creek is good tenkara water. It has more of a riffle-run-pool configuration than tenkara pocket water so tenkara techniques have to be modified just a little. For instance, since there is quite a bit of open water you have to be quite stealthy. Also, you have to keep your line a little longer than you would have to on classical pocket water so to keep your rod out of the fish's field of view.

Fish on!

I walked up Bear Creek, but next time I think I'll ride my Rokon. The trail is single track and is open to hikers, horses, and two wheeled conveyance, but not ATV's. I walked in for about 30 minutes then started fishing.

At first, the fishing was slow, but as soon as I readjusted my casting to place the fly exactly under the tight willow branches I started catching fish. My most success was when I placed the fly within 6 inches of the bank. There is not a lot of cover on Bear Creek, and when the sky was bright like it was the day I fished it the fish hide under any cover they can find.

I used the Nissin ZeroSum 360 7:3 and a 13 foot #4 line with 5 foot 5X tippet. This kept me just far enough away so not to scare the fish, but also to have a line that could be controlled without making a fuss.

For flies, I started with a white Takayama variant, then changed to a wool bodied kebari.

For fish, I caught about twenty, but I really didn't count. All were cutthroats; most were 7-8 inches -- some a little shorter, some a little longer.  I only fished for a little over 1.5 hours then walked back to the car.

If your in the Palisades area and have time to fish a nice little creek then try Bear Creek. It's fun, easy to access, easy to wade and productive.


  1. Really enjoying the travelogue...learning a lot on different techniques from your posts and texts. I'm heading out to MT in a month and will be up in the Bitterroot for a long week and will be fishing all the small streams and rivers up that way. I hope to have a few "many" fish days.

    Rick in VA

    1. Thanks, Rick. The Bitterroot country is beautiful! I think you'll have great fun up there with tenkara.

      Thanks for your comments.


  2. Wonderful posts and I love the detail, especially with your rod reviews and the science of Tenkara stuff.
    You make Idaho look amazing for fishing.
    When friends ask me what gear to buy, I send them links to your blog.


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