December 16, 2013

Tenkara December 14, 2013

The time of ice is once again upon us here in the Intermountain West. Personally, I love fishing this time of year. Yes, it is cold. My hands tend to suffer the most. But the water is nice and despite the cold water temps the trout seem to be quite active. And of course, there's always Mountain Whitefish to oblige your hook!

The air temps have been down into the subzero fahrenheit range at night and into the low teens during the mid-day. Great fishing temps!! Ok, just joking. When it gets this cold, even the moving water in mountain streams freeze. This causes ice dams and the river spills over into the flood zone next to the river channel. When the air temperatures finally start to rise, the water opens a channel through the ice leaving high and precarious ice ledges next to the river. Sometimes the drop to the water is 6 feet or so!

Ice shelves above the water.

As I approach the river channel I usually sit on my butt and scooch out to the edge of the ice shelf. Only rarely does the shelf collapse (thankfully). I then drop into the water and proceed to fish. It's quite a rush. I love it!

Today I did just that. I made it to the water and began fishing -- upstream as is usual with me on higher gradient mountain streams. I used the Nissin Zerosum 360 7:3 with a 10 foot #4 line and 2 feet of 5X tippet. I used the #4 line because of a breeze. The water I don't mind; the breeze I hate! The fly of the day was a Bloody Prince.

Due to the breeze I fished only 1.5 hours. My fingers, particularly my rod hand fingers, get too cold after a while. This trip I tried not to touch the fish, so to keep my gloves dry. This did work better, I think.

The fish were wild native cutthroats and Mountain Whitefish interspersed with wild browns. I didn't take any monsters but a whitefish was largest at about 16 inches. That's just a guess since I didn't hold it up to measure.

Here are some of the fish:

Here's a video. No narrative, just music and some annotation:

It's the start of the winter fishing season. Let the games begin!


  1. This Zerosum is a thing of beauty!
    Tom i've ordered a NEXT 360 rod from Oleg.
    I notice that in your RFI table the NEXT and Zerosum have the same rating...
    Given that one is rated as a 5:5 and the other as a 7:3,
    would you use the NEXT to fish this same stream and conditions with the same line and flies???

    1. Yes, definately. The NEXT 360 would have been just fine for this water, line and fly I used.