November 20, 2015

And we're off...Winter Begins!

I love the challenge of winter tenkara. Snow, cold, limited stream access requiring some imagination, ice lined banks and best of all, silence. I love the silence of the woods in winter. I don't ski or snow machine. I do snowshoe, but my winter sport is fishing.

The last few days has seen some beginning of snow. Not a lot, as I live in the high sagebrush desert, but just enough to begin to close down some of the national forest access roads. Today it was 32°F for a high, with a gusty breeze and scattered snow flurries.

Wanting to get out of the house, today I drove to one of my most challenging streams. I never fish it during summer, as the vegetation is too restricting. But winter allows some great casting practice. Sure, there are branches everywhere, and lots of frustration, but it's worth it.  It challenges me and my equipment. Most of all, it gets me outside.

I used the Nissin Yuyuzan 2-Way 290ZX. This has become my go to short game rod. It's not a rod that I immediately fell in love with, rather, it's an acquired taste. It's stiff through the butt and midsection and flexible in the tip section. This makes casting just a flick of the wrist, something that is good when you have no room for a more traditional cast. It allows you to set the hook with very little wrist movement and the stiff midsection fights trout without you having to make large movements with your arm. It performs the sling shot cast with great energy, placing the fly with unparalleled accuracy. But what I like most of all is that it is a 240 cm to 290 cm zoom rod. On a stream like I fished today, 270 cm is too long most of the time, and you can just get by with a 240 cm rod. But every once in a while there is an opening and the 290 cm is a blessing. Still, it's a rod you have to get used to; it's not made to flip light weight flies.

This stream also allows me to stalk my prey. With so little room, you have to set up your shot, or cast, like playing billiards. My line is short, only 6 feet plus 2 feet of tippet, so I'm right on top of the trout. One cast, that's all you get. If you miss the hook set then your fly is immediately in the branches. It's great fun, in a masochistic sort of way.

Today I hooked a dozen rainbows. Many got off, because I couldn't set the hook well due to low lying branches. A couple of the trout were 12 inches, big for this small stream. One was even larger, probably about 14 inches. I almost had him to the net when he spit the hook. I probably scared some woodland creatures when I yelled ARRRRRRRGGGGGHHH! Here's a few of the trout I bothered to photograph.

The water was 42°F with the edge of the stream holding icicles. I fished from 1150 to 1345. It was a beautiful day. I'm going to try to get back to this stream one more time before the snow blocks me out. If I can't, then I'll be back in spring.


  1. Tom that second fish has beautiful markings.

  2. Greart story Tom. Im realy enjoyed in this post and photos. Have a nice winter :)


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