September 30, 2017

Headwaters

It seems that the latest buzz word in tenkara is "headwaters". I always thought they were just called small streams and creeks, but I guess since they feed into larger riverine systems they are actually headwaters.



Many of the waters I fish are headwaters to the Snake River, which in turn feeds the mighty Columbia. Other waters I fish feed into larger rivers, which in turn drain into the Great Basin.  Either way, they are headwaters.



I have found, however, that just because these waters are small and often overlooked by other anglers, they are still a crapshoot when it comes to frequency of catching (the fishing is always good, the catching can vary widely), fish size,  and fish count per mile.  Some of these creeks are just plain amazing! Relatively large trout in every lie and hold. Other creeks are just a bust. For instance, I was fishing a stream near the Tetons the other day, which I had never before fished. I hiked in a couple miles and found a beautiful, pristine creek. The water level was pretty low but there were plenty of holds. I hooked 4 trout -- all under 4 inches. As I worked my way upstream I scared a few that looked to be 6 inches, at the most. Although I had an enjoyable time in the wilderness, the section of creek I had fished was less than satisfying. I hiked back to the pickup, drove less than 5 miles to another creek coming out of the very same mountains and which had similar characteristics as the first, and hooked a 12 inch cutthroat on my first cast. Some creeks are winners, others not so much.

Here are some pictures from one of my creeks or headwaters. I fished it with my modified Zen Suzume rod at about 280 cm and used a 7' line (plus 2 feet of tippet).  First the fish, then the lie where it was caught:



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These next two came out of the same lie. In my creeks, that is unusual. 




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This brown was taken in lie number 2. I worked the fly in lies 1 and 3, but nothing.



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Last one...






Anyway, I love headwaters, or small streams or creeks -- whatever we are calling them today.








6 comments:

  1. Nice! I always enjoy reading about your outings.

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  2. 7' of line and 2' of tippet? Now that is close in fishing with your 280. Thank you for taking me along with you on your trip. I'll be in Idaho this weekend. Bringing my gear.

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  3. I really like this format over the video.

    More like textbook illustrations and instruction on lies and how they pertain to a real outing. I can quickly jump between the pictures and get a great deal of info on the productivity of a pool.

    Very very cool!!!! thanks for sharing!
    -Gressak

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  4. Another greta post Tom!
    Yeap, must agree that this photo illustration format makes it easier to assimilate those infos ...
    About head waters (genryu) i read (at least that was my undersatnding about it) are those almost untouched creeks, Many hours driving from the city, deep in hihg gradient japanese mountains only acessible after hours climbing and, most times, need to camp by night.

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    1. Or, just a one-hour drive from the Denver area, a beautiful hour hike-in, and then into cutts and brookies (and chanterelles, boletes, and raspberries...)

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    2. Genryu according to some Japanese anglers means creeks that require lots of hiking/climbing to get to. Headwaters in the literal sense are the source waters (alpine lakes, small tributaries, etc) for mountain streams(keiryu) and finally mainstream rivers(honryu).

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