June 18, 2014

Tenkara -- June 16, 2014

I recently fished a creek that comes out of the mountains and tracks down through a steep canyon, coursing its way through willows, Red twig dogwood and alder. The gradient is moderately high and right now the flow is quite high, but the water was clear.

This is a short rod stream. A 300 cm or longer rod just will not work here. I have tried and tried, but even with short line I can't get enough clearance with a longer rod to make the experience fun. So, I use a 240 cm rod and sometimes I'll stretch to a 270. In spots, I've used a 180 cm rod -- yeah, that short.

As far as lines, I use a 7' line plus 2 feet of 5X tippet. With this line and the short rods used, I fish tight and close. This is real commando fishing. You have to move slowly and stealthy since you are so close to the fish.  Your casts have to be spot on, although, I'm the first to admit that when using such a short rod my casts are not all perfect. Often my first cast is just a "dummy" cast, just to get the line out in front of the rod tip. The second cast is my "real" cast. The rod is loaded and the fly is sent towards the intended target.

Many of my casts were sling-shot or "bow and arrow" casts, but when I have enough room to overhead cast I still prefer to do so.

The fish are cutthroats. I hooked some really nice fish, in the 13-14 inch range I guess, but I had some issues keeping them on the hook -- very frustrating. Most of the ones I brought to hand were 9-11 inches; still nice but I won't turn up my nose at a larger one!

June is when this creek really shines. As the water level drops the trout move into the more harder to reach lies, like the pools right under heavily protected branches. So June is when I go. It's worth the trip and the sore the back! Some creeks I fish in the winter, some in the early spring, others summer and others autumn. I'm a migrant or circuit fisher. I've worked out where the fish are and when certain streams/creeks fish best for my style of tenkara. That's why I gather data. Where, when, how -- document. It's what I do!

Here is a POV video of some of the fish:


  1. Some of the trouts are quite big for such a tight creek! Are there a lot of fishermen interested by these small streams in your area?

    1. They are pretty nice in size for the stream size. No, I don't ever see any one else fishing this stream. It's pretty hard to fish and we have other waters in the area that are more attractive to fly fisherman -- Henry's Fork, South Fork of the Snake, the waters of Yellowstone.