Essay by: Joel St. Marie
Local water travels from many places on the Eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Small creeks from the headwaters above meander through the meadows, forest, and the high alpine. Icy water runs as the snow melts and is met with the bubbling hot spring water heated by the geothermal cauldron beneath the Earth’s crust. Spring fed rivers snake the open lands of the caldera and carve the deep gorge as it makes its way beneath the table lands and beyond.
I’ve been fortunate to explore the local outdoors on many levels as an outdoor enthusiast; as a climber, biker, fisherman, hiker, photographer, skier and more. Often revisiting the same area multiple times depending on the activity or adventure. The gorge is one of these places I first explored as a climber nearly 25 years ago with one thing on my mind; to climb the steep pocketed cliffs above. The gorge offers miles of exploring other than climbing as well. On bike you are limited to the the few roads that allow access to the gorge. On foot is another option and has its many advantages to exploring this historic destination.
Essay by: Dennis Vander Houwen
Whole wheat bread with a glob of peanut butter on one side and a wash of jelly on the other. PBJ’s never let you down. Adding a banana from the bunch, I grab my water bottle, and load my lunch into my small backpack along with my simple tackle and my Tenkara USA Sato rod and I am out the door. Gone fishing. In about 40 minutes I will see an old friend.
In the car I tap on Colorado Public Radio. Ironically, they are talking about the increase in people taking up fly-fishing in Colorado. It is an interview with a familiar voice, John Gierach. The topic is about the effect of more people taking up fly-fishing than ever before. I have my fingers crossed John will mention tenkara or talk briefly about stream etiquette, but my hopes are dashed. It is still a good interview and he has a new book out that I have now added to my reading list. I shut off the radio. Silence gives me room to think.
Tenkara Community Submitted Content
Essay by: Cheri Felix
To be honest, I just started fishing a few months ago. I used to know the exact number of days (it’s been about 60) but that started to get weird. In the beginning, I would go to Boulder Creek twice in one day. I’d go to areas where there are less trees to catch my line on. And then I worked my way up to the more dense areas of the creek.
In the early days, I’d only go with my husband and then gradually I started going solo. I watched the knot tying videos and I tried to actually listen to my husband when he showed me, but I tend to get distracted. Then I realized that in the worst case scenario, I could come home to get another fly tied on if I needed to.
Since then, I’ve cast a wider net (see what I did there?) and ventured to a place below Jamestown and also into Clear Creek canyon and along the I-70 (I know. Sounds so romantic). I’ve learned that tenkara fishing Rocky Mountain National Park isn’t like fishing along the Popo Agie in Wyoming. I’ve tested my patience in Wyoming on a tiny part of the Laramie River and will test it again when we go to Montana in a few weeks.
Living in Lyons, Colorado is a wonderful thing. Walking two blocks to the St. Vrain river to drop a fly in the water is certainly a privilege, and one I don’t take for granted. But the town stretch – like many easily accessible Front Range rivers in Colorado – sees a good deal of pressure, particularly in the summer months. Which means it’s time to head up into the local high country, the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Tenkara fishing to me is inextricably linked with moving through the mountain wilderness. It is so complimentary to hiking and scrambling around in the alpine, it’s almost silly. Here in the Indian Peaks there is an abundance of low volume, high gradient streams full of trout. And then there’s the high alpine lakes. The tenkara lake fishing is phenomenal, and the whole area is tailor-made for this simple method of fly-fishing.
Tenkara USA had its origins in San Francisco, California. San Francisco is by no means a fly-fishing destination, but that’s where I lived when tenkara came to me. The best opportunities for tenkara were in the Sierra Nevada. Every opportunity I got, I would make the drive to different parts of the Sierras, exploring its diverse waters as I tested rods, made short films on tenkara and just all around had fun learning tenkara.
Margaret fishing tenkara, Sierra Nevada, California
Because it is such a huge area, Sierra tenkara fishing is unique and varied, and as such the ideal Sierra tenkara rod might vary depending on the focus of your fishing. You can find small waters choked up with trees along the foothills and in some nooks of the mountain range, but you can also find wide open waters with large boulders and few trees, big rivers with calm waters, and tiny meandering meadow streams. This post can not cover every situation possible, so we will paint the Sierra in broad strokes this time as we recommend tenkara rods to consider to fish in the Sierras. Down the road will narrow it down to more specific areas.
Our main recommendation if you’re in California or Nevada and regularly fish different parts of the Sierra Nevada would be our longer rods. This would especially include the Ito, our longest adjustable tenkara rod if you know you like fishing the bigger waters, or the Sato or Iwana, both great all-arounder tenkara rods that travel well from small waters to big, and targeting small to large fish of the Sierras.
Boulder in Colorado is our home, and we fish all the waters around here frequently. Thus this is a good place to start our, “Which tenkara rod to buy for my region?” series. In this case, “Which tenkara rod to buy for Colorado” focusing on the Boulder and Front Range areas.
Boulder sits right on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. To the West we have the mountains, to the East we have plains. Going North we can reach the larger rivers of Wyoming, and going into the mountains we can choose to fish small streams or large rivers. The diversity of waters around Boulder is one of the reasons we chose to move Tenkara USA here many years ago.
The variety of waters can also mean a variety of tenkara rods can be used successfully around here. But hopefully this will help you narrow down the ideal choice of tenkara rod to use here.
Over the weekend I created my longest video/podcast episode for the Tenkara Cast yet. This time I cover everything about tenkara nets (also known as tenkara “tamo”): where do they come from, how they are made, how to use a tenkara net, and how to make your own. I go into a lot of detail into every aspect of tenkara nets in this episode. The episode clocks in at over one hour and twenty minutes, so I also added timestamps of different sections if you’re interested in one area over another.
We are reviving the Tenkara Cast!
After a fairly long hiatus from recording the podcast, the recent circumstances we are all facing made me realize that our need to connect is bigger than ever. We are being asked to socially distance ourselves, but I think we should simply “Distance together” as I may have heard somewhere the other day.
Fly-fishing content will be a refuge that we can look to for to take a break from the anxiety producing news cycle of today. And, of course, there is getting outside and fishing too, although there may be some restrictions on where can, can’t, should or shouldn’t go at the moment.
There are two episodes that just came online. One a few days ago where I talk about socially distancing, and just a little bit of what kept me from recording over the last year. And, today I recorded this episode on finding and exploring new waters. You can click the images below to listen to each of the episodes right within our site, or you can use your favorite podcasting app to subscribe, just look up Tenkara Cast.
I hope you’ll enjoy these, and I’d love to hear from you about what strategies you use to find new waters and if this time of socially distancing is making you explore waters closer to home, whether you have fished a new place or for new species because of covid-19, or simply how you are using fly-fishing (indoors or outdoors) to cope.
How to Find and Explore New Fishing Waters:
Social Distancing, and the Relaunch of the Tenkara Cast:
Due to a potential warehouse closure, we are offering a 30% discount on all our rods and my book to try to move inventory out of our warehouse while we can so that we can get through this with all our staff. And a free hat will be included with every purchase containing a rod or more. We would love to have your support!
A Message from Tenkara USA and its founder
We, at Tenkara USA, have been closely monitoring the situation created by Covid-19. Like all Americans we share the same concerns and anxieties, and our hearts go out do anyone enduring the initial impacts of this crisis. Continue reading
Tenkara Magazines – Volumes 1, 2, and 3 now available for free here
PLUS: A FREE Tenkara Coloring Book
As you seek some social distancing by staying at home, we are working on bringing some content for your enjoyment.
Starting now, we are putting all 3 volumes of the Tenkara Magazine here for free for you to download. We hope you enjoy the articles written for the magazine by the tenkara community. This was a project that lasted 3 seasons and we did a few years ago, but all the articles in them are truly timeless.
And, as a bonus, our designer Jeremy just finished putting together the first Tenkara Coloring Book! We hope this may be a fun activity for you and your family, or something that will entertain the kids.
We don’t release new products very often, but when we do it is because we think they need to be out there. I hope you will enjoy the offerings below.
10th Anniversary Ebisu, $175
The classic Tenkara USA rod, Ebisu, improved and released as a limited 10th anniversary edition.
Water bottles, $8/$20
Commemorative bottles, two versions available: 17oz non-insulated bottle for $8, or a 42oz insulated bottle for $20.
The 2019 Tenkara Summit, which celebrated our 10th anniversary is now behind us. It was a blast of an event. In the coming days we will try putting out more videos of the presentations, but here is a quick compilation of the event. Thank you all who came, but also all of you who couldn’t make it but have supported us over the years and have allowed us to be here today!
Today we celebrate 10 years of building Tenkara USA and sharing tenkara outside of Japan. It is an incredible milestone, and this journey has been filled with incredible experiences, milestones we never could have predicted, and a lot of hard work to accomplish all of that. And, of course we wouldn’t be here today without your support for these many years. So, THANK YOU so very much for the continue support, for sharing tenkara, for enjoying it, and for allowing us to be here today!
Little did I know that Tenkara USA would give rise to movement so passionate and that it would bring such enriching experiences into the lives of so many people. When I launched the company, I was not, as the famous fly-fishing author John Gierach wrote in one of his books, “unaware of the difficulties of introducing something small, quiet and simple to a country that likes things big, loud and complicated.” Indeed, the introduction of tenkara outside of Japan had its challenges. Starting at business in the fly-fishing industry in the midst of a Great Recession and betting all my savings into it was quite a bit scary(this was way before the launch of funding websites like Kickstarter by the way). I was also leaving a secure and promising career to pursue something I believed strongly that people should get to know. It is amazing to look back at 10 years of existence, and see how far we have come as a company. That we have not only been able to overcome challenges but create a thriving business has been quite a validation of people’s cravings for a simpler experience in the outdoors.
So much has happened in the last 10 years that I figured the best thing to post here today would be our interactive timeline, which I try as best as I can to keep updated as milestones are reached in the business (and of course, today is the last day of our 10th anniversary sale, so check that out):
The event registration is $40 and includes a catered lunch plus a bunch of great knowledge!
Date: July 27, 2019.
More details will be posted at www.tenkarausa.com/summit as we near the date, but here is what we have so far:
Location: Millenium Harvest House Hotel, Boulder, Colorado. This is the location of the Tenkara Summit a few years ago in the video below. We have a nice grassy area, presentation rooms and Boulder Creek right at the hotel.
Registration fee: $40, includes a catered lunch
Accommodations: Millennium Harvest House hotel, where the event will be held has a great discounted rate of $120/night. Reservations must be made by calling their In-House Reservation Agents directly at 866-866-8086. Please reference Reservation ID#: 1904TKFISH.
There are several other accommodation options around Boulder. You should also checkout our friends at the Adventure Lodge, which is up Boulder Canyon
Schedule: A final schedule will be posted as we get closer to the date. But the event generally starts at 9am, and consists of 2-3 morning presentations, followed by about 3-4 hours of time dedicated to lunch, vendors, clinics, short-format presentations and meeting fellow tenkara anglers, with another 2 or so presentations afterward. In the evening we will be hosting a fly-tying session, which this year will count on the very special live music of Takenobu, who provides a lot of music for our videos.
IMAGE RELEASE: THE TENKARA SUMMIT WILL BE DOCUMENTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY, VIDEO AND AUDIO. BY ATTENDING THE TENKARA SUMMIT, HOSTED BY TENKARA USA, YOU CONSENT TO IMAGES OF YOU AND YOUR LIKENESS, AS WELL AS VIDEOS OF YOU AND RECORDINGS OF YOUR VOICE TO BE USED IN ANY AND ALL MEDIA BY TENKARA LLC AND TENKARA USA FOR ANY PURPOSE AND WITHOUT COMPENSATION. YOU RELEASE TENKARA LLC. AND TENKARA USA AS WELL AS ITS MEDIA PARTNERS FROM ANY LIABILITY WHATSOEVER.
We received word that the fulfillment center we have worked with in the UK for the past 10 years to fulfill orders in the European Union is closing doors and leaving the UK.
Going forward all orders going to the UK and European Union countries will be shipped from our warehouse in the US.
Unfortunately orders will potentially be subjected to customs and duties.
For the next month or so, we will keep the shipping rate at $14.50. This is much lower than the actual shipping and handling costs that we incur on shipments to Europe, but we will work with that for the time being.