This past Saturday I joined colleagues, old friends, and about two hundred potential new friends to clean up Boulder Creek. The crackle of the velcro on my safety vest alerted me that it was “go time.”
Daniel Galhardo and I proudly led a group of volunteers up to the Eben G. Fine Kayak Park near the mouth of Boulder Canyon. This is one of two areas adopted by Tenkara USA (our other location is just a few miles upstream).
As Boulder Creek sees a lot of action, our part in tidying it up is essential. Aside from friendly fisherman it is also frequented by wildlife, quick dippers, rope swing enthusiasts, inner tube travelers (our town boasts a 9-year running “Tube to Work Day”), and as the park name suggests, kayakers. What does this all mean? The possibilities of what we could find were endless.
What comes to mind are those large bins you have to dig through at those post holiday sales, or stealthily navigating a garage sale for that long forgotten treasure. On this particular adventure there were finds a-plenty, including bed springs, and this “like new” bike frame. Oooh, ahh. And though I was not looking for it I found loads and loads of poison ivy (I wasn’t aware of it until the following day). Surprise!
Overall it was a fantastic day with great vibes, and awesome after party at Rocky Mountain Anglers. If asked for any take-home advice, I’d say “Be careful where you step”.
A while ago we wrote about how the state of Washington still considers tenkara “illegal” in fly-fishing only waters. Tim Harris of the blog Northwest Tenkara has been the main driving force to get tenkara legitimized in the regulations for the state by actually including the term “tenkara” in their regs.
It’s super easy to give your input in the form of a public comment. Just visit this link and enter a few words for why tenkara should be allowed in fly-fishing-only waters. I just commented and it took me only a minute to do.
THANK YOU for helping legalize tenkara in Washington.
I spend a lot of time in streams of different types. My favorite thing about stream fishing is all the curves they present, that makes it so that every few steps there will be a different view. Yet, I admit, I don’t think I ever wondered “why do rivers bend rather than go straight?” Yesterday I ran across this cool little video that answers the question I never asked but probably always wanted to know.
Trout Unlimited (TU) is an organization we have supported from our inception. Their mission is “to conserve, protect and restore North America’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.” For over 5 years we have continued supporting them with almost our entire 1% for the Planet commitment going to them. And, there are some superb changes happening at TU that will help spread their mission word widely. They just re-faced their website, and also just hired someone to be in charge of their video story-telling campaign (I had the pleasure of meeting him the other day and I know he will do wonders for the awareness of Trout Unlimited). These are important elements when one is trying to tell a story effectively.
The latest campaign they released is the “Ten Special Places”, which “looks at places where expanding natural gas drilling operations in the East could pose risks to fishing and hunting opportunities, and offers recommendations on what sportsmen and women can do to promote responsible energy development and ensure the protection of these areas.”
One of these places is the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests, in the central Appalachian Mountains. That’s where we held our 2013 Tenkara Summit and it’s home to some beautiful brook trout. They made a beautiful video of the area and the challenges it faces. And, we’re happy they featured tenkara in it!
You, tenkara anglers, have just adopted a highway!
If you’re anywhere near Boulder, Colorado, drive up Boulder Canyon. On mile 37 going upstream, and mile 35 going downstream (just about 6 miles into the Canyon), you’ll now see this sign. If you see it, stop by, take a picture and share it with us here, on Twitter or Facebook with the tag #TenkaraHighway.
After more than two months of attending a fly-fishing show nearly everywhere weekend, I have decided to go on a long-overdue vacation. Since moving inland to Colorado and becoming landlocked, once in a while I have missed the ocean, more specifically I have missed surfing, a sport I have enjoyed since I was 7. Don’t get me wrong, I chose to move and be closer to mountains, and I absolutely love living there. But how nice would it be if I could not only tenkara and climb when I want to, but also surf without having to fly to Nicaragua?
So, when I saw this video the other day, with Will Farrell and surf champion Kelly Slater advocating to move the ocean I couldn’t help but dream a little. And, laugh quite a bit.
But this is also a very serious message and I thought it should be shared here. The Colorado river no longer flows to its delta and the ocean. That is a very serious issue for the wildlife as well as the people who live downstream on it and no longer get much water. Checkout http://raisetheriver.org
The non-profit organization Wild Trout Trust is holding an auction with some items that may be of interest to the tenkara angler. The auction will be happening from March 4-13 via Ebay, so international bidders and supporters of their organization can easily participate. Tenkara USA is a staunch supporter of the Wild Trout Trust.
From their site: “The annual auction is the most important fundraising event for us. It raises vital funds which we use to deliver practical advice and habitat work, inspiring and helping people to protect wild trout. Click here to see how we use the funds raised in the auction.”
Below are a couple of items that were donated by Dr. Ishigaki for the auction.
When I caught this trout three years ago I was ecstatic. It was my first visit to Colorado. I had heard they had a very exquisite trout that was native to the state and could only be found on a few streams and lakes here. It was the greenback cutthroat. So I went looking for them. I found a stream that was known to have them and must have caught 20+ “greenbacks”. It felt good to know there was a thriving population of those fish. They were gorgeous; and, to me they served as a physical reminder of one reason Tenkara USA exists, which is to help care for environments where trout are found.
Lo and behold it turned out these were not actually greenback cutthroat as I and everyone else thought at the time. Through recent genetic testing it was discovered that the trout I caught on that trip were actually West Slope Cutthroats, a fish that, to the naked eye is actually identical to the greenbacks (which is why it took so long to discover this).
The fact they were not greenbacks did not diminish my memories nor the beauty of these fish. But, what I later discovered alarmed me a bit: there are only about 750 pure greenback cutthroat left in the world! And, they can only be found on Bear Creek, which has been called a “pity of a stream” due to the real threats it faces with erosion-prone soil, poor trails, and real human threats.
I would like to ask you for your help in protecting these 750 fish left in the wild. An Indiegogo campaign was just launched with the aim of raising money to work directly on protecting these fish. Tenkara USA has taken particular interest in this cause because it is a fish native to our new home of Colorado, but this should not mean that if you don’t live in Colorado you shouldn’t help. This project is being undertaken by a Trout Unlimited group called The Greenbacks, but I think it serves as a great example of the things that can be accomplished in protecting fish and fish habitat anywhere. It is the type of project that serves to inspire groups in other parts of the country and could be a model to future fish habitat and protection projects.
Please visit the 1of750.com website for more info and check out the Indiegogo campaign to pledge some money. You can get a Tenkara USA set (I’ll be changing my donation from the Iwana that is advertised to any Tenkara USA rod, including a new one that will be released soon); a Vedavoo pack with the Greenback patch, or a trip with me.
What? Daniel was seen using a non-tenkara fly today? A parachute adams?
Yes, I was seen using a parachute adams fly on my tenkara rod today…actually, I believe nobody actually saw me using it. Here’s what happened.
I went fishing with my friends Dan and Graham today. We heard there were possibly some grayling in the area and decided to find them. Upon arrival at our destination I setup my tenkara rod with a long tenkara line, and kept the tenkara fly from the last trip tied on. Almost immediately I had a beautiful brook trout on. Within an hour I had probably caught 20 brook trout on that one fly, until I lost the fly to a tree.
Reduce: Over the last three years I have greatly reduced the number of fly patterns I feel I need. In fact, it’s now essentially one pattern with 4 variations (the four tenkara flies that we offer on our site, well, one is out of stock). And, since tenkara has helped me stay away from trees more often than I used to, I feel that I have also reduced the number of flies I lose while fishing. And, of course, I reduced the amount of time changing flies, the amount of tippet bits I lose when changing them, and my consumption of materials used in tying flies.
But of course, I still lose the occasional fly. Today’s stream was relatively tight with lots of trees behind me and the inevitable happened when I got caught on a branch and the fly wouldn’t come free. I collapsed the rod, plugged it with my thumb and pulled the line to break the fly off. Then, off the corner of my eye I spotted a section of tippet material on a branch. (As I always do to prevent animals from getting caught) I decided to retrieve the tippet. And, then I noticed there there was a fly at the end of it. Often the flies I find hanging on trees are badly rusted, but this one wasn’t too bad. And, there were 3ft of slightly faded tippet along with it. Maybe all the flies hanging from the trees could allow me to reduce how many flies I take with me even more.
Reuse: Instinctively I went to put the tippet and fly on my pocket, but then I had this thought. Why not just use it? I mean, I just lost my fly and would have to replace it anyway. I’m not a “tenkara-fly-purist” (as some may think) – my philosophy is simply that the fly doesn’t really matter that much and just about any fly will work. While I typically I opt for the simple tenkara flies, which I find to be more versatile and quickest to tie, the time-proven parachute adams was certainly not below me. The tippet wasn’t too bad, a bit thinner than I like, and a bit faded, but there were no knots on it and it would save me from getting more tippet out.
I tied my “one knot” on the tippet and connected it to my tenkara level line. That’s when the title of this post came to mind: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
This was the first time in 3 years that I used a parachute adams. The fly was so easy to spot, with the bright white post, I almost felt that I was cheating a bit. But, it is not about rules, it’s about enjoying the fishing, learning and when possible conserving. On my second cast I connected with a rainbow trout, only rainbow of the day. And, then a brook trout and another one, and another one, and then a take that was stronger and perhaps faster than any I had experienced until then.
I had all but forgotten about the grayling by then. I watched the parachute adams drifting downstream into the calm pocket below me. The natural drift of the fly filled me with anticipation. This pocket of water was slightly calmer and bigger than most I had fished today; it had to hold a good fish.
The take, as I mentioned, was fast and strong, and the strong fight greatly reminded me of the grayling I caught in Alaska a few weeks ago. As I got the fish closer to the surface, it shone brighter than any of the brookies I had caught, and it was more slender than the rainbow. This had to be a grayling.
After the fight I was thrilled to hold another grayling in my hand and snap a quick photo of it to share with you. This marked a sort of Grand-slam today, which was pretty cool especially since it was a grand-slam on a fly and tippet that I found hanging from a tree. In total I caught 8 fish on that fly and section of tippet. The grayling was released to continue its life-cycle.
Recycle: I could have stopped at reuse but it wouldn’t sound as catchy, would it? So I’ll just point out that flies don’t have to be the disposable items we often think of. You can read this post on “Recycling fly tying hooks” to see what I’m talking about.
Have you found ways to reduce your fly load? Ever reused a fly found on the trees? Or, spent a bit of time recycling fly tying hooks?