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.
Our main broad recommendation for a tenkara rod still stands here, as it always does: get the longest tenkara rod you can for the waters you will fish the most. A long tenkara rod will allow the ability to present a fly well to fish holding in seams on the other side of currents that could potentially drag a line that falls on them. But, of course, the environment around you can limit the size of rod you will comfortably use, so that’s a consideration.
Our main recommendation for a tenkara rod for Boulder and the Colorado Front Range
Because the variety of waters here is so great, our most popular rod and main recommendation for a tenkara rod to use around Boulder as well as most anglers fishing around the Front Range of Colorado is the Sato, our best-selling rod and likely the best-selling tenkara rod ever made. The Sato is an adjustable tenkara rod that can be fished at 3 lengths: 10 feet and 8 inches, 11 feet and 10 inches, or 12 feet and 9 inches. Whereas a 12 foot tenkara rod is considered to be a good average length, any tenkara rod under 11 feet will be considered short, and those approaching or passing 13 feet are thought of as long tenkara rods. So, the Sato provides the versatility in its broad range.
When shorter, it is appropriate to fish the small mountain streams of the Indian Peaks Wilderness where trees can limit movement. When the angler finds him or herself in an alpine lake, or in an area with more room and broader waters the longer length will be adequate, such as in this photo in Rocky Mountain National Park, where the longer length allows for great presentations in those hard to reach pockets of waters.
The Sato is a tenkara rod that travels well between a variety of waters. It is an easy recommendation for our area.
We can also expand our recommendations for other tenkara rods that can feel at home around here too based waters you may choose to fish most often. As mentioned, to the West we have the mountains which will give us anything from big broad rivers to small canopy covered streams.
Keeping in mind that any tenkara rod can be used in a huge variety of situations, and we are attempting to give tips for the ideal rod here, just know that whichever tenkara rod you choose you will be able to fish with it in any type of water. You may miss the reach provided by long rods occasionally if you choose a shorter one, or you may have to adapt your technique slightly when fishing a long rod in a smaller stream, but they can all be fished in several places.
Other good options if you feel you like to spend time in a particular kind of environment –
1) The Ito, the longest tenkara rod in our line up: the Ito is an adjustable tenkara rod that can be fished at 13 feet or 14 feet and 9 inches. This happens to be my favorite tenkara rod here in Boulder, and what you will find in my hands the majority of the time. With the Ito I can fish the smallish but open streams of Boulder Creek and South Boulder Creek. I can travel to the big rivers of Colorado’s mountain range such as the Colorado River, the Arkansas river, or the South Platte and will greatly enjoy the reach and the fish-fighting capabilities of the Ito. I have also caught carp and bass with it on the canals and lakes/ponds around Boulder with this rod. And, if I find myself up high in some of the headwaters, I can always fish it at the shortest length while also holding the rod above the handle segment to fish it shorter. I get it though, the Ito’s long length can be intimidating as a first tenkara rod for most anglers. Thus, it is not our main recommendation mentioned above. But it is a superb tenkara rod for here, one that I love recommending especially for people that have a bit of experience with tenkara.
2) The Hane, Tenkara USA’s adventure tenkara rod: the Hane is our most portable tenkara rod. It collapses down to 15 inches, which means it will fit in a small day pack, or even in place of a bicycle pump if you’re bikefishing. It extends to 10 feet and 10 inches in length, which makes it a short tenkara rod but appropriate for many waters around here, but especially appropriate if you spend most of your time either going on adventures, or fishing the small streams in the higher mountains. The main reason to recommend the Hane here: Boulder, and the Front Range have an avid adventurous crowd. People will head into the mountains with their mountain bikes, or go climbing the crags around Boulder which likely will have a beautiful stream full of trout running below the rock; or they will go backpacking, or foraging, or…you get the idea. The Hane is a great all around adventure tenkara rod that is easy to bring with you everywhere you go.