Backcountry Tenkara near RMNP • Fall 2022

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Home Forums Campfire Member Trip Reports Backcountry Tenkara near RMNP • Fall 2022

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    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Companion forum thread to: Backcountry Tenkara near RMNP • Fall 2022

    There is magic at the end of the road…

    David Noll
    BPL Member


    Locale: Maroon Bells

    Ryan, very nice. Not much is being written about Tenkara on this forum anymore. Thanks.

    BPL Member


    I love those pines behind you in that first picture!

    Scott Cerreta
    BPL Member


    Thanks for sharing the post. I just discovered this type of fishing this year. I still enjoy the pleasure of a spinning rig and have been trying to find the lightest option, but could not resist the tempation to try something new. I added a Tenkara extension to a Ruta Locura trakking pole and some Tenkara line with their keeper and a dozen flies. Everything wieghed in around a 1/2 pound and it was so fun and fast/small to pack. I’m hooked. I did not have any luck catching fish with this rig at Bright Angel Campground and the Colorodo river, but I can’t wait for the next adventure.

    Bryan Taylor
    BPL Member


    Thanks for sharing your fishing with us, Ryan. It’s a good reminder that it’s not the miles you cover, but the quality of the adventures you have that count. The more ways we can experience the beauties of the wilderness, the richer we will be.

    I haven’t yet tried Tenkara, but I’ve been considering the rod you listed: the Tenryu TF39TA. I’m curious how you would compare it to the Tenkara USA rods and how much value it adds to the experience. And do you find that you use the zoom length or would a fixed length rod of similar quality be all you need?

    Regarding the lack of lightweight nets available, what are the drawbacks of simply fishing without a net?

    If you decide to go farther in playing Jacques Cousteau, you may be interested in a woman who pioneered underwater videography in hundreds of inland lakes and rivers. At the age of 90, Nancy Washburn just passed away this year. but you can see some of her work at I was inspired by her to start taking snorkeling gear on some of my trips, which opened up a whole new way to explore the backcountry.

    W I S N E R !


    (who incidentally once said that just because fish are cold-blooded does not mean they do not feel pain, and that recreational fishermen only say so to reassure their conscience).

    Caveat: I do think about this. My conscience is not reassured. But I also remain grateful when they slither out of my hand back into their deep.

    These are the most interesting statements of the article, especially when combined with the exploration of underwater imaging. I often wonder if catch and release is potentially the most cruel/strange way to interact with animals, more so than taking life for food. Intelligent public discussion on the topic would be interesting, but at the end of the day, maybe there’s not much to discuss… as it all hinges on whether an individual (myself included) is willing to seriously entertain/live by certain concepts- or not.

    But I also wonder if underwater video/photography offers the potential to “catch” trout without actually harming them. Perhaps a culture could be created in which a premium is placed on an image of a brook trout swimming in its natural environment as opposed to the traditional fish-in-hand, “look what I caught!” trophy shot (which I am also guilty of).

    I enjoyed your video.

    Dan M
    BPL Member


    @ Brian Taylor – the main advantage of using a net is that it’s much easier on the fish, especially if you use barbless hooks. Unless you need the fish for dinner, net the fish as soon as possible, keep it underwater, follow the tippet to the hook with your hand, pinch and lift the hook at an angle and the fish will often flip off into the net.  Lower the edge of the net in the water and the fish swims free. If necessary, face the fish in your net upstream for a bit until it recovers and then release it.

    On the “light” net issue, I’ve had good luck just using a “replacement” rubber net (no frame) and then collecting a forked stick near the lake or stream and slipping the forks through some of the net loops. The fish in these small streams aren’t often lunkers so it’s worked fine. It also packs down pretty small.

    Great video Ryan!

    Ryan Jordan


    Locale: Central Rockies

    Bryan – I like the flexibility of a zoom rod for general use on streams. The less you have to move around to reach fish, the less likely you’ll spook them. I find myself staying in one spot to fish several different lies and that’s where a zoom rod comes in handy. I use it most when fixed-line nymphing (Czech style), the zoom makes it easy to reach different lies and keep the line tight.

    In addition, for backcountry use, being able to have a short rod for creeks and a long rod for lakes and rivers offers nice versatility.

    The Tenryu TA39 series rods have quite a lot of fiberglass in them, which means they load better when casting. That’s a really nice feature if you use level lines that have virtually no weight to them. The line can’t load the rod, only the cast can, and fiberglass allows you to feel that loading more than pure carbon without having to watch the rod tip.

    Mark Jones
    BPL Member


    Locale: The Back of Beyond

    Ryan, it is interesting to see your catch of tiger trout. My daughter and I caught some tiger trout in the Wind River Range this year. It was a surprise. Neither of us had seen them prior to that encounter. They are bizarre-looking creatures, quite ugly compared to a brook trout, cutthroat trout, or brown trout. I suspect that they may have been introduced as we caught them from a lake within three miles of a major trailhead on the last day of our eight-day backcountry hike. Thank you for the post.

    Greg Pehrson
    BPL Member


    Locale: playa del caballo blanco

    Wisner, I appreciate your comment above. I am not a hunter (nor a meat eater) yet I love listening to Seek Outside’s podcasts because of the frequently beautiful descriptions of being immersed in nature on a hunt, watching the behaviors of animals for hours “while the sun glints off the dew on the aspens,” as went one episode. When I first learned to bushwhack here in New England in the White Mountains, after having been an on-trail hiker, it was like discovering backpacking for the first time again, in a brand new way of interacting with the landscape. The forest here is so dense, bushwhacking is a full body experience where your line of sight is hyper localized, you get branches stuck in your pack pockets and you rip your pants as you pull yourself up the slope through the trees. Sometimes you can find game trails for a little relief. But the movement of hunters through the landscape sounds to me to be even more deeply connected, as your path is guided by wildlife instead of a summit. I’ve often thought that I’d enjoy going on an unsuccessful hunt because everything about it is attractive to me except the taking of an animal, but it’s kind of a funny ask to make of hunters. To be clear, while I don’t hunt, I respect those who get their food this way instead of outsourcing it, and some of my earliest memories are of my grandfather teaching me to fish and tasting his venison stew at the cabin he built himself in Canada.

    Thanks for the video, Ryan. Very well done.

    Andy McReynolds
    BPL Member


    I have never seen a trout like the #5 picture. Very interesting, thanks for sharing!

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