Showing posts with label Tenkara Summit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tenkara Summit. Show all posts

August 5, 2019

Colorado 2019: A Hike Through Greenback Cutthroat Country

You know when you're really looking forward to something... but kind of try to lower your mind's expectations just in case? This was the scenario for Sunday's outing in Colorado, the morning after the Tenkara Summit.

I was to meet up with Adam Klagsbrun & Chris Zimmer for a full day on the trails and waters of Rocky Mountain National Park. Adam & I had set up this outing in advance a good month out, and after two half days of fishing, I really couldn't wait to get out and about in a much larger way. 

As you'll see, I was very fortunate. Lowering those expectations was a precaution I simply did not need to take. While I think the term is greatly overused and I try to remove it from my vocabulary, "EPIC" is the only way I can describe it.

After an early morning meetup up, we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park for that aforementioned day of fishing. Our original plan was to fish the Big Thompson River as it ran along the Fern Lake Trail.

However, much like in the other spots noted in my previous Colorado outings, there was a lot of fast water everywhere. We tried a few spots, but once we saw "The Pool," Adam, (playing the role of guide), suggested that instead of messing with the high water, we either leave the trail altogether and try somewhere else, or take the trail all the way up to Fern Lake (and perhaps beyond). We chose the latter and it proved to be a good call.

The hike up the trail to Fern Lake was stunning. There were so many scenic overlooks, a few cascades and waterfalls, and the air occasionally smelled of elk (although we only saw deer). Good conversation made the travel seem to go by relatively fast (even though we did have to stop a few times so I could catch my breath). 

While my sea level lungs were on fire by the time we reached Fern Lake, once the trees parted it became an afterthought as we were greeted by some eye-popping surroundings.

It was also great to actually see the greenback cutthroat trout before we tried to fish for them (as if I needed re-assurance all that hiking wasn't going to be for naught). Looking down from a small footbridge that crossed the lake's outflow, you could easily see them holding in the current.

On to fishing!

We headed along the shoreline and all got into fish relatively quickly. It took me a little bit to get comfortable casting my tenkara rod around the trees and such, but I did get rewarded with my first cutthroat of the trip. (Which incidentally may have been my smallest of the day).

Eventually, we made it to a section of the lake that had a inflow from a small feeder creek.

There was a nice rocky shore with no overhanging trees, so we sort of made that area and its immediate banks "base camp" for a few hours. That creek must have been a primary highway of food into the lake because the fish were just stacking up in the current and ravenously feeding. We all caught more than our fair share in that particular spot. 

While I stuck with my tenkara rod, both Adam & Chris also brought ultralight spinning outfits and found much success with those as well.

At that point, it was probably around 2 PM, so we had a choice to make, keep fishing Fern Lake for a little bit more and then head back to the car, or push on up the trail to  up to Odessa Lake. Well, we got this far, so it was a no-brainer to go up to Odessa.

The trail to Odessa was arguably even prettier than the trail to Fern Lake. There were a lot of heavily wooded areas, but eventually outflow appeared and it was some beautiful water to fish.

A few fish to hand, we eventually made it to Odessa Lake and we were pretty much the only people there. Solitude in nature. Doesn't get much better than that!

Much like Fern Lake, we found a section of the lake that was being fed by a creek, actually a small waterfall.

The fishing was similar to Fern Lake. The fish were holding in one general area taking whatever was flowing down those falls. The trick was they really couldn't be reached easily from the shoreline (at least with tenkara rods). They were popping like popcorn about 60 feet out. Luckily, the lake was relatively shallow and we could easily reach them by wading in to about our knees.

For a good stretch while the sun was out and the wind was calm, I think I easily caught a dozen fish on what seemed like virtually successive casts before the bite died off a bit when cloud cover rolled in. Even after it slowed, the fishing was still phenomenal. That spot was awesome. Adam definitely caught the biggest fish, and while the photo below doesn't do it justice, let's just say it was one FAT cutthroat!

Now a little after 5 PM, it was time to call it quits. More than content with our fish counts and perhaps a bit sunburned and hungry, we headed back down the trails to the car. The hour and a half hike out was long, but effortless. We had a full day of awesome memories to recollect, both those recounted on this blog, and a few best left hiding up in the Colorado altitude. :)

I had an absolute blast fishing with Adam and Chris, (thank you guys!), it was definitely one of those experiences I'll not soon forget and hope to get to do again some day. I really couldn't have asked for a better way to close out my amazing (albeit too brief) 2019 Colorado getaway.

About my fishing partners for the day... 

Adam Klagsbrun (Klags) is an extremely knowledgeable tenkara angler. He's a student of the sport and its techniques, even visiting Japan to learn directly from the source. He's truly a great dude to spend a day with. While he's probably best known in tenkara circles for "stirring the pot" on social media in the past, when you hang with the guy in person, he's awesome. Personable, respectful, intelligent, and a fantastic "guide." He can also forage a mean mushroom. Check out some of his writings over at Of Rock & Riffle.

I've known Chris Zimmer for almost as long as I've fished tenkara. He's the brains behind the Zimmerbuilt line of ultralight outdoor bags & packs. He's always been nice to chat up at tenkara events, but I never really got to spend much time with him, as I always felt loitering at his table would get in the way of him selling gear. This outing being away from the retail side of the biz, fishing with Chris was a pleasure. He's the type of persistent angler that dials himself in and won't say no until he catches that fish. Plus, he's an absolute beast on the high-altitude incline trails.

For More Colorado 2019:

August 1, 2019

Colorado 2019: The Tenkara Summit & Breaking In The Ebisu

Saturday... What. A. Day.

After a long, but eventful day of travel and fishing on Friday, it was now time for the Tenkara Summit, presented by Tenkara USA. I think this was the fifth Summit I've attended over the years, each one being an enjoyable mix of presentations, instruction, and fishing camaraderie. This year's Summit was not only a gathering for anglers both new and experienced, but it was also marking Tenkara USA's 10th anniversary of operation. Quite the milestone for a style of fly fishing that was once called a fad!

Note: Jason Klass did a wonderful recap of the Tenkara Summit over on his Tenkara Talk blog, please check it out HERE if you want more specifics around the day's events. This post will simply share a few photos and comments from an attendee's point of view.

TJ Ferreira (L) & John Geer (R) tell stories from their years of Tenkara USA customer service.
It's funny how many different (hilarious) scenarios they've encountered...
John Geer: "Our rods are covered by acts of marmots!"   

Morgan Lyle, author of the book Simple Flies talks about how easy
to tie flies can be incredibly effective when it comes to catching fish.

A panel discussion with (L to R):
Morgan Lyle, Jason Klass, Tenkara USA Founder Daniel Galhardo, Bart Lombardo

There were many vendors in attendance with unique wares to be had.
I picked up a wooden line spool / fly patch from craftsman Dave Burchett.

There was a break for lunch, lawn casting, and fly tying.
My friend Brian Lindsay put on a display of his advanced casting style...

...while Daniel Galhardo provided rod rigging and casting advice to a group of new anglers...

...which then moved to Boulder Creek, that conveniently runs right behind the host hotel!

A few eager anglers even snuck away to try out their rods.

Back inside, Lou DiGena tied some Ishigaki kebari using a unique purple hackle.

Graham Moran crafted his orange, blue, and white Broncos kebari.
I made sure he knew an Eagles green, black, and white version would catch more fish!

The afternoon session's highlight was a half hour screening of The Manzanar Fishing Club.
Director Cory Shiozaki and Writer Richard Imamura provide context to the WWII Japanese internment.

To commemorate their 10th Anniversary, Tenkara USA
revealed their new rod, an re-issue of the cult-favorite Ebisu.

Which I promptly took up to Boulder Canyon following the afternoon session to break in.

The water was a little fast; but I ended up catching 2 on kebari
and 3 on beadhead nymphs in about an hour and a half.

 A quick drive back down the canyon to town to hit the Summit's evening session.

Where there was a night of fly tying and music!
Tyers Marshall Houston (L) & Dennis Vander Houwen (R) exchange stories.

Joe Egry is an amazingly imaginative tyer.

Mark Bolson (L) looks on as John Sachen (R) displays patterns. 

Takenobu provided the musical backdrop.
Anybody who has ever watched a Tenkara USA video on YouTube has probably heard Takenobu.

Last but not least, I wanted to thank Daniel Galhardo & Tenkara USA for naming me one of their "crazy dancer" ambassadors. It was a very unexpected and humbling honor.

In looking back at the past decade of tenkara, it has certainly been an adventure. Without Daniel bringing the telescoping rods & techniques to the U.S. through this original video, who knows what direction my fishing life might have taken. Tenkara has transported me to so many different places across the country, introduced me to hundreds of new friends, all while making me a much more efficient and educated angler. Perhaps that's what made it so easy (and me so eager) to share with everyone through word of mouth, this blog, and Tenkara Angler magazine. No matter the reason, I'm extremely excited to see what the next 10 years (and beyond) of tenkara might bring!