Tenkara on the Elk River, CO

Elk River

This past August on a trip to Colorado I fished the Elk River, a tributary to the Yampa.  I was impressed with the river. Colorado just seems to be a place where the trout fishing is endless.  Sure, you hear about the big name rivers, but they can get crowded, however if you head a little off the beaten path you can fish alone.  I’m not even talking about, hiking it in, just head to some of those places that you don’t read about in all the magazines. The Elk is a clear and beautiful freestone river. It tumbles along over cobbles and boulders with a nice gradient, creating beautiful pools and pockets on the way.  But be aware – the wading is tough, don’t forget the wading staff.   Those smooth, round rocks can be tough to navigate.

The fishing was outstanding.   Brooks, browns and cuts (and even some huge whitefish) were much in evidence.  And best of all, there was no reason to fish underneath, fish rose readily to big stimulators.  On this trip to Colorado I fished almost exclusively dries – not because I’m a dry-fly snob, but just because there’s nothing like it. When there’s enough room to roam a little, hiking along, casting big attractors is just too much fun. Would you catch more fishing deep? Maybe, but I just don’t enjoy that as much these days (of course I will if I have to).

I fished a new tenkara rod that my buddy brought all the way from Japan (it’s a Kenpo SE 360). It served me well on the Elk, landing fish on a Tenkara rod is much easier than you would imagine. The limber rod protects light tippets very well. I fished a 12-ft line with about 4-ft of tippet on the 12-ft rod. This made it just a little tricky to net the fish, ideally a long handled net would make it a bit easier, but all of the long handled nets I’ve found so far are just way too big.  If you have any net suggestions send them my way.

Elk River

4 Comments on Tenkara on the Elk River, CO

  1. Awesome. Looks like another river on my to-do list for Tenkara. Do you have more infor or pix of the “import”?
    Tight Lines, -K

    • Hey K,

      It’s a nice river to fish, nice and open for Tenkara. I’d heard that access was difficult – but there was plenty of open water. Also, if you’re in that area and you want a shot at some large bows and browns, check out the Stagecoach tailwater section of the Yampa (perhaps not the best for Tenkara, many fish may be beyond the Tenkara limit, size-wise). Stagecoach can get crowded, but it’s fun to spend a morning sight-fishing to those monster fish.

      I’ll get some pics up of the imported Tenkara soon.

      Best Regards

  2. Im going to turn down the handle of my old short handled wood trout net and affix it in to a piece of 2 inch bamboo pole. That way i can use it for a wading stick at the same time. I will also affix something to the other end to make it quieter in water and stop any splitting. This will now give me length and help to get fish in with Tenkara Ayu rod. This is still a project in the making,but i think it will work.

what say you?