Welcome to Northwest Tenkara, your source for all things tenkara in the Pacific Northwest.  You can browse the site to get information on Kebari Tying, Tenkara Resources  or visit my Northwest specific Blog with posts on locations, techniques and general trip reports.

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Our first chukar

Last week Lira and I were out pheasant hunting when she went on point and a small bird flew up.  I figured it was a quail since she’d pointed a few quail this year and I knew there were quail in the area at times so I shot.  When she was carrying the bird back I realized she’d just pointed her first chukar and it was the first one I’d shot.   I plucked the bird to roast it for dinner, which was one of the best game birds we’ve eaten, I highly recommend them.   I stuck all the feathers in a ziploc and today finally got around to looking at them and decided to tie some flies and see how they looked.   Thus the birth of the Chukar Kebari.


I decided to go with burnt orange thread for the fly in honor of the chukar’s orange beak and legs.  For the body I used muskrat which has a gray to tan coloration exactly like the chukar.  The hackle is a chukar flank feather tied in traditional reverse hackle style.   I’m pretty happy with the fly, I think it will be a winner next season.    If I can get a few more chukar before the season ends I may make this my fly for next season and see how it goes.  If not,  I have plenty of pheasants for my usual GRHE Kebari.   I love being able to tie all my tenkara flies from birds that my dog has found and I have shot.



I received my copy of Daniel Galhardo’s tenkara:the book last week and was surprised to open it up to find I got copy 18/200 from the Kickstarter campaign with a nice personalized inscription on the cover page.  I then set about reading it since, at the moment, I have been unable to get out fishing due to weather.   Finally, a book about tenkara the way tenkara was meant to be fished, not a book about fly fishing with a tenkara rod.

First, the book is absolutely beautiful.  High quality paper, great photography, and even better illustrations.  I love the illustrations in the Learning Tenkara section that combine line art with photographs, hats off to Jeremy Shellhorn who was the designer and illustrator for the book.   Secondly, I love the fact that you can read the first 7 pages (plus see a few photo pages) and really get the bulk of what you need to know to get out and fish tenkara.  These pages are basically a higher quality rendition of the materials that come with TenkaraUSA rods showing you the basics of fishing tenkara.   Third, I like the QR Codes scattered throughout the book that you can scan and go see material on the TenkaraUSA site that adds depth to the topic at hand.

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IMG_0581A few weeks ago I bought my first set of camo in preparation for a spring turkey hunt and I started thinking that this could be a good addition to tenkara fishing.   I typically wear a sky blue SPF 50 sun shirt during warm weather season thinking that probably blends in well even though I’m not standing on a flats boat chasing bonefish against the tropical blue sky.   With tenkara, especially here in the PNW,  I’m often surrounded by trees as a backdrop and that sky blue shirt could indeed stick out like a big blue flag amongst the trees.    So this year I’m going to try something different and go with camo, we’ll see if it makes any difference.

I ended up going with First Lite camo since they use merino wool on most of their layers from base layer up to a heavy outer layer and with wool you stay warm when it gets cold and you stay amazingly cool when it gets warm.   I run a lot in wool tops and love them for their ability to regulate temperature and keep you warm even if it starts raining a cold nasty rain on me.    I decided to try their new Fusion pattern, it looks like it should do the trick with turkeys and deer and actually has quite a bit of science behind it.

At least today for my first trip out it was perfect since the long sleeve mid-weight merino wool top was plenty warm enough.   No fish today but the water was still high and cold but things are falling into shape, we just had a decent day and I had to get out and it sure felt good to be back on the water after months of really high water.  I  was wearing the same top a few weeks ago on the Yakima and caught trout almost at my feet so maybe it does indeed work.   We will see as the season progresses.



Four dozen GRHE Sakara Kebari


Our fall season came to an abrupt halt in the PNW this year as our year long drought was quickly replaced by flooding and far too much water.  What is a fisherman to do?  I’ve done a bit of steelhead fishing on lower water days but they seem to last about one day before the next flood hits so mostly I’ve been tying for next season.

Lots of kebari materials here

Lots of kebari materials here

This year I’m again sticking to my GRHE Sakasa Kebari but with a twist – I’m only using feathers from birds I have personally shot.   Luckily in Western Washington Pheasant Release areas one is able to kill hen pheasants as well as roosters.  The hen is my material of choice for this kebari.  I managed  4 hens this season along with about  a 16 roosters from Eastern Washington hunts so I have plenty of tying material as well as dinners.   There will be more hunting over the mountains before that season ends.   Now I need to find some rabbits so I can cover the body of the fly too.


I think that tenkara season is over for the most part at this point, I may get in a few more days but I’m betting this colder weather and the recent rains have shut down the Middle Fork by now.   Given the drought conditions we had all summer I’m amazed to look back at my statistics and see that I fished a LOT.  So far this season as a whole I’ve been out fly fishing 131 days and 80 of those were days spent with tenkara.    I fished one fly all season, my GRHE Sakasa Kebari, with one exception up at a high lake where the trout were on midges and I used a small #18 black Takayma Midge Kebari instead.   I think I only got skunked a few days early into the season but otherwise caught or at least played fish each outing.

Best tenkara fish – an 18-19″ rainbow out of Freestone Lake.  I also got a Tiger of about 17-18″ from that lake on the same day, the Amago came in handy that day.  Mostly I fished my Sato or Rhodo all season except on Freestone Lake and one day on the Yakima where I used the Amago.   Location wise, the Middle Fork was my river of choice this year given it usually had water, followed by the Tolt which ran the closest to normal of any river around, I spent very little time on the South and North Forks.   I also did some tenkara while backpacking this season which was great, it is what got me started in tenkara in the first place.   Here are my stats for the year:

Middle Fork         38 days
Tolt                21 days
South Fork           6 days
Rattlesnake Lake     5 days
Freestone Lake       3 days
Ohanapecosh          2 days
Other alpine streams 2 days
Alpine lakes         2 days
North Fork           1 day