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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Foot Tractor Wading Boot as they call it is the most secure boot I’ve ever waded in and my old Simms boots were literally maxed out with studs. The bottom aluminum bars seem to cut through any and all slime and make every single step feel rock solid. The boots are amazingly light for as big as they appear and actually have pretty good feel to the fact you are walking on metal plates. The only thing that didn’t feel as secure as my sandals was boulder hopping but with these boots I’m so secure in the water that I don’t need to boulder hop as much (though I enjoy boulder hopping a lot.)
Tho boots have good drainage panels in the side and a nice eyelet for hooking up gravel guards. The tongue is very soft and padded and the laces are just the right length and feel secure. I am really happy with these boots.
The Skeena Wader is their mid-range wader and seems adequate given I do over half my fishing without waders. They are made with the Patagonia H2No fabric which I have on several Patagonia jackets and absolutely love. The waders feel really light and water just sheds off them as soon as you get out of the river, they are almost dry by the time you do a short walk back to the car. The built in gravel guards are nice as is the wading belt. The suspender system is a bit different and took some getting used to adjusting it but once I got it adjusted it seems fine. I like the waterproof inside pocket so I can stop putting my keys in a waterproof bag around my neck.
Next week I’ll see how all this handles the Deschutes which is one of the tougher to wade rivers around but given how secure I’ve felt in the Middle Fork and Tolt this week I think I’ll be just fine on the Deschutes. I’d highly recommend these boots especially to anyone that has very slippery wading conditions and/or has compromised feeling in their feet.