Category Archives: General

The joys of a backyard river

IMG_4692Early this spring my wife and I moved from our home in the forest to a small home on a  river, something I’d always wanted to do.   Granted, this isn’t some famous trout river and it is currently a very small river but it is still a river and we have a few hundred feet open of waterfront on it with a trail system that lets me access a good mile of water easily.

All spring I sat and watched the river go up and down with the rains, ranging from just over 800 cfs and a big brown mess to looking absolutely perfect with flows around 60-75 cfs.  All that was before the river opened for fishing.  By the time June rolled around and the river opened it was low and clear, running about 25-30 cfs which seemed really low to me until now when it is at about 11-15 cfs most days.   I can just about cross the river now without getting wet above the ankles in my yard if I’m careful about it.

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Help the Middle Fork

Middle Fork at Pratt Confluence

Middle Fork at Pratt Confluence

Those of you who have driven up the Middle Fork road to fish know that the road needs some serious work.  Each year it seems to get a bit worse with washboarded sections, huge ruts and potholes that could swallow a Mini.   The road was bad enough last season that I only drove all the way to the Middle Fork trailhead one day and I drive a Subaru that is made for these types of bad roads.

Well, now you can help.  I just read an article in the Snoqualmie Valley Record (one advantage of living in the valley now) about the projects going on along the Middle Fork.   Multiple recreation and conservation organizations have banded together and started a crowd-funding campaign to raise money for work on the road and trails up the Middle Fork.  You can access it on Indiegogo here.

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Save a native, eat a brookie

brookiesWhen I was talking with the WDFW commissioners about allowing tenkara in the state’s Fly Fishing Only waters another idea came up in the conversation – promoting the taking of brook trout in order to help native trout species.    I know what you are thinking – but I only practice catch & release, right?  Well, I too am guilty of practicing C&R maybe to the detriment of our native cutthroat and rainbow trout.   In the last two decades I’ve probably only killed a handful of steelhead (hatchery fish of course), some pink salmon and maybe a dozen or so brook trout while out on a  backpacking trip.  This year I’m planning on getting a bit more liberal in eating brook trout and tenkara is the perfect way to catch them.

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Dream Trout

Tenkara Dreaming

Tenkara Dreamin

As some of the locals I fish with know, I’ve been dealing with a pretty nasty illness for the last few months that has had me pretty much down for the count.  My plan for the year was to start guiding and doing instruction in April but now between being sick and moving that is on hold at least for a few months.   I haven’t been able to get out much and there were a few nice days where I really wanted to get out and fish but was just unable to get out of the house.   Now the rivers are all high from the recent deluge of rains so I guess it isn’t a bad time to be housebound.

As part of this whole mess I was having a lot of trouble sleeping at nights, it seemed like my gut would just progressively get worse as  the day went on and by the time I was ready for bed it was like the Alien baby had begun trying to poke its way through my abdomen.  Needless to say, it is hard to fall asleep with that sensation going on.   I finally began visiting my favorite tenkara spots in my mind, feeling the cool water on my legs, breathing the fresh air in my lungs and imagining fishing through my favorite runs on the local rivers where I spend so much time.   Next month I’m moving onto one of these rivers and I imagined fishing the run in my backyard with the grandchildren, teaching them the ways of tenkara there.   This dream fishing would help relax me and ultimately I’d fall asleep thinking of all the tenkara fishing still to be done once I’m recovered.

Lynnwood Fly Fishing Show 2014

The TenkaraUSA booth at the show

The TenkaraUSA booth at the show

Last year I discovered tenkara at the Fly Fishing Show, watching Daniel do his casting presentation and then talking to the crew at the booth afterwards.   I went home and ordered my first tenkara rod, an 11′ Iwana which I figured was perfect for the small rivers in the area.  The first time I fished it I was hooked and never went back.

This year the show again was in Lynnwood at the Convention Center and I showed up at 9 a.m. just as it was opening on Saturday morning.  On my drive up another CrossTrek pulled up next to me and was hovering by my side in the lane to my left, I finally looked over, it was Lex on his way to the show too.   Once there we ran into some Orvis shop workers and hit the show after fighting with the kind of poor tablet interface to enter your raffle number.

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Will Tenkara become Legal in WA FFOnly Waters?

The Department of Fish & Wildlife commission met on Friday to discuss my petition to allow Tenkara in FFOnly waters in Washington State.  You can hear the commissioner discussion one of two ways:

My summary of the discussion is that they don’t want to take action now but want to move the issue to the normal rule making process which takes place in the summer.   One commissioner thought that tenkara would be approved in FFOnly waters during the normal rule making process which is encouraging though another cautioned against making any judgement as to what would happen during the recreational rule making process.  The general rule making process will allow public comment so it will be important that we get together and make comments at that time.  I’ll be posting reminders on my blog, Twitter and Facebook.    Here is the official summary statement from DFW which took forever to come up with those two summary statements.

What’s New for 2014?

Northwest Tenkara Sticker

Northwest Tenkara Sticker

I’ve  been a bit quiet for a while now, in part because it is too cold to fish and in part because I’ve been busy making Northwest Tenkara a real entity and have recently formed Northwest Tenkara, LLC.  Expect a change in the site and the addition of guide/instruction services by the time fishing season kicks into gear in the Cascade foothills and eastside streams.

Last year I had a lot of fun teaching some friends, and a few kids, how to fish tenkara and had several other people ask about instruction or guiding so I decided to go for it and give it a shot this season.  I plan to carry all TenkaraUSA rods so that people can try them out if they want to help select gear to buy and I hope to be able to pass on my love of tenkara to others this coming season.

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Legalize It

No, not that it, we already did that in Washington.   So while I could legally get high if so inclined I can’t legally fish my tenkara rod on Rocky Ford.   I decided to take action and petition the state to change their Fly Fishing Only regulations to allow tenkara.   Last month I filled out the petition form and sent a letter to WDFW concerning this issue:

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In Washington, Tenkara != Fly Fishing

protestLast week after reading a blog post on TenkaraBum I asked a question I’d never even considered before – Is Tenkara Legal?   At the time I wrote the post I wrote to WDFW to see what their take was.  I was sort of hopeful after reading some responses from Oregon and Idaho officials that were posted on Facebook.  After a week of waiting I got a response back from WDFW and it is pretty clear that in Washington tenkara is illegal in Fly Fishing Only waters.   Here is the full response. 

 

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Is Tenkara Legal???

illegaltenkaraThis is a question I had never even thought to ask until a post appeared on Facebook this morning from the TenkaraBum blog on Fly Fishing Only regulations in New Hampshire.  Evidently the regs there require a reel as they also do in Connecticut and Pennsylvania and probably other states.   I dug out the regulations book for Washington that I generally never bother to look at.

Most of the water I fish is either designated Fly Fishing Only or Selective Gear – what do those terms mean?