by Phillip Dobson
The Upper Beaverhead River is where I caught my first fish on a fly; about a year and a half ago. Since then, I've wanted to float that section again.
That section closes at the end of the month, so I grabbed my little whitewater kayak and headed south. I packed a few fly boxes, (heavy on the nymphs), my Sagiri 54, a 4wt Western rod (that I never used), and not much else. I quickly jogged the 2.5mi car shuttle and set off.
I've never tried to support a fishing trip from the playboat before. Getting everything to fit is awkward to say the least. The nice thing about tenkara fishing is that it's easy to collapse the rod, float down to the next hole and start fishing again.
I can happily say that I wasn't disappointed by the fishing. The river is basically a big-fish factory. Abundant food and shelter make for fat, happy trout. After a couple big whitefish, I got into brown trout after brown trout with a couple rainbows thrown in.
This tailwater is a nymphing river, as evidenced by the indicator setups on every rod but mine. I quickly bore of bobber fishing, but I actually like the concentration involved in tight-line nymphing. There's nothing better than a super sensitive 5m rod for tight-lining with small files and fine tippet. The soft rod did a great job letting me keep pressure on these strong fish without compromising the tippet.
All in all, an awesome time revisiting this river. All the running, kayaking, and portaging left me exhausted and satisfied. I did sadly lose a fly box somewhere with a couple hundred of my favorite nymphs, but I'd say it was worth it. Hopefully the fisherman who finds it will have as much fun with those flies as I have.
Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin