Lake Fishing Tenkara from a Watermaster Raft
by Jeffry Gottfried
Before leaving home to travel to a lake in Iregon's Cascade Mountains, I asked my friend and fellow tenkara angler, "Is there any reason to bring a tenkara rod with me?" "No. None at all" was his response. I would be fishing wooly buggers deep and this would not lend itself to tenkara fishing. I packed my 6 wt rod and slow sink line, flies and inflatable Watermaster raft with oars and fins for hands-free navigation/positioning and just for the hell of it, I packed my Ito rod (Tenkara USA).
When I got out onto the lake, I rowed to the bay where a stream was entering and stated fishing a small nymph on my sinking line. There was no apparent action on the surface. Soon, the fishing really picked up with fish after fish smashing the size 16 bead-head pheasant tail nymph. After about an hour, the mayflies hit the water and fish were rising all around me. The light bulb went off in my head: I've got done size 16 black mayflies with white wings, just like those in the water and I can present them beautifully with my tenkara rod. I'd spot a rise, place my fly within the ring and the fight was on!! I stopped counting after 20 fish, both native cutthroats and hatchery rainbows. It was amazingly effective.
I was able to make the most precise and gentle presentations and the fish were taking them. Soon the wind came up. This was a unique opportunity since I could simply get upwind of rising fish with my tiny fly on a 6' tippet flying in the air like a kite. I'd lower my rod, place the fly on a rising fish and the fish was on.
These fish ranged in size from 10"-17". Despite the early success fishing deep with weighted nymphs on my Western rod, my Tenkara skills and gear proved to be most effective in catching rising fish. Imagine if I had heeded my friends suggestion and left my tenkara rod at home because this was lake fishing and one must fish deep in a lake! This day was an incredible eye-opener for me! Try it !!
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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin
"Study to be quiet." - Izaak Walton 1653
"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662
The hooks are sharp.
The coffee's hot.
The fish are slippery when wet.
Beware of the Dogma