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Maximizing Fishing Opportunities

by Les Albjerg
(Caldwell, ID)

25 minutes from the house

25 minutes from the house

I was bemoaning to Chris yesterday that I was on-call all weekend (I work in the medical field) and couldn't go fishing. His response was, "Being on call would be tough. If you get called, can you show up in waders?"

So after spending from 1 am to 4 am this morning at the hospital, I just ran out of energy on my projects around the house, so I looked and the summer issue of "Tenkara Angler" was available. If you don't know about this free magazine, it is very much worth reading. It was the first article that prompted this post.

I had to laugh a bit as the first article argued that Tenkara Anglers spending too much time reading about fishing rather than fishing since he was providing the fodder for my afternoon read.

I really enjoy reading "Tenkara Angler", however several things struck me as I read through. One argues for purism. I don't mind that so much, but how many of us have high gradient cold water streams close to us? I live in Idaho, one of the often envied States for trout fishing. However, I live at least 90 minutes from "Tenkara" waters. Two hours one way gets me into some really good water. I have tail water closer, but that isn't what the author was arguing for. Two years ago, I made a commitment to fish more. That won't happen if I limit myself to pure Tenkara. My closest cold water fishery is a huge series of cold water springs that have a few native rainbows, but since it is a park next to one of the largest State hatcheries, it is also a put and take fishery. Cold water, but not high gradient. It did encourage me to be more intentional on trying to get out and fish "Tenkara" more.

Andy Vinnes wrote an article on "The Driftless" area of Wisconsin. I enjoyed fishing there when I lived in Wisconsin. One of the most northern streams of The Driftless area was 200 feet out my front door. He argues that we ought to share with others where we have had good fishing. There are parts of his article I agree with, but not all people in the fishing community have the same ethics. The best Driftless fishing I enjoyed was because I had access through a farm to a stream that only 5 or 6 people fished and limited harvest was practiced. I found an awesome high desert stream that is very isolated. The first two times I fished it, I was catching native rainbows up to 18 inches. This is a very small stream about 20 yards wide with many nice pools and plunges. One of my Duck hunting buddies begged and begged that I share with him where it was. I had him swear to me that he would tell nobody else where it is. Last year,he not only told others, he posted pictures of 14-18 inch rainbows on a stringer on a fishing blog for Southwest Idaho and named the stream! A month ago, I went up there and caught several 4-6 inch rainbows, but saw no big fish as they had been harvested. So, I don't share all of my spots. This spot was found by doing a lot of research at Fish and Game talking to biologists and pouring over Google Earth. The good news is there is a place that is even better, and I am not telling.
I agree with him, that your hot spot might not be a secret, but if someone else thinks it is their hot spot, it will be treated with respect. Another hot spot I discovered that is unique has been fished by a guy for over 30 years without ever seeing another person. He was shocked when he found me fishing on "his stream." We had a friendly conversation. We have the same fishing ethic, and I agreed that I wouldn't tell anyone about the place or bring anyone. That was my plan all along.

So, in light of these two articles, I would encourage you all to get out and fish more. From a couple of Tenkara anglers, I have learned you don't have to take all day to have a great fishing experience. In all likelihood, it won't be a pristine high gradient stream. I have identified 9 places I can fish that are less than 20 minutes from my house. I now have a spinning setup and a tenkara setup. In less than 5 minutes I can be on the road and fishing in less than 20 minutes. Only two of these places have riffles. Four of them are high pressure areas, you are never alone. Five of the nine have places where very few people fish, but there are fish to be caught from those places. These are not postcard worthy places to fish, but they are fun places to fish. They give me the opportunity to fish at least once a week. With a very busy schedule this week, I got out twice.

The real benefit is when I do get to take that special fishing trip, my skills have been honed, my equipment has become an old friend ready for an exciting time. I have added additional fishing knowledge that adds confidence and competence.

So instead of dreaming about Henry's Fork or Silver Creek or the South Fork of the Salmon River, I head down to Indian Creek and catch 3-6 rainbows in a mowed City Park. And yes, I do have some special trips planned to special waters.

I would encourage you all go on Google Earth and explore. Give your local Fish and Game a call. Ask for the fish biologist for your area, they usually like to talk. Find some places to conveniently fish, and if you catch fish keep it to yourself. Plan some short sessions and enjoy them. Most of the time, I set the timer on my phone for 90 minutes and when the timer goes off, I am done fishing.

Hope you get out fishing more.

Comments for Maximizing Fishing Opportunities

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Jul 22, 2018
on call
by: bill piatek

When I was working I had on call in the computer field. 10 minute response at one job and "when ever you get a chance" at another. On the second I fished a river close by for Smallmouth Bass.

But before that I worked a three month shift rotation. It was heaven for the fishing (and hell for sleep). I probably fished 30 hours a week when on 3rd shift. I would get down to the Lake Michigan shore about 8am as everyone was leaving and they would tell me how great the sunrise fishing had been. Then about 9am the schools of trout and salmon would come back in. A 15# Chinook on 6# test was as much fun as my Rainbows on UL 2# are now. :-)

Jul 22, 2018
by: Timmy

Before i make my comment regarding this particular post i would like to express my thoughts on the "hoops" we have to jump through just to make a comment here. First of all when i click to make a comment the "Your Name" pops up with a whole bunch of letters and signs that looks like Russian?! After i make my comment (long or short) then i have to go down to the click a box selection i.e. age, privacy, will display, nationality, blood type and last dental appointment, WTH???????? How about a simple "like" menu? or a simple menu with short phrases that would quickly say something positive? And last but not least we have to do the anti-bot security and the "include your name" or else statement! All i really wanted to say was, i really enjoyed this article.

Jul 22, 2018
by: Chris Stewart

Timmy, I have no idea why the Your Name box comes up with Russian (or similar characters). I don't see them when I bring up that page.

After getting a few nasty comments (always anonymous) I decided to require people to sign their comments!

The questions on the bottom are required because the Europeans enacted a data protection regulation that covers every website in the entire world that a European citizen could possibly visit. The penalties could be absolutely huge. The questions are absolutely required for protection against unbelievably huge fines. It is not clear that the US would NOT enforce the fines - they might (all kinds of international agreements, etc). Basically, it isn't worth the risk.

If you don't want to check the boxes, I certainly understand, but please understand either the questions stay or "Your Stores" disappears.

Jul 23, 2018
Thanks For Reading
by: Mike Agneta

(As the Editor) I'm glad you enjoy Tenkara Angler magazine. Thanks for the kind words about the project.

I enjoyed reading and publishing the two opinion pieces you referenced from the last issue. It's always interesting to me to hear well thought out opinions, no matter what the subject. Opinion is just that, and Tenkara Angler will always try to be inclusive to all in the community, no matter how fragmented it may become in other areas of social media.

Really happy to see that some of what was written was thought-provoking enough to make you come to your own conclusions... and write this post.

Jul 23, 2018
Tenkara Angler
by: Les Albjerg

Wow, A comment from the editor!

Mike, I hope I didn't convey that I disagree with either of these articles. They are both well written and good food for thought. There are positives in both.

There is truly a classic freestone river 70 miles from my house where I love to Tenkara Fish in the true sense. I mention that river because I am getting to know it. The point I was try to make is there is a great benefit to get out on close water to get to know your equipment and work on your casting. The rod, fly, and line work the same, and rather than lawn casting, I would rather battle some panfish or stocked trout as a reward for dropping my fly in the right spot, rather than into a bowl in the backyard.

The other point I was making is that hotspots can easily get wiped out by unethical practices, even if they are legal.

I do highly recommend Tenkara Angler as an awesome read. The photos are worth the look even if you don't read the articles. Mike you are doing a fantastic job!

Jul 26, 2018
Kiss And Tell Fishermen
by: Herb S.

Les, it's a shock to trust someone not to squeal on your secret stream and have it blabbed, posted or wind up in a magazine. Robert Traver in his second fishing book, "Trout Magic", has a chapter with the same title as my comment title. His advice is never to reveal a great fishing spot to anyone you wouldn't trust with your wife! It's a funny story but he has a point. I live among some very nice warm water rivers that anyone with a car or legs in some cases can find. But I have a rule to NEVER reveal where I fish. I fish catch and release on these streams and the few guys I fish with do too. I've had people tell me they fish catch and release and later find otherwise; some are real fish hogs. In a couple of instances after refusing to squeal on a stream and mentioning that I never keep fish in order to catch them again I've been called "stupid".

Now I'm not against keeping enough fish for a meal when fishing lakes, which are better able to withstand catch and keep fishing. But I've also run across enough fish hogs who ignore keep limits to not brag about even lakes. One year a small local lake was really producing during ice fishing season. Word got around and it took three years to get back to close to normal. So, shhhhhh! and
Happy Fishing,


Jul 26, 2018
Keep learning to stay fresh
by: Les Albjerg

Herb, thanks for the insights. I do keep a few fish too, almost always those that have been stocked.

I'm on the mailing list of the "Tenkara In Focus." It is always educational. I just got back from fishing Kebari for Sunfish and went from a size 12 that was ignored to a size 16 and had a "many" fish hour of fishing. Paul from Tenkara In Focus said the following as I read my emails today:

"I will stress again though - getting the size right first is still the numero uno consideration. I’ve lost count of the number of days when I’ve seen fish sidle up to my "just-sub-surface" simple fly and then spook off at the last second. Repeatedly.

Then a simple change in size (same pattern/same rig) results in fish grabbing the fly with confidence. AND then the most important test – going back to the previous size and finding that the fish resume their "inspect and bolt" routine again."

It was fun fishing Kebari today. The TenkaraBum 40 has been ignored too much this summer. I was also challenged this week by Tom Davis who drove 8 hours to fish for 1.5 hours. Check out his video over at Teton Tenkara. I'm going to be a little more serious to get to high gradient cold water in the next couple of months.

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