Tenkara for Kids

by Jeffry Gottfried
(Portland, Oregon)

With minimal instruction kids can begin to fish independently with tenkara rods and catch fish.

With minimal instruction kids can begin to fish independently with tenkara rods and catch fish.

Our non-profit organization, Educational Recreational Adventures, (www.edurecadv.org) has conducted three fly fishing camps and two outdoor adventure camps this summer offering kids and adults an opportunity to learn and practice fly fishing skills. We offer opportunities for both traditional western fly casting and tenkara.

It has been surprising to me how quickly children as young as 8 meet with success in catching wild rainbows and cutthroats using tenkara gear. In June, we took 12 youngsters, ages 7-9 fly fishing for wild cutthroat on Silver Creek in Oregon. All 12 kids caught 1-5 trout on dry flies after just minimal instruction. My staff and I spent most of our time running around releasing fish and praising young anglers.

Last week on the Little North Fork of the Santiam, our campers walked three miles to our base camp at Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. I broke out the tenkara rods at our lunch stop and one by one each of the 6 participants (having never had a fly rod in their hands before) caught at least one and as many as three wild rainbows-not a bad way to take the pressure off the guide in a hurry!

Over the course of the week long fly fishing and freshwater ecology camp, the youth consistently chose to fish tenkara rods over traditional western rods and met with great success in catching fish.

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“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” - Benjamin Franklin

"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

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