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Tenkara in Canada

by Chris Schatte

Just returned from our Canadian trip of 4552 miles. Fished the Bow River in Banff NP and the Sumwampta in Jasper NP. These are wide, deep and very, very fast. You could wade some, but very, very carefully, so you had to use a longer Tenkara rod, line and tippet.

My Sagiri and Daiwa LT39SF worked very, very well with 14-16 ft of the light size 3 Chartreuse line, 3 ft of heavier clear fluorocarbon, with 3-6 ft of 5X tippet and a couple of no-lead split shot. The water was so fast and the channels were so deep that this was the only way to get down enough. Then with the eddies your line would suddenly wash off to a slow pool. Once I learned this "technique" the fish were there for the taking. "Traditional tenkara" worked for the numerous whitefish, but not for the cutts or bulls.

Since we went after Labor Day, the end of the "busy" season, I was alone on the water each day. Had to watch for the bears since they are everywhere up there. Sorry, I did not take a lot of pictures while fishing since this is the last thing on my mind while enjoying myself on the water.

Thank you Chris for your very comprehensive line of products!

Comments for Tenkara in Canada

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Sep 18, 2012
Good trip
by: Joe E.

Thanks for commenting on your Canada trip. I always enjoy hearing about other tenkara aficionados trips.

Sep 19, 2012
Tenkara in Canada
by: Chris Schatte

Appreciate the comment! Did not know how I was going to fish the rivers there. Did a lot of research on the Bow and Smwampta so I adapted from western fly fishing to my rods, lines and tippet for the fast waters. Could not find any Tenkara experience for fishing Canadian western waters. The time of year we were there the small tributaries were closed so normal small stream Tenkara that is always posted about was not available. I did stretch the limits of my rods but never broke a tip. Did that before and sort of learned the limit(s). In the areas that I fished there was no real dry fly fishing, so I nymphed and had great success. Somewhat similar to the nymphing page here. Use this in my home waters at LMFR in Oklahoma and it works really well there.

Oct 12, 2012
tippet on Sagiri 39MC?
by: CJOttawa

Hey Chris. You mentioned using 5x tippet. Was that on the Sagiri as well as the other rod?

Oct 14, 2012
Tenkara in Canada
by: Chris

Yes, unless I fished a smaller fly.

Oct 14, 2012
5x tippet on a Sagiri - a new look
by: CJOttawa

Thanks for verifying.

Some references...

Daiwa Japan's page on the Sagiri:

Tippet sizes: 0.2-0.6

A discussion page on TenkaraUSA:

User "Eddie" suggests that the Japanese Tippet sizes "0.2-0.6" equate to 8X-6X, however, I'm not convinced that "0.6" is "6x".

While I haven't fished the Sagiri as much as perhaps others have, it strikes me as having a lot of backbone. I've only been using 6x so far but the rod just feels like it's designed for heavier use.

Perhaps someone who knows some Japanese fly fishers could enlighten us on how the Japanese sizes relate to Western.

Oct 14, 2012
Japanese line sizes
by: TenkaraBum

Japanese line size .6 is not equivalent to 6X. It is equivalent to 7X. Each line size is equal to 4# test, so line size .6 is 2.4# test. I think you could argue that the tippet sizes given on Daiwa's web page is the minimum rather than the maximum. It is listed as the tippet size that "fits" the rod.

I recommend 6X with the rod because that is the strength that I believe you can use without risking the rod. Perhaps you could use 5X but I do think that 6X is a more conservative choice.

Feb 08, 2014
by: BoulderTenkara


Thanks for your comments on fishing the Bow river with Tenkara. I have fished the OldMan River, Racehorse, Bow River, as well as some of the smaller streams around the Alberta Rockies, and am looking forward to trying out my Daiwa 43MF and Daiwa Kiyose 42SF there. Two comments you made on your page struck me -- you mentioned catching bulls, and yet you recommended using 6X or smaller tippet. The bulls I caught there were striping 100 yards of line using 4X tippet with a 9' Winston LTX with a Ross Gunnison drag. Moreover, the bulls were always in deep water, and the only thing that got them to move were LARGE flies with lots of weight. I would really like to hear what you did to catch and land these monsters with a tenkara rod and light tippet. Cheers.

Feb 08, 2014
Tippet size
by: TenkaraBum


You may be confusing the two Chrises. Chris Schatte mentioned fishing the Bow with 5x tippet using a Daiwa LT39SF and a Daiwa Sagiri. Later, in response to questions about Japanese line sizes and Daiwa's specifications for the Sagiri, I mentioned that I recommend a 6X tippet for the Sagiri (but then, I wouldn't recommend a Sagiri for bull trout). For his LT39SF, the 5X was fine and he probably could have used 4X. I know of people using 4X with the Daiwa Kiyose 43MF and Kiyose 42SF.

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