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Since 1968, your Colorado Springs outdoor store.
Since 1968, your Colorado Springs outdoor store.


Posted by Matt

Tenkara - When More Simple is More Better

Sometimes, when my life gets complicated, I feel the need to simplify even those things that bring me the greatest pleasure, like fly fishing.  I love almost everything about fly fishing, but simple is not how I’d describe it. When I need to simplify, I choose Tenkara.

Tenkara is an age-old Japanese method of fly fishing that makes fly fishing about as easy as it can be. There is simply no better way to experience the world of fly fishing without facing the daunting learning curve that comes with it. 

The knowledge and experience needed to be a proficient fly fisher are exactly what I like most about fly fishing. These can also be the things that alienate certain people as they reach for it as a hobby, pastime, or obsession. Why not make it easier by learning the dynamics of fly fishing without having to learn how to navigate the equipment and the process?

All you need to start fishing Tenkara is the ROD, the LINE, and a FLY - and the curiosity to explore what comes next. Surely, none of us gets as many days on the water as we’d like. Here’s a time-tested method to maximize those moments if your time is of the essence, or you want to incorporate it as part of another adventure.

When I discovered the world of Tenkara, it was a revelation to me. Finally, I could roam my favorite woods with the solace of a thought in the back of my mind to wet a line IF the opportunity should present itself. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sidled up to a perfect section of pocket water on a small Rocky Mountain stream, only to think back on the kit of traditional fly fishing gear I left on my gear room floor - left behind because it weighed too much, or I just knew that time wouldn’t allow for it.  

A traditional fly fishing rig can take 15-30 minutes to assemble. The simplest rigs can be measured in pounds rather than ounces, depending on how much traditional “stuff” you choose to bring with. Of course, this is time well spent when fly fishing is your primary objective. But, often it’s just part of what you want to experience. This is where Tenkara really shines.   

A Tenkara rig takes just seconds to deploy. The whole kit weighs less than five ounces and can break down to less than fifteen inches. By limiting yourself to a rod, a line, and a fly, you can quickly maximize every opportunity that might cross your path. 

Tenkara is the ideal method for fishing small streams and pocket water, which is what we encounter most in our high alpine Rocky Mountain home waters.  Sure, it has some limitations in relation to traditional fly fishing, but sometimes limitations are just what the doctor ordered. It also has its own advantages. No reel and long line to tangle. No guides to freeze up in winter (you can fish Tenkara with mittens on). I have found that by eliminating the usual line management and drag challenges, you create the time to notice much more on the water as you fish. Miss fewer strikes, notice more plants, maybe even watch a lazy otter ferry across the drift you’re exploring. 

When you need to slow down a bit, grab your sandals, a daypack, and your Tenkara rod. You may just love that you chose the simpler option. 


Mountain Chalet is an authorized TenkaraUSA dealer, and stocks five models of their rods. Whether you’re fishing for little Brookies in the Rockies, or Salmon in Alaska, there’s a TenkaraUSA rod that suit your needs.

Trippin' with TEPUI!