Ryan Jordan

More Tenkara: Alpine Lakes

Chase and I gave Tenkara a whirl in the Uintas last week. We fished alpine lakes above 10,000 feet that included everything from big, deep, cliff-rimmed high oceans harboring monster cutthroat to grass-rimmed puddles teeming with spooky populations of brookies.


Photo: Chase with a 16" Uinta Cutthroat caught on a Chernobyl Ant at midday. This was a spooky trout requiring cautious stalking. The fish was hanging out under a log in just a few feet of water. Chase had to nail the first cast in order to avoid spooking the fish. The presentation was perfect – the fly hit the log and bounced into the water with supreme delicacy. The trout slowly moved up, slurped it in, and a good fight was on. Olympus E-P1 with Zuiko m.14-42, 23mm, f/5.6 1/125 sec.

Fishing with Tenkara in high lakes is different than fishing streams, but the tactics are similar: stalk the shoreline and hunt for feeders.

The evening fish were tough to catch, for the most part, feeding almost exclusively on little midges. We threw everything at them, and were most successful with long, fine tippets and tiny emergers.

In spite of the difficult evening fishing, we did manage brook trout dinners.


Photo: Uinta Brookies taken from a large Western Uinta High Lake at dusk, during a hatch of #24 cream midges. We used 8' of 7X tippet tied to the 10.5' Tenkara braided leader on a 13' Tenkara Ayu rod. Olympus E-P1, Zuiko m.14-42mm, f/5.6 1/20 sec.