Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A Slow Start into the New Year

Against all odds and common sense, I headed out yesterday, Jan. 2, 2012 with my friend Graham of Tenkara Grasshopper to the South Platte up in Deckers for some Winter Tenkara Fishing.

We got to the river just after 10.00am and it was 12F.... The river looked almost like a slurpee with all the sludge coming down river. We started heading upriver the 10 miles or so towards Deckers where the temperature was a balmy 22F and the river was ice free. It was actually quite nice and warm as long as you stayed in the sun.

You can't tell from the pic, but it is a slurpee alright

I used this opportunity to do some long line tenkara (18ft level line plus tippet with my Tenkara USA Ito in the 13ft position) but soon realized that for the type of water we were fishing, this line setup was the wrong choice (we were fishing the close pocket water). But from a casting and testing point of view, it was beatiful to see at what distance I could hit some pockets with all the line off the water. This will be a very promising technique on the South Platte and bigger rivers once it warms up a bit (hello Spring!).

Graham in action 

Both Graham and I pounded the water blind casting for a while before we found two nice fish in the 18-20" range and started sight casting to the fish, but after half an hour and no interest of the big bow we packed-up and started heading downstream to escape the usual Deckers crowd.

At Pine Creek, we (well, ok, I) spooked maybe a dozen fish from under the ice shelf (go figure) but continued our efforts, oftentimes thinking that the bump we felt was a fish (turns out it was just ice that got snagged on our flies). I switched to a baby bugger on my Amago (what a difference after casting the Ito) and managed to get a flash of a fish but no take.

The day ended for us just after 3.00pm, feeling cold but happy having escaped a day stuck in the house or office. There is hope that this skunk is not an omen of the new year but only for our Winter tenkara fishing. And I think I am about to repeat myself by saying that maybe I should focus on skiing in the Winter.

River Statistics:
Weather: sunny, no wind
Air Temp: 12F at 10.00am with a high of 48F in the afternoon
Flow: 130 cfs, clear (slightly off color in the afternoon due to warmer temps and snow melt)
Day on the water in 2012: 1
Fish: 0


  1. Karel,
    I enjoyed this post and pictures, thanks. It was interesting to read your comments regarding the casting of the Ito/Amago rods.

    1. What is the difference in your opinion between the two rods?

    2. Jason - I believe it's the taper of the rod, the balance as well as the stiffness. Although the Ito is slightly heavier, it feels lighter, at least in the 13' position. I think this has to do with the weight of the "additional segment" being closer to the handle. I also got to enjoy softer rods more and the stiffer Amago needed some adjustment. Lastly, the Ito's handle is a bit thicker which suits my hands more.

  2. Definitely like those pics Karel. Look forward to more days on the water this year.

  3. Great story and photo's! I was in Evergreen on 1/2 with friends and Bear Creek looked mighty tempting...

  4. Thom - there will be more on the ITO/Amago comparison once its warmer...

    Grahama - yep, same here.

    Tom - Bear Creek must have been almost frozen but it's quite a nice creek to wet a line Spring through Fall. Sorry I missed you when you were in Denver.