Tenkara Fishing at South Boulder Creek, Colorado

By: Tom Malone - Summer 2016

I drove toward the Flagstaff lookout point near Boulder, Colo. My car detoured left and travelled down a dirt road. As I passed Gross Reservoir, I knew I was getting close.

The only trucks that passed were forest rangers. I felt utterly alone in the foothills of Rocky Mountains, which, fortunately, was my goal for the adventure. I found a nearly empty parking lot and pulled over.

In my trunk, I had a small hiking backpack filled with a few granola bars, trail mix, and a massive water bottle. In my pocket, I placed my Tenkara USA line and tippet container. In my hand, I carried my Sato rod from Tenkara USA. I left the rod condensed into its two-foot form and in its protective carrying case for the short hike through the forest to the shores of South Boulder Creek.

Now, down river, South Boulder Creek flows through the middle of a bustling, trendy city. But, up in the mountains, the creek rushes quickly with crystal clear water full of trout. This was my goal.

I found a large boulder (pun slightly intended) and used that as my base station. I unrolled my line, tied it to the tip of my tenkara rod, and prepared for an enjoyable morning of tradition fly fishing. With no fly fishing waders, I decided to stay on the rock and cast my line from their. The sun was out, so I stood barefoot on the rock.

I heard no cars, saw no people, and felt completely at peace being alone in nature. The sound of the rushing creek made the casting process seem almost meditative. I caught one small trout and threw it back into the river (no absurd fish stories here), but the process was what I was after. The process of seeking solitude just outside the city while practicing an ancient fishing technique recharged my batteries for the hustle-and-bustle lifestyle of the work week.

After two hours of fishing, I packed up my 12-foot Tenkara USA rod and replaced it into its two-foot case. I hiked by the river for a while and enjoyed the quiet morning. Then, I hopped in my car and returned to the urban lifestyle feeling more connected than any smartphone could accomplish.