Fixed-Line Fly Fishing Tenkara Trip Reports Trout & Char

A National Park From a Different Perspective

Trip Report by Steve Mahle

I tip toe out of my tent in the dim light of sunrise in hopes of not waking my wife and eleven-month-old son. I grab my Wasatch Tenkara Rods “Baby Rodzilla” and the rest of the gear I organized the night before, and slip out of the campground as quietly as I can, so as not to disturb the other campers. A velvet buck gets spooked as I venture towards the stream.

In a few hours, the national park my family and I are exploring will be filled with people trying to get snapshots of scenery and selfies on summits… myself included.

Trails will be populated, popular destinations flooded, and solitude limited. That isn’t to take away from the experience. Sometimes beauty shared with others makes it better, but at this hour, I am alone. It will likely be the only time I am alone for the rest of the day, and this kind of intimacy with a place so beautiful comes at a premium.

A National Park From a Different Perspective - Tenkara Angler - Steve Mahle

I guess I am not totally alone. There are hungry brook trout ready to smash the dry flies I am about to throw at them with reckless abandon. Not bad company if you ask me…

I spend the next few hours exploring new water. It’s pocket water heaven. There is something about picking apart various spots and climbing into areas to find the perfect angle of pursuit that is as much mentally stimulating as it is physical. Landing a fish is almost like nature’s way of validating the whole pursuit.

The brookies were plentiful, the scenery amazing, and I didn’t see a single soul the entire time out on the water. As I wandered back to my campsite to wake up my family and engage in the hustle and bustle of the day, I felt like I was told a secret no one else knew. I was able to experience the national park in a way that not many people get to, and that was only due to my pursuit of fish that some people don’t even bother with.

A National Park From a Different Perspective - Tenkara Angler - Steve Mahle - Brook Trout

Tenkara/fixed line fly fishing has given me opportunities to explore and experience the outdoors in ways that I otherwise wouldn’t. It has me up before the sun and pushed me into nooks and crannies that often get overlooked.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s about catching fish for me, but the more I pursue this style of fishing, the more I realize that I am being gifted with other lessons along the way. I was able to see this national park from a different perspective, and I am glad I did.

A National Park From a Different Perspective - Tenkara Angler - Steve Mahle - Small Brook Trout

Steve Mahle is a New York based angler documenting his experiences on the water on his Substack and Instagram Pages.

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