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September Fishing in the Rockies: Tackling Low & Clear Waters with Tenkara Techniques

September Fishing in the Rockies: Tackling Low & Clear Waters with Tenkara Techniques

September presents a unique fishing landscape in the Rockies. With summer’s heat transitioning to fall’s first frost, the waters turn low and crystalline, unveiling challenges for anglers. The fish, having experienced a full summer of anglers’ pursuits, have become more cautious. Yet, with the right approach and tenkara gear, September fishing can be immensely rewarding.

On radiant September days, fishing can prove difficult. Fish are extra vigilant and can spot flies and tippets more easily in the translucent waters. Such conditions necessitate tactical strategies:

  1. Time Your Fishing – Early mornings or late afternoons, before the sun dominates the waters, can be optimal. Mid-day fishing? Look for streams shaded by dense foliage or other natural covers.
  2. Casting Mastery – A subtle casting approach is crucial. Ensure the fly lands far from the casting lines, minimizing chances of spooking the fish.

Preferred Tenkara Gear for September Fishing:

  • For Small Streams: The Rhodo rod stands out with its gentle action, making it ideal for light casts.
  • For Larger Rivers: The Ito rod offers extended reach while maintaining a light action, protecting those delicate tippets typical of this season.

3.5 level lines, especially when long, keep you at a safer distance from the fish. September demands finesse in casting. While longer 5x tippets of around 4 feet are my go-to, some seasoned tenkara anglers might opt for shorter ones to ensure perfect turnover. During September’s low flows, bright-colored lines may deter fish. Our furled, tapered lines, especially in muted tones, are often a better choice. For instance, the Rhodo manages our 15′ furled line adequately, while the Ito handles it effortlessly.

Fly Choices:

Almost all our flies are apt for this season. However, if fish appear wary—easier to notice in clear waters—I gravitate towards our tiniest fly, the Takayama kebari. On cloudier days, switching from a subtle drift with the Takayama kebari to pulsing our most massive fly, the Oki Kebari can be productive. This technique mirrors streamer fishing and is particularly effective on vast rivers during cloudy times or at dawn and dusk.

In conclusion, September may present its fair share of challenges, but it’s far from being a lost cause. Sometimes, moments reminiscent of July’s effortless fishing suddenly emerge, especially when the sun retreats. Persistence is key, and the rewards? Absolutely worth the wait!