Workshop Overview

The Simple Art of Japanese Tenkara – The Ancient Practice of Fixed-Line Fly Fishing for Trout

All proceeds above costs go to Dolores River Anglers, Trout Unlimited!

This class 1) provides an historical overview and a hands-on introduction to basic gear and techniques of a Japanese-style fly fishing called tenkara, 2) shows how, in the US, western practices are being integrated with tenkara, 3) provides an initial hands-on familiarization in a stream, and 4) provides for individualized coaching for each participant (two at a time) on selected local mountain streams.

We start with an overview at the Mancos Public Library on Friday evening. Saturday morning we meet for a hands-on instruction on the river to familiarize you with this fascinating technique.

Students should be able to walk in rocky, mountain streams, and some hiking.

All Levels

Mancos Library / August 2nd / 6:00 – 8:30 pm

Hands-on in the stream / August 3rd / 9:00 am – 1:00ish PM

“Over the shoulder coaching” in participant pairs for 2-3 hours on selected local streams will be available on collaborated dates in August – September

$35.00 per person
Students should be 10 years or older unless with parent or other responsible adult

Mancos Library
Upper Dolores River
Local streams

  • Japan is a country of rugged, heavily forested mountains and clear, small, “pocket water” streams. Fishing for trout has been continuously adapted to those small mountain streams by Japan’s indigenous mountain people for some 800 to 900 years.
  • Collectively called “tenkara”, the equipment and techniques that have emerged have focused on simplicity, effectiveness and beauty – long-time core Japanese values.
  • Tenkara fly fishing is focused on fixed-length lines (rather than reels of line), super-light telescoping rods, simple casting techniques and a minimum number of fly patterns in the fly box.
  • Fixed line lengths means shorter casts. Shorter casts means the angler moves closer to the fish, which encourages the angler to understand — and become an integral part of — the immediate stream environment.
  •  This simplicity of equipment and technique allows for 1) a much lower cost to start fly fishing, 2) a more immediate focus in the fly fishing learning process on understanding the trout’s environment (“reading the water”), rather than wrestling with more involved casting mechanics, and 3) actually catching trout much earlier in the fly fishing learning process.
  • And, encouragingly, it serves very well as an effective transitional step in mastering the highly rewarding but somewhat more challenging western-based casting equipment/techniques.


  • Open minds, willing spirit
  • Bring your own lunch
  • All gear and materials provided by instructor

Minimum 2 students; Maximum 8 students

Duncan Rose / Instructor

About the Instructor:

Duncan bought his first fly rod at age 12 in 1958, where he began developing his trout fishing skills on the small streams of upper East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. He’s been tying trout flies since 2006. A resident of the Mancos area since 2010, Duncan’s passion is dry fly fishing for native and wild trout in high, backcountry streams. He has fished virtually every tributary to the Upper Dolores that has trout and regularly fishes the Mancos, La Plata and Animas watersheds. He’s taught classes in fly tying, fly rod building, and basic fly fishing with the Dolores River Anglers chapter of Trout Unlimited (where he is a past president and current Conservation Chair).

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Workshop Details
Course ID : Japanese Fly Fishing
Date : August 2 & 3
Place : Mancos Library and Area Rivers
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Duncan Rose
Duncan Rose
Fly Fishing