Tenkara Weekend Getaway: Learning by Doing

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Taking tenkara to the high country water of the Cimarron Forks with lead tenkara guide Paul Vertrees, RIGS owner Tim Patterson, and head fly fishing guide Matt McCannel.
(Photo by Stephen and Melissa Alcorn)

Teaching tenkara is the main reason I do what I do at RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service.  My career as a professional educator (when I’m not out guiding tenkara trips) has shown me that some of the best things in life are learned hands-on.  Long ago Aristotle said, “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them”.  A hands-on, experiential introduction to tenkara is what our two annual weekend getaways are all about.

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Netting a brook trout on the Cimarron River.
(Photo by Stephen and Melissa Alcorn)

While our spring tenkara weekend was centered on the Uncompahgre River’s tailwater at Ridgway State Park, the upcoming late summer gathering will be focused on the remote, high country water of the three forks of the Cimarron River, as well as the red rock-lined canyon of the San Miguel River below Telluride.  Between the stunning rock spires and pillars of the Cimarron Range and the freestone water of the San Miguel Canyon, this weekend getaway will give you a great introduction to using tenkara on wild backcountry water.

Guests will arrive on Friday September 5th at 5pm in the evening at the fly shop, located in downtown Ridgway, Colorado.  We’ll have a meet and greet, along with horsd’oeuvres and beverages.  Hang out as long as you like at the shop.  Lodging is available in town or you can camp at Ridgway State Park.


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Learning tenkara techniques on high mountain streams with lead tenkara guide, Paul Vertrees.
(Photo by Stephen and Melissa Alcorn)


On Saturday morning we’ll meet at the fly shop and transport you east of Ridgway, over Owl Creek Pass (arguably one of the most scenic drives in Colorado), to the three forks of the Cimarron River.  We’ll spend the day showing you how to use tenkara on high mountain streams, with a focus on gear and effective tenkara techniques, learning as you go with experienced tenkara guides.  You’ll spend the day fishing for rainbows, cutthroats, and brook trout, while soaking in the rugged backdrop of the Cimarron Range.   We’ll return to Ridgway for a relaxing evening in town.  As a bonus, I’ll hang out at the fly shop Saturday evening for a tenkara fly tying demo, and all are welcome.  Tie a couple of flies for the next day!

Tenkara Fly Tying RIGS Weekend Getaway with Paul Vertrees

Tenkara Fly Tying  at RIGS Fly Shop with Paul Vertrees



Bright and early Sunday morning we’ll transport you over to the rugged San Miguel Canyon north of Telluride.  Spend the morning using the techniques you learned on Saturday, targeting the countless pools, pockets, and edges of the mighty San Miguel freestone.  Eager rainbow and brown trout await!  We will return to Ridgway mid-day on Sunday for a wrap-up.

I hope you can join me, RIGS owner Tim Patterson, and head guide Matt McCannel for our first late summer tenkara weekend getaway!  Backcountry tenkara is what we’re all about and we’d love to share our corner of Colorado with you.  Reserve your trip now!

~ Paul Vertrees