Why Wilderness, Why Tenkara?
Last year, during an evening brainstorming session at Colorado Boy Brewery in Ridgway (just half a block from the fly shop), Tim Patterson, owner of RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service, and I sat down and sketched out a brand new offering from RIGS. I knew there were high-adventure folks out there who were looking for a wilderness trip that combined exploration of the remote and rugged Uncompahgre Wilderness with a primer on backcountry tenkara and lightweight self-propelled wilderness living. Tim agreed, we started sorting out the details, and a new trip was born.
I’ve been a backpacker with a fly fishing addiction for decades. I knew this new guided trip would be both fun and educational for physically fit clients who want to learn. I also knew that the Uncompahgre Wilderness (formerly the Big Blue) would be the perfect location, since it offers several loop hikes that begin and end with quality fly fishing for rainbows, brookies, and cutts. The opportunity to take what I’ve learned over many years of backpacking, paired up with tenkara (which is the absolute BEST method on small wilderness streams), makes this a dream come true for a tenkara guide who loves the backcountry.
The Uncompahgre Wilderness offers stunning scenery, good trails, connecting loop hikes, and outstanding small stream fishing. Our trips are as much about being in the wilderness as they are about catching fish. You will be learning about tenkara and backcountry living. It will rain, hail, snow, and blow. There will be dazzling days above timberline at over 12,000 feet in fields of wildflowers. There will be days when, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t avoid catching trout. Best of all, we at RIGS will take all the stress out of putting such a trip together so you can focus on getting out in the San Juan high country with a pack on your back and a rod in your hand.
Paul Vertrees Lead Tenkara Guide