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Pat Ortmeyer practices her Tenkara fishing technique in Rattlesnake Creek recently. The traditional Japanese fishing method uses a long, collapsible rod, no reel and one fly, known in Japan as a kebari, that is placed in the water from a high angle.

Over the years I have retired from several things.

I have retired from a few boards of directors, some corporations and a few companies.

My last retirement is one of the most memorable and personally satisfying. For the past nine years I have been on the board of directors of Marcus Daly Memorial Hospital. I have seen so many changes that I was happy to be a part of it.

The board had a retirement party for me and at this party I received a mandatory plaque for service and I also received a new fly rod. Now, this isn’t just an ordinary fly rod. This is one that I have never used and I am looking forward to learning a new technique for fishing the Bitterroot. I received a Tenkara Fly Rod.

This is what I have read on the Internet about Tenkara fly fishing. Tenkara meaning is literally: "from heaven", or "from the skies" is a simple type of fishing practiced in Japan. Primarily used for mountain stream trout fishing, Tenkara is one of the most popular methods of angling among fresh-water mountain anglers in Japan. Tenkara was largely unknown outside Japan until 2009.

Although there are similarities between Tenkara and traditional Western-style fly fishing, the two techniques developed independently of each other, with Tenkara being purely Japanese in origin.

Part of the fun of fly fishing is getting ready to go. It never takes the place of actual fishing but I have already spent several hours fooling around with my new rod. I am hoping for an early ending to high water so I can hit the river with the new rod and flies provided by the company.

George Kesel provided the Fly Fishers of the Bitterroot with a great presentation on fishing Rock Creek and the Blackfoot river.

I learned a good deal about where to fish both rivers and it appears that we are very close to begin fishing on both rivers.

Rock Creek has some special regulations so if you want to float and fish from your raft you need to do it before July 1. After than you can float but you can’t fish from a moving craft of any kind on the river.

I learned a new philosophy about losing flies and it makes me glad that I tie. If you spend $3.50 or more on nymphs or streamers it might be a good idea to take some tying lessons.

When you spend thirty or forty cents and a few minutes of tying time you can lose your fly and not feel too bad. When you lose one you have paid relative good money for it might cause you to back away from those nasty spots above and below the water where you might possible snag your fly.

I have never been too much of a streamer fisherman but I have tied more than a few that I will try during the next few weeks. I am not afraid to lose or give away a few flies because it doesn’t take too long to tie some more.

Good Fishing,

Bill Bean.

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