Spent my summer in Colorado, something I've done for the last several years.

Great fishing. Cool weather. Had lots of fun but it's good to be home. Wanted to tell you all about how my experiment with a simple no reel rig went.

The animas River runs rigth through Durango, and it's what they call in Colorado 'Quality Water'. It has special regs and is home to lots of trout, and some nice ones. This part of the Animas is relatively fast, quite rocky, with some deeper runs here and there. I usually get to fish it mid day, so it's mostly nymph or streamer fishing for me there.

A discussion here last spring about the Tenkara technique got me to thinking of a way to adapt this simple technique to nymph fishing on the Animas.

I began this experiment with an inexpensive 13' telescoping panfish pole. Two furled leaders rigged end to end made up the 13' 'line' (my furling jig puts out 6 1/2 foot sections). I furled 10 pound fireline for the heavier end, 4 pound mono for the light end. 6 pound flourocarbon for the tippet, about six feet of it.

I use two or three flies. On the three fly rig I used a heavy stonefly nymph at the bottom end of things and a couple of smaller nymphs staggered above that. Sometimes I used two smaller nymphs and added a heavy split shot.

I used it both with and without an indicator, depending on the conditions.

It was a very simple way to approach this river. Didn't need a lot of stuff, kept one small fly box in my shirt pocket. A pair of hemos, some tippet, and a container of split shot was all that was required.

Caught lots of fish. As I expected, the battles were close in and often airborn. There were some negatives to the technique, though.

Bigger fish are tough to hold without being able to give them line. Hooked some larger trout that either broke me off or pulled the hooks. This generally happened before I could get the rod up. If they hit with the rod and line stretched out, as it often was when I tried to get to the maximum distance I could fish, they would be gone at the first run. If I could get the rod up and let them work against that flexible pole, I could usually land them. Didn't lose any more of the smaller to mid sized fish than would be the case with any method.

Largest fish I managed to land was around 19 inches. Didn't think I could hold it, but it got into a deep cut and sort of worked itself to tired swimming against the current and the flex of the rod. Probably luck more than anything, since I didn't land any other fish over 15 inches. Caught lots of 8 to 14 inch fish.

Really fun way to fish, especially if you like simple and aren't too concerend with landing trophies. The control over the drift and the ease of fly placement are great. You have to deal with a limited fishing distance, but I like that kind of fishing anyway. Didn't get the flies caught in a tree or bush behind me even once.

I also tried this in the lake, for both trout and smallmouth. Caugth several trout on leech patterns with the rod. A number 6 or 4 streamer hook holds them better and I lost fewer of the bigger ones. Limited range was a problem, but it still worked okay with a simple lift and drop retrieve.

I fished both streamers and poppers for smallies with the rod. The face of the dam holds lots of bass, and you don't need to get out far to catch them. Didn't have any trouble landing smallmouth up to 12 inches, and if you have them congregated like that you can catch lots of them.

I'll probably upgrade to a bit longer and better quality (read lighter) rod this spring. A 15 foot rod would make a difference, and something lighter would be easier to fish with over time. It will still need to be a pole made for panfish, though. Those Tenkara built rods are nice and light, but I think this technique would overpower them. They do make some better quality telescoping poles, though, so I'll likely try one of them next summer.

I'm still playing with the concept, there are some changes I'll make and I have some new ideas that I'll try next season.

If you like simple though, and have the right kind of water, this is loads of fun.

Nice to be back here.