At this time of the year I spend 99% of my time fishing subsurface, primarily using beadhead nymphs or soft hackle flies. The places I fish are mostly small to really small wild trout streams with rocky & rugged gradients that offer physical exertion and relatively shallow wading to keep me from freezing my butt off. Other options I have at my disposal are a few streams that offer bank-side access with NO wading required to have a good time and catch a few fish. It's a fun time of the year for me to be out with solitude and no hatches to deal with as two added benefits.
Last fall I gave Tenkara some thought as an option for winter trout fishing because of its simplicity and because I knew I could easily utilize a Tenkara rod to fish the way I fish most often in winter. I couldn't have been more correct!! What I have discovered is Tenkara works PERFECTLY for my winter fishing and allows me a simple way to fish for a few minutes or hours when opportunity knocks.
Living in my trunk since I bought it is my 11 foot Iwana. Also living in my trunk is my Tenkara "kit" which consists of a really small shoulder bag with one small fly box and a few other necessities, a hat and a fishing shirt which contains my license and some spare Tenkara lines. At the drop of a hat I can be set-up and fishing anytime I see a spot that interests me. I guess that's why since November, I haven't fished with a conventional fly rod! That may not sound like a big deal to the Tenkara fanatics or those that forsake winter fly fishing but I have been fly fishing a LOT since November.
I find Tenkara the ideal way to fish the way I do in winter with NO iced-up guides, stiff lines or most of the other hassles I've grown to hate in winter. Set-up and tear down is quick which can be a nice thing when it's freezing out and my non casting hand stays nice & warm in my pocket. It is ideal when time only allows me an hour or less to fish and I have no fly lines to clean or reels to store when I get home so once I'm done for the day, I'm done! To date the cold hasn't effected my rod in any way that I am aware of despite temps below freezing and no frozen rod joints either!
I know that once things warm up and the flies start hatching I'll also break out the conventional rods, extra tackle and the two zillion flies I often carry, "just-in-case"; but right now the simplicity of Tenkara makes me reach for the "rod in the trunk" most often during these cold days of winter. Try it, you may find it works perfectly for you too!
I'll be heading out later today just to be sure!