Thursday, December 17, 2015


It’s been said, the more things change, the more they stay the same.  This has been especially true for me over the past several months.

In August I returned home from my annual migration to southwest Colorado, where, for four seasons, I had been guiding tenkara trips for RIGS Fly Shop and Guide Service in Ridgway.  You may know that they were the first fly shop in Colorado to offer professionally guided tenkara trips, and I was their first on-staff tenkara guide.  I had paid my dues as a guide, spending my first season in 2012 sleeping in my truck and camping among bears and vagabonds in pullouts along Owl Creek Pass and the San Miguel River.  Tim and Heather Patterson's amazing hospitality then provided me with much better accommodations during the next three seasons, and I'm forever thankful for that.  In between trips, I had also spent increasingly more time behind the counter in the fly shop, assisting customers and scurrying around as most shop rats do, as there’s never a dull moment when you have to squeeze 75% of your annual business into three summer months.  As I’ve said many times here and to everyone I meet, the RIGS team is an amazing collection of family business owners, fly fishing and whitewater raft guides, and extremely knowledgeable shop personnel.  We worked together, fished together, partied together.  I resigned my position with RIGS earlier this fall. I didn’t know until recently that the Pattersons had written this blog post on the RIGS website upon my departure.  I will never forget where I got my start as a tenkara guide.  Thank you, everyone, for a wonderful experience.  I’m going to miss you!

Throwin' down with the RIGS guide crew and owner, Tim Patterson,
at our favorite haunt in Ridgway...Colorado Boy Brewery.

One of the reasons I made the very difficult decision to leave RIGS was a need to stay closer to home to fulfill my responsibilities as the newest member of Zen Tenkara, a Loveland, Colorado, based company.  Zen made their public announcement of this recently, and I’ve been busy ever since!  I’m honored that Zen asked me to climb aboard, and I’m looking forward to what the future will bring!  Our team at Zen shares a common vision, focused on defining American tenkara and the enjoying the tenkara lifestyle.

Fishing in the San Juan backcountry with Zen Tenkara owner, Karin Miller.
Enter Royal Gorge Anglers.  I’ve known RGA’s Bill and Taylor Edrington for many years.  I met Bill at his Canon City fly shop when Taylor was just a kid back in the late ‘90s.  Taylor is now a grown man, and has taken over the business, while Bill still spends quite a bit of time at the shop.  Since we moved down into town from our mountain home a couple of years ago, I think I could throw a fist-size rock and hit Taylor’s house from where ours now sits, and the two of us have a running joke that we’re responsible for 90% of the wood smoke in our neighborhood.  During a recent conversation I had with Taylor at the fly shop, he asked if I would be interested in creating and guiding tenkara trips for RGA.  In the ensuing weeks, Taylor and I put together several exciting new tenkara trip offerings for RGA, and we’re pleased to be making them public now.  Guiding tenkara trips in the canyons of southern Colorado that I know so well, for my hometown fly shop, in the company of good friends and neighbors is a wholesomely satisfying feeling.  Full circle.

So there you have it.  Changes.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.  New (but somehow old) fly shop and guide service, and new and exciting opportunities with a company that shares a common vision for American tenkara.  My tenkara has not changed, has not faltered.  My love for wild trout and lonely canyons is the same.  The same shining moon keeps looking down.


  1. Congrats & best of luck with all of the changes Paul. 2016 appears to be a big one for you!

  2. Change is good. It means you are getting on with life and not afraid of new things. It also means I get to fish new areas. See you in July.