Mike Warren is a tenkara guide in the Driftless Area of South Western Wisconsin, and small streams of southern LaCrosse, northern Vernon and western Monroe counties.
I have been using tenkara USA products for about two years and integrated it into my guiding in 2013 as an option to western rigs. I have found that people truly enjoy the simplicity even those that have some deeper western rig experience. The skinny streams here are a perfect site to use the application. I was originally introduced to tenkara via some YouTube video and seeing your products in the Orvis catalogs. I ordered a “kit” through them as an alternative to what I had experienced fishing in the winters in NE Iowa to avoid line guide freeze and the general issues that come with winter fly fishing and western rigs. The following Spring I was hooked and continued to use tenkara more and more and found it was a wonderful way to catch more fish from given stream segments as there is far less water disruption, fewer spooked fish and more fun in tight surroundings. Now, I probably use tenkara 50% of the time when fishing myself and even more when guiding. Plus, I continue to be a tenkara sponge through reading, YouTube and experiencing things on my own…
I am now in my fifth year of guiding in the Driftless area. I started after recognizing that many people visiting the area fished only the most recognizable waters on the map and at locations with obvious and easy access points. It leaves plenty of other water to fish… I saw a small business opportunity and decided to guide a maximum of 20 days a year so as not to disturb my enjoyment of fishing AND not to conflict with my full time career in the golf industry as a 1099 contract sales representative and consultant. I now am moving closer and closer to semiretirement from that business and transitioning to guiding near full time during our May through September season. Although I will remain modestly active in golf most of my business is done in the fall and early spring in person and over the phone and via email etc during the summer. It is an easy balance and I am trending to do roughly 45/50 days in the streams in 2014 with a goal of 60/70 or more in 2015. I truly enjoy the interaction with people and helping them become better fisherman while having a great time myself. I try hard to make the experience unique, friendly and high end through more upscale meals and the use of exceptionally clean and well equipped SUV. Its a heck of a way to make a few dollars and as one of my clients recently