Mike Warren is a tenkara guide in the Driftless Area of Southwestern Wisconsin, and small streams of southern LaCrosse, northern Vernon and western Monroe counties.
I have been using Tenkara USA products since 2012 and integrated tenkara into my guiding offering in 2014 as I saw the growth of tenkara taking off. People truly enjoy the simplicity of tenkara and even some that are very traditional Western rig folks have come around to the idea. Our Driftless region streams are perfect for the accuracy and direct connect theory of tenkara fishing. For me, I was originally introduced to tenkara via some YouTube videos and saw it as an alternative to western fishing in our cold winter months. 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 and truly improve my skills. Today, I use tenkara equipment about 60% of the time when fishing myself and more and more when guiding.
I started guiding in the Driftless area in 2009 after chuckling that many visitors fished only the most recognizable waters and heavily fished locations with obvious and easy access points. I enjoy sharing our beautiful area, know a lot of other water here and like helping people catch some fish so a small business opportunity was born. Originally thinking about 20 days a year would be fun – I now guide two or three days a week over a six month season and still get a charge out of showing off our area. As I move closer to retirement from my other business I’m looking forward to guiding near full time during our April through September season. I truly enjoy the interaction with people and helping them become better fisherman while being committed to being a fishing “buddy” rather than an instructor. I try to make every experience unique by matching streams to a clients physical abilities and fishing experience. We offer more upscale meals, have a variety of loaner/rental equipment and always pick you up in a clean and well equipped vehicles. It’s a heck of a way to make a few dollars and as one of my clients recently said while we stood knee deep in a beautiful stream “Mike, I gotta say — I love your office” In the end, we are a guide service but it could be said we are just as much Driftless tour guides