The perfect suitability for backcountry mountain stream fly fishing, THAT'S what first attracted me to tenkara. I can credit Ryan Jordan for it when he came out with his joint venture, the BackpackingLight/Tenkara USA Hane rod, my first tenkara rod. Several other extremely knowledgeable folks have had a big influence on my skills and learning since then. I'm writing a magazine article about that very subject as you're reading this. However, tenkara's attributes don't stop at small mountain stream fishing. I've successfully fished high lakes with a tenkara rod and techniques. The overall technique on high lakes is pretty much the same as it is with a western fly rod. You're casting to cruisers. I have chosen a longer 6:4 rod for high lakes, which will also double as my big river rod (think the Arkansas, or the river I dream of packrafting and fishing...the S. Fork Flathead River).
Yes, you can fish nymphs with a tenkara rod although it is a departure from traditional tenkara techniques. I've done it with weighted nymphs for browns in local creeks. It works great. Your ability to keep ALL of your line off the surface of the water, with only the tippet used, lends itself nicely to nymphing. The long rod/short line of tenkara is perfect for both drift-free dry fly fishing and nymphing...and everything in between, because you can keep your line off the water so easily. Think "no mending". It's pretty cool!