If Robert Fulghum was a fly fisher he might have said, "The lack of etiquette can
greatly reduce the joys of fishing." Or as Grandmother used to say, "There is just no
excuse for bad breeding." Unless you really were born in a barn, there is no excuse
for bad manners. That applies in spades when fishing - and not just fly fishing either. If
you want to have a terrific time fishing, you can insure the quality of your experience
by learning a few things you should practice.
So you drive a couple of hours to your favorite stream. Park the rig, assemble
your gear and wade upstream to your favorite spot.
Never wade for any distance in the water. The sediment stirred up can put the fish
downstream off for the rest of the day. And lots of insects are scrunched in the
process. Get out of the water and attempt to walk near the stream - but avoid
unnecessarily trampling the banks and growth.
Do not walk from pool to pool, or riffle to riffle in the water. Avoid using the
stream as a path.
Someone fishing in "your" favorite spot? Don't jump in. You might say something
like, "Hi, how's it going?" If the person replies, (and conversation is optional) you
might ask if anyone if fishing upstream. If there is no response, keep going. How far?
As far as you could fish in half an hour. Or a minimum of 100 yards.
Really want to fish "that" spot? Find a place to sit, relax, contemplate your navel,
and wait until that person moves on. You do not have exclusive right to any piece of
water unless you own the deed to it. And sometimes not even then.
If you are on a body of water, and someone nearby is playing a fish, reel your line
in and yield way to the person with the fish on. You may encounter this situation on
rivers, in estuaries, and beaches on salt water."Mom Told You"
Never attempt to land someone's fish for them if they have not asked you to help.
You do not want the responsibility of losing some guys 'lifetime' fish.
Do not offer suggestions on what kind of fly to use unless asked. It is downright
amazing what fish will hit on. If you have good luck and a fellow angler isn't, you might
say, "This Chickenhole Special really seems to be working, I have an extra if you
would like to try it." Mean it, or don't say it.
Respect others property rights. That means fences and gates. Close all gates
behind you. No trespassing means NO trespassing. You can find out who owns the
property and ask permission. Most folks will happily say yes! However, no really
Anything packed in, whether it is food, drinks or smokes, is packed out. Aldo Leopold
once said, "Take only pictures, leave only footprints." That also means butts and
matches. Don't tolerate liter. Maybe you didn't leave it, pick it up anyway and pack it
We see many kids on the streams and beaches. Watch your manners and
language. Kids learn by example too.
Unless you are the President of the United States, leave your cell-phone and
beeper in the vehicle. There is no place for cell-phones, radios, boomboxes, or worse
yet beepers on the river or stream. Your rights are your rights only if they do not
infringe on the rights of others. Fishing ought to be an enjoyable experience for all.
Don't spoil it for others.
And What if . . ."
Just in case you end up in a situation where some ignorant clod violates any of the
"rules" above, explain as politely as possible their error. It sometimes works. Maybe
no one ever told them about angling manners.
If the clod decides his or her fishing is more important than yours, do not stoop to
their level of clodsmanship. Move on. You probably won't catch anything with the clod
(or clodette) there, and the stress of having to be around such people isn't worth it.
We fish to reduce stress, not to pile on more stress. A little common sense
consideration goes a long way.
Tradition is a work in progress - it is not inherited. ~ The LadyFisher
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