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  1. Question Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    So I was at a stillwater fishery this morning. I got there about the same time two other gentlemen were launching their kickboats. As I was walking past them, I bid them good luck and told them to rip lips.

    I walked all the way around to the opposite side of the reservoir as far away from the parking lot as possible. I noticed that after I netted my second fish one of the fellas was heading my way on his kickboat. He got about fifty yards away and resumed fishing.

    I was working the shoreline trying to spot and stalk feeding torpedos. Neglecting to inspect my gear after the last fish (always inspect your gear!), I got broke off when I hooked up with an obese bow that is sure to die of weight complications in the near future. I walked back onto the shoreline to gear up and was off the water for probably ten minutes. Meanwhile, this guy (fella #1 going forward) pretty much fished where I was fishing. That did not bother me in the slightest. The fish were everywhere and I've dealt with far worse intrusions on the San Juan River.

    I double back and start fishing where fella #1 had been fishing. I net two more in the span of twenty minutes or so. Fella #1 heads back towards the other side of the reservoir. About twenty minutes later fella #2 shows up. Again, let me reiterate, it did not bother me, I just couldn't help but notice.

    I continue fishing and continue to see relative success (I netted +/-dozen fish total in three hours and missed several others). Fella #2 was definitely watching the technique I was using.

    Fast forward an hour or so. Fella #1 & #2 have moved to a different area. A storm starts rolling in and the thunder starts clapping. I reel up and start making tracks for the truck. As I am walking to my truck, fella #1 & #2 are standing at one of their trucks. I get within earshot of them and fella #1 starts asking me what I was using.

    We b.s. for five to ten minutes. They were both retired cops from Ohio. Everything was cool, but they were pretty aggressive on finding out what I was using and how I was using it. It kind of felt like an interrogation for a minute. I showed them the different flies I was using and pretty much let them know what was working for me. It's not like there is a shortage of trout, but it got me thinking.

    There are honey spots, honey flies, and sure fire tactics that I would not share. I've been on the San Juan and literally had three guys try to interrupt me while I'm fishing. Within thirty seconds, one of them told me they had been there for a day and a half, they were leaving town the next day and hadn't caught a thing. Had I not seen one of them doing the "San Juan shuffle" five minutes earlier, I might have been inclined to help them.

    I just told them to hire a guide and try not to tromp through somebody else's riffle.

    I was rude, I know, but they kind of rubbed me the wrong way.

    So, what is the proper ettiquette when someone is pumping you for information when you really don't feel inclined to give it up?

    Thoughts, experiences, opinions welcomed.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Southeast Pennsylvania

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    Lie. Just flat out lie .

    I was fishing a ff'ing only section of a stream this past March, and everyone
    was having great success with Zebra midges. This is a C&R stretch as well,
    and the trout seemed to get wise after a while. I switched to a chironomid
    pattern: #14 2X nymph hook; red thread body coated will clear nail polish;
    gold bead head; white antron tail and gills (short); peacock hearl thorax.
    I decided to try this as soon as I saw the crowd on the stream, and had
    great success from the first cast! I gave one to an acquaintance, and he
    immediately hooked into a HUGE brown. I've since kept very quiet about the
    pattern, but came very close to telling someone else about it two weeks ago.
    I like to give away the flies I tie, and after speaking with a guy who was getting skunked, I nearly caved. We talked until it was almost too dark to
    fish, so I just drove off without even mentioning the pattern. It's a stream
    where everyone seems to share the patterns that work, but they quickly
    stop working when everyone is using them.

    I was wading a lake a couple months ago, and a guy saw me catching fish.
    He then proceeded to splash into the water in front of me, and began
    casting a rubber minnow...LOL!!!! I thought it was more funny than anything
    else, and he began catching fish as well. We spoke after a while, and it
    turns out that he live a couple blocks away! He did the same thing to a friend
    of mine, and his reaction was anything but friendly.....

    Bottom line for me: friends and acquaintances get the info. Strangers might
    get the info, but only if it's not going to ruin my success. The stream
    I mentioned above is 50 miles each way, and I want a least one fish per
    trip .

    Here's a pic of one of three browns I caught a few weeks ago in that

    There were two other fly anglers tossing Hare's Ears within spitting distance
    of me, and they were getting nothing. They were also standing in the middle
    of a 30 foot wide stream, and I was casting my chironomid directly at the
    guy nearest me (I was standing as close to the bank as possible, and saw the
    trout swimming around both these guys ). I thought about telling them
    they might have better luck if they weren't standing next to the trout , but I liked things just as they were .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Languedoc/near montpellier
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    .Always refuse to talk to cops unless your lawyer is present!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    I usually give them a couple flies, for a get out of jail free card!!
    I don't always fly fish but when I do I prefer salt water. Stay salty my freinds

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    DryFlyGuy: I think you handled the situation well. I've seen the same general thing happen on the stillwaters I fish. When asked what I'm fishing I give out generalities, not specific patterns. I might say something like "I have been fishing chronomids under an indicator". If asked for specific patterns or depths I lie. I will only give out specific information to close fishing buddies.


  6. #6

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    the way I look at it is there are plenty of places to fish and plenty of fish to go around as long as they dont try to snug up in my spot I ussualy give people a few flies I tie all winter and some in the summer so I have plenty of flies I try to have around 50-100 of diff sizes and colors in a few patterns exp: adams elk hair caddis princes hares ear buggers and then 10-15 diff secondary patterns so I have no prob helping a fellow angler

  7. Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    Walk away! gotta go! nice chatting and good luck to you!

    Works for me!.

  8. Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    When I first started fly fishing I hit the S. Platte River near Deckers with my P.O.S. Glass rod and plastic reel combo (MSRP 15.00 USD) and a few flies the local bait chuck vendor had imported from Japan. My very existence probably would have offended most of the purist gear jockeys that now crowd my home waters.
    Fortunately for me it was a different time. I learned how to cast and how to read the water and finally how not to behave because the people on the river respected the sport enough to pass it along to me.
    When in my exuberance, ignorance or just plain frustration I would commit a mortal fishing sin someone would gently or sometimes not so gently point me in the right direction. As a result I am today a much better fisherman, and I believe a better person.
    Share what you know unreservedly and it will come back to you, your home water will be better for it.

    That being said, I do have quite a few spots that I fish that I may forget to share with every Tom Dick n Scarry on the river.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    I've never had trouble with people taking advantage of the situation. If they ask, I tell them. I've been known to tie a furled leader on their line, and help them get it going, with a handful of proven flies. There's so much water, so many fish, why be ugly? Life's just way too short for that.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Default Re: Sharing information on the water: what is the proper ettiquette?

    I'm sure all of us would go out of there way to help a newbie or kid get into fish, and I'm sure we invited other folks to share a stretch of stream or given a few flies or pointers to others that would help them hook up.

    But folks that move in on your space uninvited or try grilling you about what you're using and what you're doing just rub me the wrong way and i tend to shut down. Sometimes it seems the more technical the stream and the more expensive the gear guys are wearing the more it happens. It almost seems like it would be worth carrying one of those "Dial-A-Fly" (12 poorly tied flies for a dollar or whatever) things for those occasions so you can show folks your secret fly and pull out a big fat bumble bee.

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