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  1. #1

    Default Is courtesy dead on the river?

    I probably should have known better than to head to a popular delayed harvest section in my area on a Saturday of a holiday week, but I wanted to get an hour on the water before having to run errands and settle into the evening football games. I got to the river shortly after 8am, on a 37º but clear morning. No one in sight as I drove to where I parked. The plan was to start slightly above my car and work the bank down through a couple small drops, maybe a total of 250 yards. As I worked downstream about a third of the way through the section I had intended to fish, I looked up to see another fisherman walking into the river just 20 yards down from me, effectively cutting off my access downstream. There was no other person in view, a quarter mile or so up and downstream. He spoke something to me as he stepped into the water, I cussed under my breath and fished the small area I was now left.

    Now I know there are times and places where if you don't work into a crowd you might never get to fish. But on an empty section of river, in my mind he should have left for another place as soon as he saw me. So is all courtesy gone in fly fishing? In my mind, ethics among flyfishermen is of the highest order in all of the fishing world. Maybe that has faded as the popularity of flyfishing has grown, or maybe it's just a phenomenon of delayed harvest stocked waters. I know and have experienced people walking into an area I was fishing before, especially on Cherokee Tribal waters, but those were spin or bait guys.

    Perhaps the solution is to stay away from the busy weekend days. It's a big river, certainly we can leave each other a respectful amount of space. What do you think?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Franklin, West Virginia

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    I think most fly fishermen think your fishing upstream, then again sometimes people are lonely, then again some don't give a darn. In order not to ruin your day pick up and move somewhere else, you can let him know he cut you off though but that could escalate.

  3. Likes JoJer liked this post
  4. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Ontario, Canada

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    That just happened to me last week as well, I hiked well over a km into a spot and began working my way down through a run and waddaya know some bozo walks in and parks his ass right where I am swinging through. I just kept working the run as if he wasnt there, by the time I was right under his nose I was almost smacking him in the face with my double speys he finally got up and walked upstream. Some people just don't bother to ask... laziness, stupidity, or ignorance, I have no idea, but I think it happens everywhere.

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Portland and Maupin, Oregon

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    Just because a guy has a fly rod in his hand doesn’t mean he isn’t ignorant of stream etiquette. I’d have a friendly chat with him an try to enlighten him. It’s a teachable moment, or not...

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  7. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Northern Colorado

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    This is why I work upstream. If I run into an angler above me, no problem, I walk around him and carry on untill I am out of his sight and continue fishing.

    It seems everyone likes to start upstream and work their way back to their cars. That's fine, but I like to do the opposite so my walk back is not interrupted by fishing. I may never get home if I do that. Then again, I may see why you all do it that way now, ha ha.

    It's beginning to be a dog eat dog world out there in the water. So you can either join in, or confront the other person, or just shrug it off and go elsewhere. Colorado is getting that way here on the Front Range, it's a bit more difficult to find a nice area where there's no one fishing or swimming with all of America moving here. But that's another topic for another day.
    The only thing human kind ever learned through history, is that through history, human kind has learned nothing.

  8. Likes hairwing530 liked this post
  9. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    south of Joplin

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    There was no more courtesy 60 years ago than there is today or tomorrow, those artificial rules and etiquettes are for club/private beats and never have applied to public waters.
    The good news is by the time you take a coffee break and water the trees he will have gone away and you can still catch all the fish he frightened under a rock.
    I have successfully fished behind swimmers, canoers, kayakers, horse bathers, plug casting anglers and bait fishers, five minutes rest and the fish are usually back to normal. You could have simply reeled in, walked by him and continued to fish.

    Just think how upset he must have been to find you in "his" hole.

  10. Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    I guess it depends on the water your fishing, I found for the most part on the trout rivers here in Michigan folks try to be courteous, that even applies to the Rifle river for me. Many people comment that canoers and kayakers are very discourteous on the this river, but I have been pleasantly surprised by how nice people are. I have also found that the guides and boat fishermen on the ausable river make a special effort to not disturb my fishing, there were 3 or 4 boats that came through a spot I was fishing during a caddis hatch, with fish visibley rising all of them worked with me to disturb the fish I was working on! I know that all Gates lodge and all the other guides and lodges in the area make a point of being courteous, and I believe in doing the same.

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  12. #8

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    I'd of given him the benefit of the doubt and just leap frogged past him the same space he gave you. If he in turn leaps past you down stream, then it's game on.

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  14. #9

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    Anymore in that situation I just bite my lip, say nothing and try my best to continue on. Just because someone is a fly fisherman that does not make him/her a good person. It can happen and it's just not worth getting shot over. When I was a kid road rage meant honking your horn, flipping someone off and both parties went their separate ways. Today it means one guy follows the other, pulls up beside him and shoots him simply because, he got cut off in traffic. Not worth getting shot over and being left for dead in a cold river somewhere.

  15. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    L'Étoile du Nord

    Default Re: Is courtesy dead on the river?

    I`m just going to leave this here, the only trouble I've had on the river with fly fishermen, is newbies trying to figure out how I`m catching fish and encroachment eventually this leads to discussion and some fly exchanges and friendly conversation.

    The other is centerpin and nymphers that continually low hole. When I am dry fly fishing or swinging streamers I cast at a distance up to seventy feet and they cant get their head around that I`m not fishing ten feet in front of me.

    With all due respect I did encroach on one gentleman this year, that I didn't see and the river was loud so I couldn't hear him, I looked up and seen him up river a ways. I greeted him and apologized and I always ask, are you going up or down, he was kind and said fish it, more than enough room, which I did and moved in the opposite direction.

    I have noticed a trend where literally people are racing out of the parking access literally running up and down the bank to fish holes first, which makes me laugh because they spook everything make 5 drifts and keep running, maybe they are not understanding the whole fly fishing concept.

    Ive caught more large trout after a watching a couple anglers flog an area for a short time and ran off, normally I`ll just keep walking unless its a nice stretch of familiar water, I`ll have a beverage and a snack and wait, twenty minutes later the trout start to rise again.

    And then you get the old guy where you ask are you fishing up or down and he says I was here first and I`m fishing all of the river today angrily and I just walk off laughing. Yeah good luck with that buddy.

    The truth of the matter is that I`ll leave an area just so you won't see me there and I hate getting caught in any good spot. Thankfully I have lots of room and most people don't make it a hundred yards from the truck.

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