Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Take The Leap, Be River Courteous...

Fall fishing.  What most of us fly fishers wait for all year long.  Oh sure, the summer days were nice and toasty and the hatches were a lot of fun to match.  But, now comes the crisp fall days that I in particular, love so much.  I will take a 50 degree day over an 80 degree day anytime!  And when the browns are in there pre-spawn mode and starting to wag their tails and fins a bit more, it is a heck of a lot of fun.  But, it is also this time of year that people seem to "crowd" a bit more too.  I have never figured that one out.  Why someone would want to be so close to another when there are miles and miles of river.  And recently, I have noticed a few frogs on the battle line.  Let me show you.

Here is the leap frog.  He sees what he thinks is his "competition" and he doesn't bat an eyelash to jump right in front of the angler working the run in front of him.  He doesn't care if the other angler is slowly, but surely taking a few steps downstream and has a plan in the making.  Be courteous.  Find a spot two holes down or at least 100 yards from the guy who is moving along, singin' a song.  

Ok.  So a guy is sitting in your favorite hole when you arrive at the river.  What are you going to do about it?  Start ranting and raving like Jim Carey?  Or worse yet, just hang over him until your tongue reaches the end of his rod to physically move it?  No, No, No, No.  This is when you put yourself in his place, mentally.  Of course you would want your privacy for a little while too.  And when you come back, he will probably be more than gracious to give you his spot since he had it for long enough. (One could hope)  Honestly, 30 min is long enough... My rule of thumb anyway... Take it for what it is worth.  And I can find new water if he needs two hours (no kidding, I've seen some).  There is always fish... EVERYWHERE!  Another tactic to combat this problem.  Always have three special go-to places on a river that you can go-to in case of a "crowd"...  Rotation is the name of the game...  And everyone should learn how to play.  But, again, it's not worth growing a wart over if they don't.  I'm good at Solitaire...

Now, if the guy is untangling a big ol' mess and just standing there doing it, there isn't any reason why you couldn't ask him if you can take 5-10 min in the area until he is ready.  He did get their first, so he has the right of way.  Some will let you in and others won't.  And there is nothing wrong with a loaner space if you have the nod to do so.  I have even made new friends this way.  I'm a bit slow on the tying of flies onto my line.  So, there have been times where I stood back and invited someone to fish the hole while I got my act together.  And maybe I was lucky, I don't know... but, they kindly let me stand back in when I was ready again to cast my line in.  Just a random thought... And another scenerio, if I go with a buddy fishing, there is sometimes enough room for me to fish the tailout with my nymphing while he works the top riffle of the run.  It's all about using "good" communication skills and being thoughtful and knowing when you can share a run and when it's better to move along.

So, turn that frown upside down.  What is the number one rule when you go out to fish?  It's the golden rule of course!!  Treat others like you would like to be treated.  And it's much easier to follow this rule if you have on your good attitude face.  Fly fishing is supposed to be about enjoyment.  Breathing in the fresh air.  Kicking up your heels and taking that mile or two walk.  Listening to nature and investigating what goes on around it.  Take the time.  Enjoy the moment.  The grass can be greener on the other side if you work at it.  So, keep moving if you don't like where you are at!  And if you are on the opposite side of the fence and holding on to a spot... give it up if you have caught your allotment to the frog that at least asked.  It will give you good karma.  

Let's all be good sports... = )  There is plenty of room for all of us.

I believe that there is an 80/20 chance that the rude behavior of some frogs is completely unintentional, possibly done with inexperience. So forgive and move on.   And the other 20%?  They will probably have a tough swallow of their own medicine someday, so don't worry about it.

In Conclusion:  RD's Rules of Etiquette

  • If you come upon an angler fishing... walk either 50-70 yards up or below the angler in question.   You won't be able to hear him swear at the fish that he lost.  He won't see your secret fly that you tied the night before that is going to rock your world.  Everyone has their space to enjoy.
  • There isn't an alarm clock on how long an angler can sit on a spot in the river.  Sometimes I think there should be.  But, if I don't like it... I can always set my alarm clock a little earlier.  And if we don't like the guy "high or low holding" on a run that we are fishing too, all you have to do is move to the next run and start catching left and right and scream "FISH!"  "FISH!"  Lol.  You know that I'm just kidding... don't you?  = )
  • If you have two frogs that are fishing 50-100 yards from each other, don't wedge yourself in between them!  Let's just say that you will have eyes from both peeled on you...and they might be squinty.
  • Keep your distance from that angler that is fishing if you don't know him.   Don't walk up briskly to start a chat.  He could very well be in tune with fish that are feeding close to the bank.  Just try to keep some distance and if he wants to chat, he will turn around.
  • Don't jump in, don't jump over, be polite.  You can always ask what direction they are going and go the opposite way.
  • R-E-S-P-E-C-T

PS:  You can usually share my run if you have Nutter Butter cookies and a Diet Coke.  = )



  1. This is one reason I have not fished the Green in many years and avoid the Provo like a disease. Give me a nice piece of isolated mountain stream, private water, or a seldom fished section of the Weber.

    1. Wes, is that you? I too avoid way crowded water. But, the Weber is getting that way too it seems. More journeys out to find some new water. You never know when you will find a gem!

  2. I avoid other fisher people at all cost. Sometimes going upstream will solve the problem, but mostly going down the road works best! When people do not like company, it makes them choose another river for their next trip. I usually, mostly walk a ways and fish alone...I do have friends on the river and we have no problem with sharing.

    1. Hey James! It's like I said. Where there is a will, there is a way. You just can't sit around and wait around for someone to move. Certain individuals like to hold their spot in spite of you! I have a friend that catches 30+ fish every time out. And he is always moving...

  3. Well done Emily. Best post award. I agree with utahtu. The name of the game for me is small streams and that's exactly the reason why. I do fish some larger waters, but even then, the places I go don't see the pressure of the named big rivers.

    1. Thanks, Howard! That is a way big compliment coming from the master writer! I will join up with you next year on that small stream of yours. Save me a place... And it doesn't have to be 50 yards. Haha. We''re friends. 40 will do. = )

  4. Proper etiquette is to simply ask a fisherman whether they are working upstream or downstream and fish the opposite direction.