River Right or Left Who Really Decides?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by James Waggoner, Dec 29, 2013.

?
  1. River Right (by preference)

    15.8%
  2. River Right (for other reasons)

    7.9%
  3. River Left (by preference)

    10.5%
  4. River Left (for other reasons)

    10.5%
  5. About Even

    55.3%
  1. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

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    River Right or left? I've thought about this for years and have my reasons/theories, which I'll share along the way.
     
  2. underachiever

    underachiever !

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    Since I don't have a boat the side of the river I fish from is dictated by which side of the river I have access to. If I'm able to wade across the river I'll pick right or left based on the water conditions.
     
  3. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I thought you were asking who decides which bank of the river is the right bank and left bank. I see that you're not. BTW, it was USGS who decided that right and left bank is determined by looking downstream. Some competing engineers wanted to do it by looking upstream. They lost the naming skirmish.
     
  4. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

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    Basically thinking back on your times on the river which direction is the river traveling...river right or left? Visualize your favorite runs to fish predominately which way is the flow?

    There is no wrong or right answer...but my decision is often dictated by other factors other than my preference and more times than not it's river right.

    Personally if I'm facing the water "which way is it moving?" just makes more since. It's interesting there was a debate at one time.

    James
     
  5. Red Arch

    Red Arch Active Member

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    For me I find myself fishing on the side that is easiest to access.

    There are a few cases were I will find myself on River left, but most cases I have access river right.
     
  6. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

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    Sounds like your pretty fortunate to have equal access...roads and trails down either side of the river. Most the rivers I find myself fishing have predominately right bank access.

    What's funny is other than the Sandy, even when I float a river I find myself on the right bank slightly more often...it must be a sub-conscience leaning.

    James
     
  7. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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    Depends on the position of the sun, structure, and right(s) of way. That being said, I answered "about even" but prefer to fish river left.
     
  8. Pat Lat

    Pat Lat Mad Flyentist

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    I primarily fish a single hander and am right handed so if I fish dries upstream I like to be on river right so that my back cast is clear, if fishing down and across streamers then left gives me more casting space. Czech nymphing is pretty much dabbing so about equal. I base this only on a few rivers that are easily waded across, on bigger rivers I get whats there.
     
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  9. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    Which ever side has the best water in the section of river I choose to fish that day.

    I didn't vote 'cause it doesn't matter which side of the river the good water is on.
     
  10. Blake Harmon

    Blake Harmon Active Member

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    Never even thought about it. But when im in the boat I go where the water dictates. As far as swinging bugs for steelhead, if I really think about it. Most the runs I fish are excellent from both sides. And also there is access from both sides so I guess it just depends on which side I feel like fishing haha
     
  11. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

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    Whether it matters or not or your methodology for deciding aside, I was just curious to know statistically where do you end up. In reality it is probably not a 50/50 split. The poll is simple, where do you end up most of the time, was it by choice or circumstance? Your explanation/contribution is welcomed so thanks to all who choose to participate.

    What's really telling is when reviewing an old fishing journal and looking at pictures, lost or landed, most were from river right.

    If you'd rather talk "Yarnies" I understand.

    James
     
  12. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    About even. My methodology is very simple. I fish where there's good water.
     
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  13. James Waggoner

    James Waggoner Active Member

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    The poll is not about where the good water is, I think I speak for all that find themselves confined to one bank or the other, that they seek the best water available to them.

    Durning my lunch I often fish a run very close to where I work...time only permits me to fish an hour or so, so I fish quite frequently the same run. It's a beautiful run that not only fishes best from the right bank it produces fish on occasion...it is a fine way to spend a lunch break. There is a closer river left spot but it usually has a couple anglers already in it as I slow down and take a peek...so circumstances put me river right.

    While fishing the kalama, access keeps me predominately river right. Most of the Washougal is accessed river right. Those that claim they are always balanced while fishing, left to right, do you forgo fishing rivers of limited access or only do so while boating?

    It really does matter to me what side of the river the good water is on as I don't spend much time swinging flies through runs better fished from the opposite side.

    Personally I'll fish a less desirable run that's been vacant then "good water" that's being pounded, with lots of traffic.

    I'll also specifically decide to fish one bank or the other based on the casting techniques I want to work on.

    James
     
  14. underachiever

    underachiever !

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    It just depends on the river. I fish the Wilson (Oregon coast) frequently and depending on flows I know where I can wade across. If it's too high, or too cold to risk taking a swim then it's primarily a left bank deal, although it's a windy river so there is decent right bank access in spots.

    On the Clackamas there's reasonable access to either side but I find myself gravitating to the same handful of places that are all left bank.

    99% of my time on the deschutes and rogue has been right bank.

    It's a topic I've never really considered much but I am 100% certain that when I don't have access to the opposite bank I'd surely catch a fish in the sweet run that's out of reach!
     
  15. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    James, I don't find myself fishing one side of the river over another. I don't even think about it. I rarely work on my casting and have no issues casting from either side of the river. I, sometimes, will fish a side based on conditions outside of "good water". I will fish a certain side of the river if the wind is blowing but I am also comfortable casting off of either shoulder so wind isn't really a big consideration. I guess I don't understand the poll.