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Etiquette for fly fishing

2276 Views 32 Replies 22 Participants Last post by  Poopy McButtfart
I am just starting out and wanted to know the proper etiquette for fly fishing.
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Here is an article I pieced together with some great input from WFF members. Not right on point to your basic question, but maybe worthy of a read:

As to etiquette specifics, they vary from type of water to type of fishing to location itself. Some basic thoughts I have are these:
  • Silence is golden - less sound is better. No loud conversations, radio chatter or phone calls while on the water.
  • Keep your distance - on a lake, just because someone is getting into fish you should not kick through or anchor up in their area. Fish move, find some.
  • Don't post up - on a river, keep moving. Many fish upriver for trout and downriver for steelhead. Posting up blocks anyone else from following through water you've fished. Keep moving, or let others know you are going to post up and let them pass through.
  • Know what he's doing before stepping into a run - when you arrive and someone is fishing, know what he's doing before stepping in. Is he moving up or down? Moving into water that someone else is in is not a big deal when you come in behind that person. Coming into a run in front of them (low holeing) is not.
  • If I can cast to you - well, then you are probably too close. Fisheries are different and some are known for bigger crowds and more tolerance. You should know by the effort it took to get there if you are at one of these or at a more remote place where those you will find there likely value peace, quiet, space and maybe even not seeing anyone else.

I'm sure some will disagree, others will have more ideas. This is a cool question, and perhaps one that, once run through everyone's input, might make a good article.
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There is none. All fisherman are assholes. They only give in if you are bigger and meaner.
I am just starting out and wanted to know the proper etiquette for fly fishing.
Wear expensive waders and bitch about them leaking. Alot. Cheap waders that don't leak make your butt look fat and flyfishermen hate that.
mumbles: Thank you for the information. What is posting up? So it is adviseable to start up stream and then work down, following the angler downstream? What happens if you don't want to move and someone else is moving? Do you follow downstream?

I ask this question becasue I don't want to be rude.
Dont call old man Jim, young man Jim. Do call Mumbles Mumblelina.
Don't crowd people and avoid popular spots where lots of people fish. Do this and etiquette will not even be an issue.
Chef, posting ie. being a fence post, means standing in one spot for a long time and not moving. The best way to approach a run with someone already in it is to have a polite conversation with them and ask them which way they are moving and if they mind if you'd drop in behind them (which ever way that is). Tell them you are just getting back into the sport and they may even share some knowledge or flies with you. This is increasingly rare these days but you never know. If you are the one already there, make the first move and strike up a conversation and say something like "Hey, I'm (doing XYZ) and don't mind if you (do XYZ)." If you want to stand in one spot for a while, then let them know it's ok to go around you. Have fun and welcome back to fly fishing!
Behave like you would at an
Opera or Major Golf Championship.
Quite and reserved with polite comments
like "well done chap" and "tough break sport"
are ok. Never swear...don't laugh and point at the
guy next to you who can only cast 3 feet out. Take time
to enjoy the flora and fauna....be one with your surroundings,
unless you are fishing for Kings on the Skok.

Wader flatulence is a major plus, along with chewing-but not smoking-your cigar. Periodically you also want to wax the moustache. You also want to work on the English accent, but only use a Scottish one if you're fishing a Spey while wearing tweeds. You can also refer to Mumbles as the Doctor of Mumbology, per Orangeradish!
Freestone: Thank you. If someone is wading into the water, should I wade in and have that conversation?
Sent you a pm.

If you supply lunch and make your way up north to the Skagit in the next month or two I'll show you a bit of SRC fishing with etiquette thrown in for free.

Welcome to WFF and don't mind the jokesters; it wouldn't be WFF without a few smart asses
I let another Fly fisher step down below me on the N/F Stilly one time and damn if he didn't camp there. I mean he didn't move. Since then If there are more than one person fishing ahead of me I just go someplace else. For one thing there is one hell of a lot of water that doesn't even get touched.

No, you shouldn't wade into another's hole as it is bad manners. Stand on shore and ask.
Sent you a pm.

If you supply lunch and make your way up north to the Skagit in the next month or two I'll show you a bit of SRC fishing with etiquette thrown in for free.

Welcome to WFF and don't mind the jokesters; it wouldn't be WFF without a few smart asses
What, you have to be brand new to get that kind of treatment. Kerry, i'd buy you a rockstar and a heat lamp burrito, toilet paper you supply, for the same deal. Deal?
Welcome aboard mate.
"Walk softly and carry a big stick" You'll get more respect.
The quiet part only works if you are being skunked, if you're hook'in up YEEHAA, FISH ON, HOT DAMN I've hooked another.
I personally like to fish alone and I know how the have a lake to myself, even if some poachers were there first.
Hey, Chef,

It's good of you to ask this question before you head out. You'll develop a feel for etiquette as you encounter different fishing situations. Most of the time, it's as simple as giving others their space. When that's not easily possible (salmon fishing and some steelhead fishing come to mind), just respect those around you, and don't get too upset when they don't return the favor. Life's too short to get bent out of shape over a bunch of kegged-up, freaked-out, tight-lipped fish.

Here's a general rule that I apply to most of my fishing: If I'm fishing for steelhead and there's somebody else fishing the same water when I arrive, I always start fishing above them and follow them through the run. First crack at the water definitely gives you an advantage, but you can sometimes pick up steelhead while fishing behind others in the same piece of water. NEVER move in below someone fishing for steelhead (unless they come out and tell you it's OK to do so).

If I'm fishing for salmon, there will almost assuredly be others (often many others) fishing around me. In those situations, I find my own little combat spot and do the best I can. Here's where the patience of a saint keeps you from going insane.

If I'm fishing for trout and I see another fly fisher in the water I planned on fishing, I move to a different place on the river. My reasoning here is that once trout have been fished over, a given pool, riffle, run, pocket, etc. needs to be "rested" for a reasonable length of time (longer than I want to wait) before it will be productive again. Since fewer people are around on trout streams (at least the ones I fish), I usually opt to find my own water and let the angler who was there first enjoy fishing that stretch. I figure I can always fish that stretch another day. OR: If you are really set on fishing that stretch, take off for a while, do something else, and come back. Almost always, the water will be yours for the taking, and the fish will again be ready to eat.

When in doubt, ask questions. If nobody is around, you make the rules. SWEET!
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To even think about asking about etiquette at this stage of his fly fishing career places Chef in a class by himself! Never heard of anyone doing that before. Welcome aboard!

Best way to learn these unspoken rules is to put your fancy leaking waders on and wet a fly with a member or three from the board. Much easier to see and do, then it is to read.
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