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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Y'know, it can get damn crowded on certain waters at times - to the point where some measure of close-encounter is almost unavoidable. Fortunately, I tend to gravitate to completely opposite circumstances. Still, it seems some people, no matter how congested or not congested situations are, have no regard for giving others a given radius within which to ply the waters. I mean, to my way of thinking, if I can reach an encroaching angler with an easy double-haul, that individual is TOO FRIGGIN CLOSE. If that individual is casting and presenting into an area I can also reach with an easy double-haul, THAT is way too friggin close.

I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume that per chance they may truly be oblivious and/or ignorant. I believe some people may really have no concrete concept of on-water etiquette, but the word needs to definitely become better spread. To that end, I am very interested to find what the conscience of this fine group has to report...

I just think that everybody has a right to their own plot of undisturbed water, and that it is everybody's responsiblity to ensure this condition. Don't ask what the experience can do for you - ask what you can do for the experience type thing...

Any thoughts?

:beer2
 

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Great topic. With the rivers opening up soon, etiquette on the water is a huge part of the game. First off, Low holing, Don't do it, ever! Unless the person is a member of team rugged, then, and only then, low hole the hell out of 'em. If you come apon a good stretch of water that someone is already fishing, wait your turn. Go to the head of the run and take a break. After the angler has moved down far enough(casting range), enter the water. I could go on for pages, but I won't. Second, If drifting from a boat, Give waders the right of way, Don't cast into the water in front of them as you drift by. Same go's for waders, if a boat is pulled up in a hole, don't assume you can fish the same water from the bank. Ask first. When I fish with my buddies, we Ro-sham-bo(rock, paper, sissors) for first cast. The loser waits his turn for the winner to move down. I usually let the person get 10-15 casts before I enter the water and fish. Damn, I could go on and on and on. I'll let someone else pick up where I left off and add some tips. YT :smokin
 

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Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
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If you have any info on what is good stuff for new drift boaters I'd like to hear. I'm pretty good with the wading stuff, but alas I think I'm pretty guilty of bad behavior in a boat (very new to drifting). I saw a referece to low holing (which I did last week, sorry!), but as for other things, like how far to pass someone, I'm still pretty ignorant.

-- Cheers
-- James
 

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If I'm passing by waders, I have everyone in the boat pull up their lines. No need to fish through the only water that a bank angler can access as you pass by on your 11 mile float. Also, don't pull in 20 feet below a bank angler. Give them the space and keep moving.

I think the best rule of thumb is to be aware of the anglers down stream and try to be as unobtrusive as possible. That can be difficult as you pass through skinny water, but shouldn't cause any great consernation as long as your not fishing through it as well.

Calvin
 

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Out of curiosity for you drift boaters, do you tend to pass behind the wader or infront of. I appreciate that most boats go behind me, but I have almost been knocked of my feet by poor oarsmanship....so I tend to back out and let them pass for my own peace of mind.

Jim W
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Guilty!

Last year I saw a flyfisherman casting along a little run I always liked. The current is kinda strong and it favors nymphing. I continued up the bank and around a corner to start working my way downstream. I had no idea that the other guy was actually working his way UPSTREAM! When I realized my gaff I apologized and split. I probably spooked all his fish and then waded down on top of his water. I learned that I shouldn't assume that everyone fishes/wades the same way I do and that it pays to ask a fellow angler what his plan is before ruining his experience. You have to give people room to make their mistakes but, don't be shy about enlightening a novice if they don't realize that they are impacting your enjoyment. I think the guy let me off easy but I still feel a little guilty about the whole thing.
 

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When it comes to the moving water, I'm completely with ******. I always defer to the person already fishing and give then their stretch of water.

When it comes to stillwater fishing, things get complicated rather quickly. With people trolling from boat, pontoon boat, or float tube, it's hard to see behind--close quarter situations often arise. Heck, I have enough problems avoiding the bank and outcropping fallen logs! Here, understanding of the situation is necessary, and grace must become a part of etiquette.

Of course, if a person is stationary and working a piece of water, then I have to agree with Wildram007 and keep one long or two short casting distances away. Still, as I said before, it's hard to see behind oneself when trolling in a float tube. When I see people trolling a little blindly towards me, I will always give them the heads-up to minimize potential embarassment. I have always found the response to such warnings very much appreciated--myself included. Above all, I feel graciousness is the key to civility on and off the water.
 

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What about sleepers??

What do you do if you come across someone sleepin on the river bank?? I know if its Old Man Jim I would shave off one of his eyebrows, take a picture, fish the hole, move on, then post the one eyebrow wonder pic on the web :p . Seriously though I have seen others not only sleeping but also partaking in extra curricular activities smack dead center of where my line would need to cast?? I guess those scenarios are just common sense scenarios?

This is good because pontoon'n the river is the same as driftin it so I need these types of inputs that are above...thanks :thumb :thumb

~Patrick ><>
 

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Just an Old Man
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I used to know it all---but now I forgot it all.

Yt,when did you become so nice. When we were fishing the N/Fork Stilly you almost sat in my lap.:professor

I almost had to beat you off so I could fish. I shouldn't of said beat you off as someone will probably take it as a dirty remark. But what's said is said.

I'm kind of tired today but thats another story.

Jim
 

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What about sleepers??

I always pass behind a wading angler when I am Pontoon'n, if I can. Some times, I get out and walk and rope the boat past if its too tight to row between the bank and the other angler. Sometimes I cant, but I will always just float though to not be thrashing their water with oars. When I was out this weekend, I wasnt paying attention tying knots and kicking along when I turned around and couldnt have been more than 20 yards from a float tuber that was stationary. I quietly appologized and moved through quickly. I wasnt paying attention and I felt kinda bad about it. I am always pretty vigilant about not crowding someone....as I HATE it when I get crowded out there.

But there are times when competition is fierce. I remember one day last winter on the Nooch floating along in my pontoon and my buddy took a fresh steely out a nice peice of river. We rowed the first 4 miles at a pretty god clip trying to get into this peice because by god I wanted my shot at one and I knew it would be there. I cut right in front of a drift boat jumped out of my pontoon on the rock ledge in the middle and threw out. They drifted past giving out dirty looks. I think that was about trip number 22 with no fish last winter - I was starting to loose all sense of everything. The fever was really bad that day. Shouldnt have done that to anyone. It was only my 3rd or 4th trip in from the pontoon in my Washington fishing career. WHOOPS!! J
 

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"when we were fishing the N/Fork Stilly you almost sat in my lap"

That's because you were resting on the bank. It was so rocky that I thought it would be nice and comfy to sit on you.}( :p

Sorry Jim, I couldn't resist. I bet were all guilty at one time or another. It's sort of different when your with your buddies, but that doesn't make it right. One time on the NF, I gave Rowdy a tongue lashing for low holing some guys. BUT, we can all do better and at least make an effort to respect other anglers. I think people just don't know any better, I've been guilty too. How bout a qoute, "do unto others, as you would like them to do unto you" hows that???

I'll say this, etiquette is essential on a beauty of a river like the NF stilly. So much history and lore, the old timers still get out, and I'll be damned if I see the crap that gos on on other rivers, like the Sky. If you fish this water and don't obey the code, expect a tongue lashing, and not just from me. I didn't make the rules...........I'm not saying this only about the NF, but it is a special place, so just obey the rules. If you like combat style, go to Reiter ponds. Damn, I hate my soap box. YT :smokin
 

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Just an Old Man
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What about sleepers??

I used to know it all---but now I forgot it all.

I don't really encounter to many people on the river unless it's someone that I'm with. And even then I'll give them some space. If someone is where I want to go I will just leave and come back at a later time. I don't neeed anybody to see how big of a fool I am.

Boy I can't even type any good tonight. Thank God that I read it before I send it and even then I make misteaks.

Jim
 

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When I'm drifting in my pt boat and come to a wading angler, usually I will go behing them, unless the river is large enough and I can hug the opposite bank without drifting over their water. Most of the time though I will just ask the person where they would like me to go. This eliminates any potential problems. Also, If I have a lot of water to fish, which one usually does on a float, I will ask the bank person which holes they were planning on fishing and avoid them (unless their are a lot of other people on the water). If their is a hole thay may be fished after me, I'll try to not drift over the middle of it on my way out, since fish can sometimes be really put off but an overhead boat.

The main objective of river and even lake etiquitte is to not disturb someone elses water. I've had people pass behind me when I'm wading and then go right back to the middle of the river not 15 feet below me, right over the water I'm obviously fishing. Sometimes though, there's nothing you can do. One day last fall I hiked to my private access spot on the N/fork stilly only to find a boat parked in every hole. Since I would only be fishing used water or encrouching on others, I just left without wetting a line. Humpy season on the sound rivers gets even worse than that, with bank and boat guys in almost every piece of water, but most fly fishermen will avoid those types of crowds anyways. There etiquitte takes a whole other meaning.
 

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Etiquette is everything

Usually I try never to wade in right next to someone. But, alot of times I fish near guys who are pretty locked into where they are fishing. So, if I'm going to cover the whole slot, I'll start well on top of him, then work my way around him. If there are guys already fishing by time I get there, I observe for a bit before I walk down. You can tell if they work a hole, or work the whole slot. I've never heard of working upstream. If you're stealthy enough, you should be fine working downstream if water is clear. But, in normal water conditions I fish I don't need to be too stealthy (and yes I do catch my share of fish just walking down lol).

Onto boats. I use driftboats and pontoon/catarafts. If I'm in a DB and pulling plugs, when I hit a piece of water I'd like to run through, I'll usually stop near anglers and ask if I can work through. If they say yes, I'll row back up and go on. If they say now I go through. With a cataraft, I rarely pull plugs in them. Too hard compared to a DB. But I do alot of backbouncing/sidedrifting/flydogging. So I'll cover alot of water with the boat. Same scenerio. I ask to go through. The ONLY time I don't ask is if there's a ton of people on the bank. Then, if I am told "No" or there's too many people, I simply float out near shore in front of them. Rarely is there ever enough room to go behind. Plus, you won't spook fish either way (Have caught alot of fish after a plug puller went through slot and even after sleds have went through). I prefer to be in front, that way the angler can easily see me. Easier alot of times for them to backup into shallower areas then move forward into deeper areas.

I think I've been a hole hog only a few times. Usually, it's when certain anglers' come into the hole who have been extremely rude. Plus, a good majority of the gear guys will plant in one spot anyways. Some move. But not in a system. They will just pull up and head a mile downstream. LOL.

I do have one more story. Really good one on etiquette. Several years ago my Dad and I went on our yearly salmon/steelhead trip on our favorite river system. Was fishing the slot in front of his property. There is a guide who is a real piece of work. Well, my Dad and I had a really good week. Just slaying the kings. Had limits everyday (on fly and gear). Well, had a closure on chums that year. Well, we were in the slot around mid week when this guide comes around the bend in his DB. He has 2 clients in his boat. Guess what? He has them put out their plugs as he turns the bend heading into the top of the hole. We were fishing about mid hole. He started pulling through. You won't believe what happened next. He STOPS right out in front of us and drops anchor. Leaving his plugs running just downstream from us. Literally clogging the slot. We politely asked him to move when he yells "I saw you guys keeping chums yesterday, I'll stay whereever I want". Well, that only sparked my Dad and I. Why in the world would we want to keep chums when we were easily catching kings and silvers??? Heck, we both had a couple king jacks on the bank by that time in the morning (sun had been up for only half an hour). We at that point had a "heated" discussion and offered for this guy to see our coolers for any "chums". He said some course words. We responded in kind. Then, he REFUSED to pull anchor and move. Thinking "what could we do?". Well, moron had no idea I had my small cataraft at the property. I asked him one more time to move, or he'd be sorry. He shrugged and said "Yeah, whatever". So, went back, grabbed my boat, and headed upstream a bit. Came in and lowholed him. Well, should I say, I anchored ON his plugs. LOL. I normally wouldn't do this, but he drew the line. Plus, didn't have a cell phone then, and no phones on property. He asked me to move, and I refused. He even had nerve to try and cast towards me (usually they'll drop plugs in water and let them ease into slot). I was so mad (I know, I should've let it go, but he had no right to do what he had done, and we were on private property fishing a spot that he could've easily passed through once with plugs if he would've asked). He got pissy when one of the plug rods went off. Why you may ask? Because my anchor line was probably right near his plugs, or a bit upstream of them. LOL. At that point I pulled my anchor up so my boat would free float and kept boat oared in position and moved to closest bank and back towards our property side. Guess what happened? I snagged up his plug w/o a fish and snapped off the big king near me (I got a chance to see it). He said more curse words. I told him "Man, that was a nice king, you should've seen it". He pulled anchor and moved. Shall I add, his clients weren't happy with his behavior when we first came into the slot. They had that head down look to them. I will also add this. I can't say for sure he was a guide. But had appearance. He had no markings on boat (guide license) but he had new people everyday in his boat. Plus, normally if they're friends they'll BS and have some fun. These people all seemed to just be sitting there. I know some guys guide "under the table". With his mentality, I wouldn't doubt he was one as well.
 

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When drifting crowded rivers, you also have to think about how your fishing is impacting the other boats. You have to watch this pretty hard on the Yak, especially on a weekend.

First, it's not a race to see who gets to fish all the best holes first. You aren't honor bound to pass any boat that's passed you.

Second, when you pass an anchored boat, don't pull back to the bank one cast below them; give them two or three nice drifts before you take back the bank. A guy who anchors up is deferring plenty of good drifitng, anchoring, and wading water below, to you and likely several other boats; the least you can do is leave him a few set-ups in the water he's staked out. That will also take him some more time, and help keep the leapfrogging to a minimum.

Likewise, it's not very good form to anchor directly below someone (As a rule of thumb, I don't like to anchor within twice the distance that I would go back to fishing the bank). Some spots/hatches, other situations may mitigate this proscription somewhat, but generally if someone is anchored up on or just above water you just have to fish, you should wait above. If someone is anchored on good water and someone else is waitng, it's better just to move on. And in big hatches at big, popular/productive holes, where things can get a little chummier, you still want to make absolutely sure you NEVER anchor within two or three casts of another boat.

Not very many guys live by these rules, but it's only going to get worse if more people don't start, especially with the explosion of PT boats on the river. Give the guides some slack; they're trying to make a living (not that some of them aren't the absolute picture of courtesy). But if fewer people drifted the river as if they'd made some kind of wager, the guides might feel like they could cut us all more slack too.

As a wading angler, I'm not positive I'd always want you splashing around in the skinny water behind me. Please either ask or just give me as wide a berth as possible.
:professor
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Healers - Thank you! Great input!

Alpine - I had some dudes like that at Lone one spring. On their first pass, I feigned a puzzled look of consternation. For their second pass, I called in the heavy artillery (big bugger) and triple-hauled (causes fly to go splat) an "illustrative" hey-I-might-think-to-turn-around-and-cast-to-here shot to just in front of the bow on their approach. Those guys feigned looks of puzzled consternation. They didn't come back, but I think they maybe just had no clue they were impacting my situation adversely... Hell, it wouldn't be too far out to figure they could have even thought they might be helping me out!
I think that part of the problem with multi-use waters is that the needs and concerns of different types of fishing may well vary - hence, perspectives vary. I mean, a bait soaker, for instance, may be perfectly content to have another gob of food not 10 feet from theirs. If they make a swithch to flyfishing, they might be the oblivious guy who ambles right onto presentation-range water before you. And those pop-gear trollers... I suspect that if they all knew that flyfishers have this perverse concept of keeping the water in a finite radius around them undisturbed, that they might very well "sportly" yield to that. Not knowing this, they may very well decipher our dirty looks as us personally not liking their sort because "they're not FLYfishermen..." Perhaps etiquette needs to reach the entire fishing community in an appeal if it's ever going to be truly gentlemanly out there...

:beer1
 

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Great topic and some very good stuff here.

A couple of things.

While fishing with a friend last year on the Skagit. A sled ran right up the middle of our drift. Needless to say I was a little steamed and started to tell my friend just what I thought about it. He looked at me and simply said "I up here to enjoy my day off". I didn't need to hear anymore.

A few years ago on the Stilly a local guide came down with a group of about 6 pontoon boats. He asked if they should go in front or behind me. There wasn't enough water to go behind me so I told them to float by in front. After the last one went by I started casting and on the second or third cast hook up a nice Deer Creek native.

I spend a lot of time on the rivers and I have caught my share of fish. I don't really go there just for the fish anymore. Like my friend said. "I up here to enjoy my day off." By the way shortly after the sled went by my buddy hooked into a 19 pounder.

Oh, one more story. On the Skagit at a well known run named after a close by creek. I was fishing when a couple of guys floated by boon doggin. They were throwing their gear right at me and fishing within 20 feet or so. I launched a decent cast and put my fly not 5 foot off their boat. Low and behold if a nice 15 lb. buck didn't grab my fly and start jumping right off the side of their boat. I could not have written a better scenario. One of the guys yells out that this was the first time he had seen a fly guy catch a steelhead. I just laughed and ask him if he got on the river very often?
 

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Just an Old Man
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I used to know it all---but now I forgot it all.

I like to get out to enjoy the day also but I draw the line against kayakers. I was fishing the Stilly N/Fork one year when a group of these idiots came down the river. It didn't bother me that they came thru where I was fishing at. What bothered me was the Idiot that did his flippy thing right in the hole I was fishing in and then just sat there when he was done. I almost picked up a rock and threw it at him. I told him I was fishing there and he just laughed at me. Talk about being pissed off. If I knew where he was parked at I probably would of let the air out of his tires. But that was a few years ago so I feel better now.:beer1 :beer1 :beer2

Jim
 
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Those Kayakers are great sport on an 8 weight, but I hear it's inhumane to release them...
There WILL always jerk-offs, I guess.
With attitudes like that, sooner or later, I suspect, those individuals are handed a lesson or lessons that they do have coming... sooner or later. And it's probably better if we're off fishing somewhere when it all goes down.
Ommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............................
:smokin
 
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