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River Etiquette | Coexisting with Other Anglers
First of all, let’s get this out there – it’s not always easy fishing around and with people. “Cliques” persist and it’s not uncommon to see tempers flare out on the water. This is especially true at “hatchery holes” or other areas where fish pile up. Where fish pile up, people pile up.
This article is specifically targeted towards bank anglers. We’ll discuss driftboat etiquette in a future article.
River Ettiquette | Coexisting with Other Anglers
Good fishing brings crowds. Maybe you’ve got some great locations that you can find both fish and solitude, but not everyone has that luxury. Wherever you may fish, we ask that you practice simple common courtesy, or “etiquette.”
River etiquette is beneficial to every angler involved.
The customary code of polite behavior in society or among members of a particular profession or group.
We all must share the same water. As many have remarked, these days there are more anglers than fish. How can we make things easier on each other and keep the focus on fishing?
When fishing around others, simple respect and thoughtfulness can go a long way. Below are some basic guidelines that anglers should follow in order to keep their fishing experience enjoyable for them and others around them.
- Casting Order – In certain cases a number of people are fishing the same water/drift. Always remember to let the downstream angler cast first. This is a simple rule but it must be followed. When a proper system has been established, many anglers can fish effectively. This is especially important in “combat” zones.
- “Low-Holing” – Never approach a hole that other bank fishermen are fishing and walk below the anglers and start casting. Many times fishermen are working from the top of a hole on down. It is however considered appropriate to start above the anglers and follow them down the drift. If the hole is very long and can hold numerous anglers it may be appropriate to start quite a bit below, but use discretion. Many times it’s just simply a good idea to ask – “Do you mind if I fish the lower section of this run?” Most reasonable fishermen will be agreeable. If not, move on and come back later.
- Mean Mugging – If someone says “hello”, say “hello” back. No use being weird.
- When a fish is hooked and your line is in the water close to it, reel in your gear. Give the angler some space to get control of the fish and only cast out when you are not endangering the fight of that fish.
- When you hook a fish – fight it quickly and subdue the fish as quickly as possible. Don’t spend all day tiring it out in front of everybody. Only play the fish if it’s giving you no other choice. Use gear that can handle the fish you are targeting. If it’s a wild fish – handle it with care!
These simple rules will save you and others a lot of grief out on the water. If you’re a new angler and just getting started, these are some good guidelines to follow. If you’re an experienced river angler, please share this information with others.
Thanks for reading and best of luck on the water!