Blue River Fly Classic

Blue River Fly Classic
A One Pattern Fly Event

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Chapter 58 Day 71 - Trout Season

Pardon Me Please

Photo courtesy of Felix Frazier via the blog of Kevin Harris.
This trout season the subject of river etiquette has been quite a hot topic and rightfully so. 

A good example is Blue River.  Over the last ten years, Blue River has become increasingly popular and that means increasingly pressured - there's simply more folks and the same amount of river. 

In the fly fishing community many of us pride ourselves on a good knowledge of etiquette while fishing a stream, creek, river, or larger body of water.  However, as good as we think our knowledge of etiquette is, there are times we probably should review.

So, with that in mind here are a few thoughts about river etiquette.

Use Your Head

It's common sense for the most part.  It's easy to see that someone is enjoying fishing a certain pool, pocket, or run of water and it's simply not polite to crowd.  The best course of action is to stand back and watch.  Oftentimes we can learn a lot while watching someone that is doing rather well at a certain spot.  In addition it might surprise you at the invitation you will get from some anglers asking you to share their success in this honey hole they have discovered.

Working in the retail grocery business for thirty years, I have seen the gambit of rudeness - trust me.  I equate crowding someones water to someone trying to beat someone else to the checkout lane or to a large display of a food item that is advertised at a hot price and "while supplies last". 

The best course of action on the water is to wait until the angler has had his or her say with the water that's being fished and then take that water, or to simply leave (after making mental notes) and come back to that water later. 

Be Polite - Offer A Wave

In my book, politeness and being friendly go a long way.  Perhaps this is the reason I can honestly say I've never had a bad experience on Blue River.  Bad in the sense of having an issue with another angler (I have had rather bad catching days). 

A simple acknowledgement or hello can often break the ice and lead to a friendly discussion of what the fish are interested in and that often leads to a certain stretch of water being shared. 

Besides, one of the experiences of fly fishing is getting to know other anglers.  No, I'm not suggesting your gregarious nature will always be accepted or recognized - but that's not your loss is it.

Kids Will Be Kids

They're energetic, excited, enthused, and often extremely loud. 

Seeing kids on the water should be a welcome sight to any of us older anglers.  Kids on water today might lead to adults on the water later on. 

Indeed they can be loud, splash around, and spook the daylights out of fish.  But, instead of hushing, chastising, or being gruff with the kids, try calling them to your side and explain that fish have the unique abilities of detecting motion and sensing sound which can put them off the bite. 

Be proactive instead of reactive is what I'm suggesting when it comes to kids.  Granted you may have their attention for a good fifteen minutes or so and then they'll start chunking rocks again, but, there is no sense in making their fun day a bad experience.  Find some other water and believe that maybe something you told them sunk in their blessed little brains at some point. 

Take Out More Than You Carry In

Want to set an example?  Pick up the trash you find on the river while your fishing.  Someone else that is fishing will see you and whether they tell you or not - you'll gain their respect. 

A cleaner river is the highest example of etiquette we can pay to the fly fishing experience.

You can find the blog of Kevin Harris at

1 comment:

Gregg said...


I could write a tome on ethics of fly fishing. I'll condense it, rare for me. Trout bring out the worst in people, why that fish, I'll never know. Summer time salmonfly time, skwallas in a local river, heck, any occassion, even in a place with wonderful wild trout. I feel your angst.