Simple fly fishing etiquette

The 18th edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette: Manners for a New World showed up in the newspaper’s office yesterday.

It answers such questions as “Do I have to respond to every email and text?” or “Should I throw a divorce party.”

I checked for a section or even a paragraph on stream etiquette and couldn’t find one.

But you can Google it and find a lot of fishing etiquette comments, so there was no excuse to what happened to me on the river over the weekend.

On Saturday, two guys in pontoon boats floated into the run we were fishing and went in front of us right over where the fish were lying and where we were obviously casting to them.

They floated past me and my fishing partner, pulled their boats unto the bank and started fishing just a few feet below us, effectively blocking us from fishing through the run.

I was so steamed that I waited a few minutes thinking I might cool off. I didn’t.

So I reeled in my line and waded up to my friend. “Did he ask if he could fish right if front of you?” I asked. “No,” my friend said.

I won’t say what I told the guy, but it wasn’t polite and he and his friend floated to the next hole and proceeded to catch a fish, so I think we both were happy.

Stream etiquette in the scenario is just common sense and simple communication. He should have asked where we wanted him to float past us, in front or behind. And he should have walked to the beginning of the run and fished it behind us, or at least asked whether it was OK to fish in front of us.

River etiquette says the person already fishing a run controls what you do. You either wait for him or her to leave, follow behind, or start up a conversation about what he wants you to do.

On Sunday, we walked into a run where two other guys were fishing. One was in the beginning, the other was close to the tailout.

We said hello and sat down near the start of the run waiting for the two to fish through.

Neither moved an inch and just kept casting in the same spot. The etiquette calls for them to take a few steps downstream after each cast, covering the water carefully, but allowing somebody behind you to also fish the water eventually.

I ended up leaving even though my friend wanted to walk down river a bit and wade in front of the second guy since they wouldn’t move. I would have felt like a hypocrite for doing what I blasted someone for doing the day before.

I should have asked the guys what they wanted us to do, but I chose to find a stretch of river we didn’t have to share.

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