Whenever I am walking along the shore past where other anglers are fishing, I try to stay as far from the water’s edge as possible. The shadows we cast and the sounds our feet make can spook weary trout when we get too close to the banks. There are times when this takes some extra effort but I can assure you it does not go unnoticed.
The next thing to think about is how to help other fishermen when they need it. Last week while fishing in Edwards, I reached for my pliers to find that they were gone. I retraced my steps to my car and never found them. Along the way I asked another fisherman if he had noticed any on the ground. “Haven’t seen them, but I’ve got an extra pair here in my vest you can have.” was the response I got. What a guy! Without his help, my afternoon would have been less productive. Whether you are lending a hand by netting a big fish for the angler upstream from you, loaning a piece of tippet, or giving away a few good bugs, your help will almost always be appreciated.
I don’t like to say that I give certain anglers special treatment, but there are a couple types of fly fishermen that I try to stay further away from. When I head to the water and find a fishing guide working in my favorite stretch, I try to give him some extra room to move around. Even if the fishing is good, his clients may not be, and more available water on either end of the fishermen can always help.
I think that the same thing goes for kids. If we want to see fly fishing grow as a sport, we need to do everything we can to help our future guides and fishermen enjoy the sport now. When I see a parent teaching their kids to fish I wish them luck and leave their spot alone. Chances are that if the youngsters catch fish it will mean more to them anyway, and because of their size and ability, they cannot fish all of the same places that I can.
Angling etiquette isn’t just for wade fishermen. All of the rules and tips from part 1 and 2 have different variations for float fishing, but the overall theme is the same. Try to take the same courteous attitude with you into the boat.
Be polite, respectful, courteous, and helpful when appropriate, and you will find angling Zen every time you step into the water. Want to learn more? Take a day with one of the professional guides here at Vail Valley Anglers to see what river etiquette looks like when done right.
Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer