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Discussion Starter #1
I had a unpleasant experience today and just wanted to vent...

I was at my favorite hole on my local river, the Morice, and was using my single-hand greased line approach as I was working my way down the run. I had just covered the top section and was quickly working my way down to the meat of the run.

I heard a vehicle and a young man appeared to take a look. He made eye contact and went back to the truck. He reappeared a cast later, walked ten feet down river (about 75 to 100 ft downstream of me) and began pounding his spoon out into the water just below where I was swinging. Pissed...I reeled in my line and went to my truck to head home, and also to say a few choice words as I passed.

The guy was totally ignorant regarding the rules of the river. No check in, "do you mind if I step in?", "how's it going?" or anything. Just walks out and starts firing gear into the prime water...

He then proceeds to tell me he has been fishing here for 18 years and is a 'local'. I have lived in Houston since 1994 and had never seen him before. The 75 feet he left me also equaled what he called "500 yards". I mean, my hang-down was practically at this guy's feet.

His father was at the truck and he seemed more reasonable regarding river etiquette and apologized for his son's behaviour. I felt bad for the dad as he seemed genuinely disappointed in the behaviour and did not head down to the river himself.

As a local, I am normally pretty gracious with offering up first water, tips, locations etc. Hell, I've even stopped to take a lot of pictures for guys fishing by themselves. But nothing gets my blood boiling more than those who disrespect the environment or those that lack the courtesy to respect others enjoyment of it.

It is my understanding that the general rule for wading was 100 yards' not 100 feet. Do most guys (as I do) usually check in with people who are fishing a run to ensure it is 'cool' to cut in? If I'm going behind it shouldnt be a big deal but slotting into the middle with gear is just bull#$%t, right? Or am I wrong here?

Sorry for the rant...hope all my Canadian junkies had a great Thanksgiving!
 

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He's in the wrong, especially if the river wasn't too busy. How big was the run? I always ask and would only go in downstream if the run is huge.

That said, this behaviour is normal here in Ontario. BC is different and uncommon from my experiences.
 

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You’re right, but,,,,,maybe he doesn’t know anything about swinging flies through a run? Or anything about fly fishing? Or low holing you? You did say he was casting spoons. Maybe he lied and wasn’t a local, maybe he doesn’t fish often and doesn’t understand river etiquette, maybe this, maybe that,,, but people don’t know what they don’t know. Now I’m just playing devils advocate here,,,, I understand your predicament and I’m sure we’ve all been there, it sucks, ruins your day, I get it, and walked off the river or had to move more times than I wanted to myself. Not sure what you said to his a Dad or him, but the best we can do is calmly offer up suggestions on river etiquette and hope it sticks.
 

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Broken Down Spey Freak
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As wrx-canoe points out,it's pretty common to see that here in Ontario. At least on the bigger, more popular rivers. I've had guys walk right past me then proceed to walk right into the middle of the run and start casting back to the bank. I'm not going to say all gear folks are this way but I'm also not seeing any particular reason why they do this. I've had it happen with young and old, local and out of town and everything in between. I just can't explain it. Common courtesy goes out the window for some reason. Worst of all is the redneck syndrome where many of them pull up and park themselves for the day and nobody moves.

Dan
 

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Unfortunately, a lot of anglers pick a spot they think is the best and post up there and don't move 10ft for 3 hours. This is very very common.

The best you can do is educate, explain low-holing and how a newcomers goes to the top of the run....but they might only observe folks also posting up, so probably thought any spot is good enough. Personally, when someone does that to me, Once I get close, I just shout, "I'm working this run, are you moving down or not? If not, I'm going to go around you"....and start casting 40-50ft downriver.

Never heard of a distance rule, some rivers are tight, some are wide, could depend on the swing. There are some rivers, many in BC, you cannot even dream of spey casting, as gear casters are lined up 15ft apart and don't move for hours. One hooks a fish, nobody reels in, fish tangles lines, fights ensue, what a nightmare.
 

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flytie09
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It would have bothered me sure...but not enough to get my blood boiling. It was a kid and I'm sure isn't privy to the ways of a swung fly angler with a two hander. If you see him again...I'd give him a break.

But...I will say there are biases with all anglers. If you're swinging flies, you have bias towards centerpin and gear guys especially those that low hole you. Centerpin guys dislike fly guys because they work the water up to a froth with all of their casting. Spin guys see fly anglers as elitists who snub their nose at them.

I see it all the time...even when I'm trout fishing. Each one has their own sense of how to work a particular piece of water. If they've never fished all methods...they might have absolutely no idea there are unwritten rules for each one. Heck I've even had experienced fly anglers dressed to the 9s that charge through a run, bragging how great their Olson reel is compared to my lowly Hardy that I would love to dunk their head under water a couple times to hear them scream.

Everyone has good and bad days. Some days I'll concede, sit on a rock and watch the encroaching angler for a bit. I might start some chit chat, share some coffee, net their fish if they get lucky and take a picture for them. Other days I will simply pack it in and move to the next spot. You don't want to put yourself in the situation where you're trying to fix the World. It will absolutely ruin your day and could potentially put you in a situation that you can't turn the clock back from.

This is all easier said than done of course.
 

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Hey BCNewf:
As a fellow Morice R. fisher I can relate. Limited water, especially for walk-in fishing can get pretty competitive. On occasion I’ve tried the diplomatic approach in explaining to people the etiquette of sharing the water and had some success, but frankly these days as I’m less inclined to do so.
Maybe since I’m now older and have less desire to get into a confrontation, but as previous members have noted, I prefer not to let it ruin my day. I can’t control actions on the river, so I just move on. Consider picking their pocket in behind them and saying adios.
Steve
 

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I've had lots of similar experiences in and around the Bulkley, even with local fly anglers too. My favorite was when I got up before dawn a few years ago to have a first pass at the cement factory and four guys pulled in after i had started fishing and started swinging flies all around me (above and below). When I objected they shrugged their shoulders and justified it by saying "we are locals" and "we were here almost at the same time" and "you don't get to reserve water by being here first." Low holers come from all sorts of people.
 

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There have been times when folks fishing different tackle/methods have cut me off as well. Sometimes they don't know fly swinging etiquette, sometimes they don't care. If the run is big enough, I will just chat with them and ask them if they mind if I continue below them. It is often the case that folks are nice and happy to chat and glad to share the water. If said individual is not too friendly I may just let them know that I am going in below them, I mean if it's good for them, should be good for me too.

Todd
 

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Dom
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I've done it myself. I've done it to my mentor. I was still relatively young and didn't know any better. Better approach would be to talk to the dude and educate him with the whole etiquette deal. That alone, guy is throwing a spoon. Could just be "once a year" kinda guy. It sucks. I know.
 

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I fish more gear than I do flies. If I'm using gear, most often I'll invite newly arrived fly guys to step in below me in the run. (If they're jerks and give me grief as they walk up, they can step in above.) But I do tell them, "Anyone hooks a steelhead, then they move to the top to give someone else first shot." If you say this upfront, no one objects.

When the tables are turned and a newcomer steps in below me, I speak up. Usually, it's to say that I'm fishing that water next and if they step in above me, I'll go up above them when/if I hit a fish. Not everyone agrees or complies, but if they give me grief I tell them to check out the BC regs: cast-and-step-down etiquette is printed in the summaries available online for free. I call BS on people (esp. locals) who say that they aren't aware: they know, but they can't be bothered.

I don't think staying silent on low holers is the right thing, either. It saves you aggro in the short-term but just encourages them in the long-term. It also robs you of good water that you should have the first pass at. It's not worth fighting over, but I think ethical anglers should speak up to make the point and call out the bad behavior. (The definition of what constitutes "low holing" differs by river. On the Bulkley or Skeena, it could be 50m whereas on the Copper, someone clinging to a canyon wall isn't going to be able to quickly work down even 30m to fish the tailout. People that shout at me when I'm 100m below them on the Skeena . . . I ignore them. That's two-plus hours of cast-and-step for moving fish . . . I don't have a problem in either direction.)

NOW, as a gear chucker, I will frequently get lip back from mouthy fly guys who I call out on their low-holing attempt. They will say, "You shouldn't be using XXX anyway: you should try a fly." I'll most often say, "I just spent X hours with the Meiser throwing 8' of T-11 (or T-14) and not getting down all the way . . . the spoon rod is the fish detector. Besides, I quit once I've hooked and played two on the day. What are you doing to relieve pressure on the fish?"

* * * * *

That usually chases them off: it's surprising how many self-proclaimed conservationists ('That's why we spey fish' types) don't actually quit fishing if the fish are biting. Perhaps their true reason for preferring the two-hander is that they like the challenge of mastering the various casts, and simply prefer that to hucking a spoon or, heaven forbid, using a float rod. I'm fine with that, but don't hold yourselves up as special 'friends of the fish' when you'll happily land five fish in a single day.
 

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I think the main point is to just be considerate. If you want to fish a stretch that's occupied you check in. Usually it's not an issue. It doesn't matter what means you prefer to fish with but a quick conversation can go a long way.
While swinging one day on a spot that you don't really need to move much, the pool sort of splits around an island with a good current, I was alone until this guy walk up and parked himself maybe 10 feet behind me after watching me for several minutes. Almost immediately he started complaining how close my line was to him(d-loop). I ignored him at first until he shouted at me to watch what I was doing???? I turned to face him and walked a bit closer to him and said, look, you stood there and watched me for 15 minutes then walked right up behind me. There is a lot of river here and you can fish anywhere. There are only two of us here so go find your own water to fish. Then he got cocky and stated that he had been fishing here for over 10 years and nobody is going to tell him what to do. My response was that I had been fishing here for almost 30 years but I have enough common sense not to interfere with somebody's day on the river and you apparently don't. He didn't like my response and started yelling at me some more so I stopped him and told him he could either move down so we don't bother one another or find himself swimming to safety. He packed up and left.
If I walk into a spot that's occupied I try to start a conversation. Find out where he's going and what his intentions are. I ask if he minds that I step in below or above him/her. Usually the answer is "go ahead" but in many cases due to an area I just move on. There's a lot of river to fish. No need for conflict like this.

Dan
 

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A license to fish is all I need. Expecting the same from all others fishing the river is one thing. So there is a lot to be said for common sense and courtesy; But - River etiquette? "Rules of the River?"
The unwritten law?

Ive been in many situations similar to this - each time that I tried to "fix," say, or do something about it --- it is a different outcome. I'm one of the original "social distancers" on the stream :rolleyes:, and don't mess with anyone, anymore.
If you come at me with the attitude like you're going to educate - Im likely to send you "packing!" Its that simple.

Im just saying it is unreasonable to expect exactly the same from All anglers. And you'll likely ruin many of your own days on the river wanting to make it so.

Sorry to say but, in my experience fly anglers are the worst "low-holers" of them all.
Vic.
 

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In my experience, if you have expectations of how people are going to behave you will be let down. Especially in fishing where you have such a diverse group of people and how they fish (gear, bobber, fly, etc). Educate when someone comes within feet of your cast, yes. That behaviour is asking for it.

Fishing in productive, known spots is like life, you are going to have to deal with people who eventually do something you don't like and everyone doesn't have the same set of 'river rules.' Here in the UP we have people who camp the night before in their spot on the river and stay there for the day. Groups of people keep their spot throughout the day by having one guy stay fishing while the others fish new spots. My wife and I were in one nice pool fishing when two guys showed up and walked into the middle of the river and started fishing the same pool, happens all the time so we just leave. Most people fish centerpin rigs or bottom-bounce spawn on fly rods so it is very common for 5-6 guys fishing the same 10 ft hole.

There is also the culture social media has brought out. Guys my age find success in fish numbers only and have hordes of fish pictures on their social media. This has brought tons of new people out fishing and clogged up a lot of spots, they also don't know about river etiquette.

Everyone has their own idea of enjoying fishing. For me, I have tried everything at least a few times and decided nothing compares to spey. There is just something about the casting that enthralls me. I do not like fishing with the crowds and will go to great lengths to get away from people, which means either finding new water or going to less productive water. Catching a fish is just a bonus to the whole experience anyways.

Sorry for the rambling. Too many thoughts at once on lunch break.
 

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It used to get me all wound up, not no more, won't let it ruin my day, if I really want to fish the run I just keep fishing, and tell him I am going around him. If not I just leave and find other water, no big deal anymore
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Great responses on here and I certainly appreciate everyone sharing their opinions and experience. That is best education any person can ask for...
As I dont socialize often and mostly fish alone, I found venting on the forum helped me get over the whole experience. I have been frustrated this year by low numbers and unfriendly people just tipped me over. This year has involved more work and time than any other I have experienced in the pursuit of my passion, hooking steelies, and I guess I kinda let this one get to me.

In hindsight I dont think was wrong to confront the guy, as I have a centerpin and a gear rod also (one was rigged up and ready to go in the truck). I dont judge ppl on their mode of fishing. I enjoy them all from single to spey and drifting to floating to swinging spoons. It's all good!

However, if I had shown up and a guy was swinging down I would step in above him or ask if I could jump in down below at a certain mark. It wouldnt matter if I had a gear or fly rod. I have done this a million times and will continue to do so. I also usually adhere to the back of the bus game where if the low guy hooks a fish he goes to the back of the bus to let others have a chance at next fish. Just the way I was taught by others.

Regardless, it is all in the past and I'm looking forward to this weekend and getting out again to my favorite spot again to swing for unicorns. Thanks all for sharing your experiences and opinions, regardless of your viewpoints. Tight lines to all.
 
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