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Unfortunately I think we all should be prepared for this to get worse. I'm sure I'm not the only one who has noticed that our rivers have become even more crowded over the last year. The WSJ recently did an article on the boom in fly fishing alone, let alone in general. Most people starting out that don't have mentors to teach them most likely will watch what others do. When they see people standing shoulder to shoulder, low holing other anglers and staying in the same spot for hours how can we expect them not to think that's how its done? What makes me most frustrated is when I see the young people who tag along with their parents being taught the same bad manners. I used to have a short fuse but have gotten better over the years but some of the stuff I see really makes my head explode.

Emel
 

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gear guy throwing a spoon... enough said. when they're not cooning in on your fishing spot they are at walmart or bass pro shops. or buying their vape supplies at the local smoke shop...
 

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Gear guy throwing a spoon? Didn't realize it was such an issu, I have fished many different ways, methods, contrary to belief, when a GEAR guy fishes the pool, he doesn't clean it out.
I have fished behind gear guys with my Spey gear and caught fish. I have also fished with 3 different gear guys in a boat and not got a single hit all day.
It's time us Spey guys cut the OTHER anglers using different methods a breK. I am happy to get out and fish beside any angler and have a nice day on the water. I don't consider myself a god because I speyfish, or don't consider the GEAR guys to be bad actors like many on this forum do.
And guess what? I've been low holed by more Spey fishers than any other type of fisherman.
 

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With the previous post in mind, much could be learned from the broader traditions (and etiquette) of salmon fishing in Scotland, the birthplace of spey fishing, where packing long spinning rods as well as fly rods was the thing to do for a weeks fishing; even back as far as Victorian and Edwardian times, where 'Me Lud's' luggage and fishing tackle would be sent ahead by train..

It was noted author/ spey casting instructor and film maker Hugh Falkus who wrote that spinning, in the right hands, could be as skilful as fly fishing- with which I agree. There are many images in catalogues (including Hardy) which show anglers using ABU Toby spoons, Devon Minnows, latterly Rapalas plus various artificial lures, to cast for salmon on the Spey or Tweed. Other notable British salmon anglers such as the late Fred Buller, author of the Domesday book of Giant Salmon, also liked to use Hardy tackle to spin for salmon.

The Hardy Silex range of spinning reels, in production from the late 1890's until into the early 1980's, were originally designed to cast out artificial baits for salmon and trout.

Of course those same anglers, off for their weeks salmon fishing would prefer to catch their salmon on the fly, but they were savvy enough to know that a spinner was 'suitable medicine' when the water would be too 'heavy for the fly'. Being a Brit. myself I have long been an avid reader of the many fine books from that land plus magazines also such as the venerable Trout & Salmon magazine, plus Angling - from the 1970's on.

Not once do I remember reading of any animosity between salmon fly and salmon spinning anglers, this from a land riddled with a long-standing social class structure. The etiquette of a day on a river 'beat' would have been traditionally encouraged by the ghillie of course, rotating/ stepping down, resting the beat etc. At times the ghillie would row the 'rod' trailing his artificial lure behind the boat- harling as it was known.

In my very humble opinion.. some anglers, on forums such as this, seem to have a somewhat 'restricted' knowledge of angling generally, having little if any idea of the varied and very rich traditions that our sport has, assuming fly/ spey fishing is the 'top of the tree' and therefore all other methods are somewhat 'plebeian' in order to appear themselves as a 'cut above' and rather splendid.

Fly fishing is of course 'nice to do', however it is but one of many sporting and traditional angling methods, each with their own very deep traditions, such as UK style 'trotting' a float (not 'pinning'...) but that (as they say) is another story.

In the photo below, I 'threw' out a small blade spinner furnished with a single barbless Siwash hook, using an 8' bamboo rod of my own making, to catch this Maitland River fish. As far as I am concerned, this trout gave me as much pleasure to catch (and release) as it would have done if I had managed to land it on a fly I had concocted myself , on one of my own bamboo fly rods...just saying, as they say...

Malcolm
 

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Being low holed sucks, it reflects poorly on humans.
I was low holed twice last year.
First guy hooked himself between the shoulder blades... Ah karma.
Second guy showed up with his kid. They watched me for several minutes, then walked 30 yards down another channel, retrieved their gear, came back and started casting into the tail out I was working toward. Guy hooks up on his 3rd cast. He hands the rod to his kid once it's under control. He yells at me "sorry I low holed you, I wanted to get my kid his 1st fish".
Congadulations You just taught your boy to low hole.
It ruined that spot for me for the rest of the year.
 

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Having fished the Skykomish in the 90s, this was common. I was usually pretty good about giving friendly advice if I thought they were just clueless. The nicer the gear they had or the more "accomplished" they looked the more my friendly declined.
And the worst was a situation I ever had is just like you describe except the young guy was probably my age or more. He low-holed me hard when I was already in the meat. This is on a day when nobody else was on the river. I let my hang down literally go under his rod and glared hard. I finally reeled up as soon as I knew he got the message and then actually scolded him. I was like "You literally have the whole river open today and you decide to low hole me, within casting distance! WTF man!" "We're both out here trying to have a good time right?!"
He's just looked like that kid that knows he's broken the rules, but doesn't care and will do it again. Well, his older buddy (or pops) heard me and then I walked right past him as he was walking in. He's like "Is everything ok?" I'm "No, your buddy just ruined my day! Good luck!" Only time I've ever been that pissed. I knew how gear guys (my neighbor was one of the best) caught fish on that river so I at least felt good that this dude wasn't going to catch squat based on what I saw him doing.

Never saw him again and I fished that run as much as anyone. I was glad I either scared him off or he just didn't stick with it.

I've let plenty people fish well below me on big runs. But many runs, it just doesn't make sense so I usually offer "you can jump in above me" before they have much time to say anything.

Whatever you do, don't let it keep you off the river.
 

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I guess age and experience have both lowered my expectations of people, and also made it less likely that I will try to “educate” anyone. I find that simply asking if I can work in above or well below someone on a river will usually result in a “sure, no problem” answer, along with mild surprise that someone actually asked. It also can create someone who will do the same for you next time, or invite you in the next time you both are on the same water. and that goes for any decent angler, no matter the method / gear.

Most of my worst experiences seem to come from fellow fly fishers. The one that comes to mind was one evening on the Lower Sac. Younger guy, fishing the upper end of a 250 yard run that takes a little effort to get to, so the two of us were the only ones there. He was nymphing, although it’s a run that lends itself better to the swing / skated fly. I asked if he would mind if I worked in below him. He responded “I’m fishing the stretch from here to my bag - you can go fish below it” in an irritated tone of voice. squinting with my still 20/20 vision, I could just make out his bag about 80% of the way down the run.

i low-holed the SOB.
 

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I guess age and experience have both lowered my expectations of people, and also made it less likely that I will try to “educate” anyone. I find that simply asking if I can work in above or well below someone on a river will usually result in a “sure, no problem” answer, along with mild surprise that someone actually asked. It also can create someone who will do the same for you next time, or invite you in the next time you both are on the same water. and that goes for any decent angler, no matter the method / gear.

Most of my worst experiences seem to come from fellow fly fishers. The one that comes to mind was one evening on the Lower Sac. Younger guy, fishing the upper end of a 250 yard run that takes a little effort to get to, so the two of us were the only ones there. He was nymphing, although it’s a run that lends itself better to the swing / skated fly. I asked if he would mind if I worked in below him. He responded “I’m fishing the stretch from here to my bag - you can go fish below it” in an irritated tone of voice. squinting with my still 20/20 vision, I could just make out his bag about 80% of the way down the run.

i low-holed the SOB.
Hmm. I get that staking out a stretch of river is annoying, but.... I think I would've opted to fish the tail, below the bag, and then come back up and jump in above him. If he hadn't moved down much then you have a case of him just being obnoxious. Otherwise, he's probably telling a story about the guy that low holed him. :unsure:
 

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I regularly browse Spey Pages and decided to join to specifically comment on this. This is my 2nd social media post ever.

Have fished for winter-run steelhead on the Olympic Peninsula for 10 years...originally starting with gear. 5 years ago I started to swing flies with a Spey rod, primarily when the water is warmer. I enjoy it more than gear. Casting adds another level of challenge in my opinion. Good fun!

We all have run into people fishing on the water that are rude and inconsiderate. On the OP the Spey folks have been pretty good to me. In fact, the etiquette and the casting of the Spey folks is what attracted me initially to the 2-hand game.

Have been to Yellowstone 2x in fall to fish the Madison. I ran into some pretty obnoxious fly fisherman there while swinging my trout spey...both guide and fellow fishermen.

Have also run into some rude gear guys on the OP; two events of which I want to mention and add to the conversation.

Event #1: One winter while fishing a hike-in run on the OP with gear I had a strong urge to discharge the previous night's pizza. Nobody was around. I dropped my pack and rod, then walked 20' across the gravel into the forest. I dug a litttle cat hole with my boot and started to do my business. Two fellow gear guys suddenly appeared. They saw my pack/rod on the gravel bar at the head of the run and could clearly see me with my waders down around my ankles. They then turned around and started to cast into the run right where I was fishing. I soon finished my business in the forest, got my pants & waders back up and my rain jacket on. I walked back and picked up my rod. They both quit casting, backed off, and gave me a sheepish look. They then started to chat me up about the weather and the day. I responded pleasantly. They then got around to "how is the fishing?". I told them that I had walked around a lot and left it at that. I neglected to tell them about the 33x18 hen that I c/r an hour before out of a run just upstream. They then both turned and headed off down river.

So what is the unwritten rule about leaving a run for a short period of time to do some immediate bodily function, especially when there was originally nobody there? Do you get your place back like I assumed? Or do you join the conga line at the back and wait your turn?

Event #2: On a warm February day I decided to fish another walk-in run only this time with my Spey. Nobody was there. I started at the head of the run, gradually lengthened my cast out and was just starting to step down. I then saw another fisherman come walking up along the trail from the tailout about 75 yards downstream. He saw me. He also would of earlier seen my car parked at the trail access about 10 minutes away. He was a gear fisherman. He walked in and set up about 30' downstream from me without saying a thing or making eye contact. Noise from the fast water above would drown out anything I would try to say to the guy. I had to pull in my running line and part of my head to keep from snagging up with his float and jig. The guy was a very proficient gear fisherman and methodically gridded the water, moving down 50' at a time to start another grid. Eventually I started to resume my swinging and followed him in a stop/start fashion. The guy fished all the way to the tailout without a hit, then left. I continued to fish the run. On my last cast down in the tailout I had a grab in the hang-down just offshore...probably 5' away from where that guy had just walked down the trail a few minutes before. I hooked a really big steelhead. I could not budge him as he slowly moved back and forth across the tailout. He eventually started swiming up river and I got a good glimpse of him going by me 15' off the bank. I couldn't reel fast enough, slack developed and he shook off.

That last experience has made me a little more philosophical about gear folks "low holing" me. Kind of poetic justice that I hooked a steelhead and he didn't. People are people. Some do good things, others do not. Compliment people who are considerate and try to thoughtfully educate people that just don't know any better. As for me, for those people who are rude and obviously know better I try to remember this incident and let it go...

Another observation from that last event is that we can swing behind a gear fisherman and be successful...maybe even more successful? Most bank gear fisherman on my rivers are using downstream presentations like float fishing jigs or bobber dogging worms or yarnies. Most of the boat fishermen are doing the same. With a wet fly swing we are doing an across river presentation which gives a steelhead something very different than what they commonly see and become acustomed to. I know swung spoons work but I wonder if a wet fly swung slowly broadside is more likely to stimulate a grab than a big obnoxious spoon, especially in clear waters?

Forgive me. I was kind of wordy with this but have to make up for not posting much in past...
 

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I guess age and experience have both lowered my expectations of people, and also made it less likely that I will try to “educate” anyone. I find that simply asking if I can work in above or well below someone on a river will usually result in a “sure, no problem” answer, along with mild surprise that someone actually asked. It also can create someone who will do the same for you next time, or invite you in the next time you both are on the same water. and that goes for any decent angler, no matter the method / gear.

Most of my worst experiences seem to come from fellow fly fishers. The one that comes to mind was one evening on the Lower Sac. Younger guy, fishing the upper end of a 250 yard run that takes a little effort to get to, so the two of us were the only ones there. He was nymphing, although it’s a run that lends itself better to the swing / skated fly. I asked if he would mind if I worked in below him. He responded “I’m fishing the stretch from here to my bag - you can go fish below it” in an irritated tone of voice. squinting with my still 20/20 vision, I could just make out his bag about 80% of the way down the run.

i low-holed the SOB.
In my opinion if someone is not actively moving down a run, its not low-holing. You can't park yourself in one spot for minutes on end and say you are "working" down the run

Emel
 

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I'll echo the view that anyone can step in and start fishing when the run is vacant, even under the circumstances you describe (call of nature break). I think the two interlopers were within their rights to suggest you step in above them once you'd returned from your Walk in the Woods.

Your story triggered a couple related memories:

1. Getting up very early and floating miles down a river in a drift boat to pull up on a bar below where people had camped out, and then in total silence fishing the hot run less than fifty yards away. The tent occupants were awakened by the sounds of fish jumping and splashing in the shallows. By the time they'd hurriedly geared up and made ready to confront us, we'd finished the run and simply got back in the boat and headed on downstream to continue our day. I landed a 36" buck in the hour of pre-dawn and dawn fishing we stole.

2. Hiking up a couple miles to fish a pair of choice holes to find an angler standing in the downstream one. We wondered how he'd got there as he hadn't hiked through the brush like us, and there wasn't a boat. We got back on the trail and hiked upstream to discover the answer: his guide was standing among the fish in the tailout of the second run, jetboat anchored nearby. The guide didn't have a fishing rod, but he pretty much ruined three-quarters of the run. We asked him if he was going to fish and, if not, could he get out of the water? He said nothing, so I waded upstream, cast shortish and swung down just shy of his legs. He said, "You do that again, I'm getting my effing gun and shooting you. This water is reserved." I didn't agree with this interpretation of river etiquette, but Frank had a well-earned reputation for violence, and neither Slick nor I called his bluff. We ended up fishing a bunch of marginal water and didn't touch a fish despite a marathon hike through bear country.

In short, possession is nine-tenths of the law unless you are packing. Then it's tenth-tenths.
 

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I was on a local river yesterday, right at daybreak, no other vehicles in sight. I headed downstream to my favourite run in the pre-dawn darkness. About halfway there, I looked back upstream over my shoulder and noticed the outline of 2 other fisherman following my course. Instead of fishing the pocket water on my way I decided to head straight to the run. Eventually they caught up, and I expected them to set up shop. But to my surprise he asked if it was ok to work the water upstream of me, and said they would take their time, no rush. He was a guide, out with his client. Total class act, wish it always turned out like this.
 

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I'll echo the view that anyone can step in and start fishing when the run is vacant, even under the circumstances you describe (call of nature break). I think the two interlopers were within their rights to suggest you step in above them once you'd returned from your Walk in the Woods.

Your story triggered a couple related memories:

1. Getting up very early and floating miles down a river in a drift boat to pull up on a bar below where people had camped out, and then in total silence fishing the hot run less than fifty yards away. The tent occupants were awakened by the sounds of fish jumping and splashing in the shallows. By the time they'd hurriedly geared up and made ready to confront us, we'd finished the run and simply got back in the boat and headed on downstream to continue our day. I landed a 36" buck in the hour of pre-dawn and dawn fishing we stole.

2. Hiking up a couple miles to fish a pair of choice holes to find an angler standing in the downstream one. We wondered how he'd got there as he hadn't hiked through the brush like us, and there wasn't a boat. We got back on the trail and hiked upstream to discover the answer: his guide was standing among the fish in the tailout of the second run, jetboat anchored nearby. The guide didn't have a fishing rod, but he pretty much ruined three-quarters of the run. We asked him if he was going to fish and, if not, could he get out of the water? He said nothing, so I waded upstream, cast shortish and swung down just shy of his legs. He said, "You do that again, I'm getting my effing gun and shooting you. This water is reserved." I didn't agree with this interpretation of river etiquette, but Frank had a well-earned reputation for violence, and neither Slick nor I called his bluff. We ended up fishing a bunch of marginal water and didn't touch a fish despite a marathon hike through bear country.

In short, possession is nine-tenths of the law unless you are packing. Then it's tenth-tenths.
You really should have taken a picture on your way out and reported him for threatening you with a gun
 

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In Scotland/UK generally the rule is that you start at the top of the pool, and take a full step downstream after every cast, working your way down the pool. Woe betide anyone starting to fish the pool below you. You always start at the top. Stepping into a pool below an angler fishing through it is going to get you banned in short order. End of story.
 

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You really should have taken a picture on your way out and reported him for threatening you with a gun
I've been chased off water with a gun.I find it best to get along and move along. Plenty of water to fish, I get out to get away.
Now that local and I wave at each other as I come and go. If I had been confrontational, or turned him into law enforcement I would have to worry about my tires being slashed while fishing.
 

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When I was fishing gear, and entered a run at the same time as speyfisherman, or guided fisherman, I always let them have first water. And on all occasions, I was complimented by the guide and feloow fishers. And met many a guide personally as he poured me a coffee and we chatted as his clients worked the run.
 

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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
Well said. I too am getting too old to ruin my day by getting in to it with someone. But, it isn't a bad idea to maybe have a visit and get a sense if the person really didn't think about the fact that he was out of line. 90% of the time I have had this happen I just fish down and fish through if he's gone or just wind up and move out. Just this year on a trout fishing lake up in the Cascades that now has a hatch of 100 kayakers and paddle boarders I had a lady with a big smile paddle over my intermediate line and she said "isn't this a great morning" with a big grin and I said yup it sure was and that's it for that lake for a long time. But it was a great morning. Crazy.
 

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Most of us need to rant or vent occasionally, and this forum is a better place than arguing with the low-holer. Where a person lives, local or not, how long he has lived there, nor the gear or fishing method employed, none are relevant in my opinion. I used to get upset and frustrated with the poor behavior of other anglers who would low hole me. Once I came to understand that I cannot control the behavior of others but only of myself, my fishing life has been better. Unless I have other plans, when someone low-holes me, I just continue fishing, working my way downstream, with my line eventually swinging right in front of them of they aren't moving. I tend to fish faster than most, so even if he's moving a bit, I generally catch up. I estimate that if the other angler is older than about 3, they have heard of and understand the Golden Rule. Since they stepped into the river downstream of me, I assume they are equally OK with me reeling in and moving just downstream of their position and resuming the fishing I was doing before they arrived. It's possible that they don't care for me doing that, but I've never been challenged for doing so. The only downside I have seen is that if they know the water well, they probably got the first cast into the best spot in the pool, but that's about it.
 

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It's a river. Unless I own it and it's running through my property, I see no reason to carry-on about how someone else fishes... but in this particular case, maybe the kid didn't understand fly fishing. Tossing spoons, one doesn't make a long drift - at best they do a short swing. I think we get a bit "entitled" every so often.
 
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