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Fly-Fishing Manners

“Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices”

Fly-fishing is often depicted as a solitary sport. The lone fisherman, casting to a bush-banked river – in splendid isolation. Nice picture, better dream. Fact is, that for most of us it is often a dream much of the time.

So we have to find a way to get on with our fellow anglers, which is where fishing manners come in. Simple rules for avoiding the conflicts that can arise when two or more anglers have to share the same bit of water.

River and Stream Manners

First Rule – the first person in the water is free to choose how and where to fish it.

Second Rule – if that fisherman decides to fish upstream, do not enter the water above the angler. If he decides to fish downstream, do not enter the water below that angler. If an angler is fishing downstream and you only have upstream gear, or vice-versa, go find another piece of water.

Third Rule – being first does not mean an angler can hog the pool all day. Once an angler has fished through a piece of water thoroughly, you should be able to have a turn. Or else get into a circuit with the first angler.

Fourth Rule – if an angler is breaking the rules of good manners, assume it is out of ignorance, and attempt to quietly explain the rules of good manners.

Fifth Rule – my own personal rule, that you are free to use if you want – if there is any agro, go find another piece of water. Trout fishing is supposed to be relaxing.

River Mouth Manners

First Rule – the first in the water gets to fish where that angler chooses.

Second Rule – if and when an angler catches a fish and moves to shore to land it, the anglers either side of that angler should hold his place, for his return. Do not move into that angler's position.

Third Rule – anglers joining anglers already at the mouth should leave the anglers already there plenty of room.

Fourth Rule – if an angler is breaking the rules of good manners, assume it is out of ignorance, and attempt to quietly explain the rules of good manners.

Fifth Rule – my own personal rule, that you are free to use if you want – if there is any agro, go find another piece of water. Trout fishing is supposed to be relaxing.

Lake Manners

Trolling and Harling - never cross behind another boat that is trolling, or harling, at less than 100 meters clearance.
Jigging - Never start jigging in the path of a boat that is jigging, trolling or harling.

more informationgraphic [For a complete rundown on fishing manners in New Zealand see this.]

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