Design a site like this with
Get started

Fly-Fisherman’s Guide to Etiquette

What is fly-fishing etiquette, and why do we need it?

We have all heard of table etiquette and social etiquette but what about fly-fishing etiquette? Fly fishing etiquette has to do with the way we act and carry ourselves around other fly fishermen. Fly-fishing is generally a solitary sport, however, these etiquette rules are essential to know in case you ever come in contact with a crowded body of water.

Below are some of the most popular fly-fishing etiquette rules. Many are common sense, but each is an important part of respecting other fly fishermen.

  • A stretch of water belongs to the fisherman that is fishing it. Do not crowd a stretch of water. Fly fishing requires some space–leave plenty of room for the other anglers around you.
  • If you need to go around a fisherman, get out of the water. Staying in the water can cause a lot of disturbance in the water. Splashing water and kicking up sediment can spook fish in the area and be devastating for the fisherman who has to deal with it. Get out of the water as quietly as possible and move around.
    A fisherman going upstream has the right of way over a person fishing downstream. Upstream fishermen have the advantage because they are fighting against the current and must move slowly and more carefully. Upstream fishermen also approach the fish from behind giving them another advantage.
    Respect the area you are fishing on. Do not leave any trash or fishing line behind. Pick up any trash you see and preserve the area.
    Don’t camp out. Fish a stretch of river, then move on. If you’re not catching anything, find new water and move on. Don’t create a traffic jam for other fishermen. A simple rule to follow is to step–cast–step-cast. Always be moving.
    Many rivers and streams run through private property. Ask permission to pass through these properties. If going through farmland, try not to disturb livestock and do not step on plants or crops. Close all gates behind you.
    Share the water. Many rivers, streams and lakes have multiple uses. Respect people in canoes, rafts and boats. If you are in one of these things, try to pass behind the fisherman. If that is not possible float as quietly as possible so as not to disturb the water.
    Fishing in groups. Groups can present a challenge when fishing a crowded body of water. Try leapfrogging stretches of river, or use different flies to fish the same stretch. If the river is wide enough try fishing from opposite banks. Take turns if necessary.
    Limit your catch. Many places have a limit on the amount of fish you can pull out of the body of water. “Limit your kill. Don’t kill your limit.” Don’t take more than your share of fish. Catch and release wherever possible.

In summary, follow the golden rule–treat other fishermen the way you want to be treated. Respect the water and those who you share it with. Knowing these rules will make you a better, well-rounded fisherman.

Any etiquette rules I missed? Let me know in the comments!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close