Fishing Etiquette

I like nothing better than either fishing a lovely wee river or stream in Bonnie Scotland for the wee wild Brownies or Loch Style fishing at my favorite location Lake of Menteith, Port of Menteith, Scotland. It’s great to just chill back and wet a line or two and hopefully have a great catch as well.


There is nothing like a long slow drift in the boat with a slight breeze blowing over your right shoulder casting a dry fly to the rising fish in front of you.


But there is one thing I can’t stand is some moron spoiling it for me.


When you’re fishing a nice wee river and into the fish, the moron always seems to want in to the same spot as you, or they cast their lines over yours.


Or when you’re either having a nice drift or anchored up, instead of coming in behind you to take their turn coming over the same drift, they cut you up and start fishing or drive straight over your fly line at full throttle.


As well as there being casting lessons there should also be “Fishing Etiquette Lessons” given; so that the morons don’t spoil it for the other fly fishers who are out having a nice relaxing time.


Below you will find some good etiquette practices for both boat and bank fishing.


Boat Etiquette


Even if you use a Fishery regularly, please take the opportunity to read the following common sense guidance notes for boat fishing. They will help you and other fishers have a much more enjoyable session.


Fish can sense and are disturbed by undue noise, e.g. stamping on the floorboards from within a boat. Try to keep noise to a minimum. Always remember an outboard engine is a means of propulsion, and not necessarily a way of getting directly from A to B in the straightest line or the fastest time, especially if it disturbs your quarry and other fishery users.


Do not leave litter, especially nylon traces as they can kill birds. At the end of the day remove all litter from the boat and draw your boat up adjacent to other boats.


If you don’t know the water, ask for a map of the fishery, showing depths, etc. This will help you avoid disturbing fish in “hot spots” such as shallow ground, and also prevent engine damage.


Try to maintain a good distance, (say 150 metres wherever possible), from any shoreline when travelling between marks or renewing the drift. Try not to cross within 150 meters of another boat’s drift, especially at full speed. Do not motor at full speed over known drifts, or when moving away from a drift.


If your drift tends to run into a shoreline, move out either by using the oars, very low engine revs, or an electric engine.


Do not hog a productive spot or backtrack over your old drift if other fishers are on the same drift. When you have exhausted a drift and wish to run through again, take your place at the end of the boats on the same drift, bearing in mind the above points.


Always try to be aware of the location of other fishers and what type of fishing they are doing. Do not encroach too close to drogue drifters. Bear in mind a drogue drift is much slower than a standard drift.


Also remember onboard etiquette when fishing with a boat partner. If you are not experienced in casting from a boat, it is recommended that once your boat partner has finished casting and their line is in the water you can start casting. It can be quite hazardous if two of you are casting at the same time when there is a stiff breeze, the lines can be caught up in each other.


There is also an invisible demarcation line on the boat, never cast into your boat partner’s area unless they have specifically advised that you can do so.


This is for two reasons: firstly it is just like bank fishing, if your partner is into fish on their side of the boat, there is nothing worse than someone casting over your line to get into the fish, and secondly the lines will get entangled and the possibility of loosing a good fish. It will not only cause friction between you but also spoil a good days fishing.


You can come to an agreement that after every 2 hours change sides, that way you can both decide on what area to fish and both have equal chances of catching fish.


Bank Etiquette


When bank fishing from a river, stream or fishery; bank etiquette should always be followed. It not only enhances the other fly fisher’s enjoyment of the sport but your own also. If you are courteous so other fly fishers will be courteous to you.


There is nothing worse than trying to cast your line in a tight but productive spot to find that other fly fishers are crowding in on your area, casting over your line or standing right next to you so that you have no space to cast yourself.


Remember anglers are naturally protective of a fishing spot that they have found or are using. Common courtesy and manners makes his and your day a pleasant one.


Keep away from other anglers fishing.


Do be aware of other fly fishers within casting distance; there is the accepted distance to keep away.


Respect angler’s markers, stay away; this is his spot.


When passing another angler in a narrow area ask permission first.


Do not fish while passing close to him but wait until well clear.


A friendly greeting goes a long way to ensure a safe passage past.


When leaving fishing spots with others in close proximity or passing anglers casting give them a wide berth.


The Right of Way: - When it comes to fishing etiquette, the right of way is something that you'll need to learn. The rule of thumb is that the angler who is already in the water is given the right of way. The rule also applies if you're walking along the bank or floating. If you need to move locations try to move up-river or along the bank whenever possible. You never want to intrude on another fly fisher without asking first. If you do get permission to enter the same waters make sure that you do so up-river or further along the bank and allow the other angler lots of space.


Taking out your Line: - Common courtesy dictates that you take your line out of the water for any angler who has a fish on the line. This is so that they have plenty of space in order to land their fish. This rule is very important if you're fishing down-river from the other angler. Make sure that you never step into the space of an angler who is releasing or landing a fish on the bank.


Silence: - Whenever you're fly fishing you'll need to be as quiet as you can...and this means leaving your dog and the radio at home. There are two reasons why you want to be as quiet as possible: (1) you don't want to spook the fish, and (2) you don't want to disturb other fly fishers. Many people enjoy fly fishing for the peace and solitude that it affords them.


Lend a Helping Hand: - Always be willing to help out other anglers. This can be as simple as helping them retrieve something that has floated down-river or lending them something that they need, such as extra line. You're all there for a fun day of fly fishing so helping each other out just lends to the experience.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Fishery Wars

As everyone now knows. Scotland in full lockdown again! It is now causing a lot of concern and upset within the fly fishing world especially between the various trout fisheries here in Scotland. There

Scotland in Full Lockdown

Yet again as of today 5 January 2021 Scotland has been placed in full lockdown until 1 February 2021 due to the increase in Covid-19 cases being reported and the speed of transmission of the new Covid

Tackle Advice for Newcomers

When I first started out fishing way back in the 60s, money was a little bit tight. I had to save up my paper round and milk round money so that I could afford a second-hand bike for getting around on

  • Black Facebook Icon
  • Black YouTube Icon
  • Black Instagram Icon