River Etiquette

Nowadays, it seems more often than not, that anglers tend to forget true river etiquette and the importance of the conservation of our waterways. As an avid Fly
Fisher, I feel very passionate about both of these topics but will focus this blog on re-educating the reader on the importance of river etiquette.

For me, fishing the St. Mary’s River Rapids has been, and continues to be, an opportunity to grow as an angler; to learn about each species and to know the body of water in front of us. But that is just part of what we need to consider. Over the years, I have been fortunate enough to learn the art of fly fishing from my mentor and close family friend, Mike Sewards. He has been fly fishing the St Mary’s rapids for over 30 years and has caught his share of fish. Before my first cast, he sat me down by the river’s edge and gave me my first lesson on River Etiquette. By following some basic tips, we can ensure that every angler enjoys each experience.

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  1. Always be mindful of the other angler around you. Knowing where they are standing and observing where they are casting is critical.
  2. When moving from one honey hole to another, be cautious of where and how you move. Wade slowly and stay clear of the other anglers’ spots. Even if it is unintentional, wading heavily and spooking fish does not make for an enjoyable experience for anyone.
  3. A good rule of thumb is to communicate with an angler close to you. Let them know that you plan to move locations and ask where they are fishing so that you can give them the space they need.
  4. I also make it a practice to pick up any garbage or spent line even if it is not my own. Carry a plastic bag in your pack and simply depose of the garbage at the end of the day.
  5. Some of you may be familiar with the term “low holing.” This refers to anglers who fish below or down river of other anglers. This will invariably spook fish. Proper etiquette would simply be wait your turn.

For me, River Etiquette is less about stated rules and more about a state of mind. By showing consideration towards others, you will go a long way in educating through action.

Tight lines!  Matt MacGregor On The Fly Fishing Company Pro Staff/Guide
Tight lines!
Matt MacGregor
On The Fly Fishing Company
Pro Staff/Guide