As with any sport that has an element of solitude associated with it, the experience matters.  All too often I find that fellow fishers (to be completely PC) aren’t paying attention to their surroundings.  And when I say surroundings, I mean other people.

Case in point.  Just last week I descended a trail to a tail water that’s within a short drive from my home in Boulder, CO.  After exchanging some niceties in the parking lot with a couple fellas getting ready for a day on the stream, I headed towards the river, down the path, and found a nice hole with what looked like it had a lot of fish in it.

After 3 casts, a young man popped out of the woods, said hello to me, and then proceeded to walk 10 feet past me, and jump in the river.  Not more than 5 minutes later, two other guys walked down the path and jumped right in the water and fished my water from the other side.  Keep in mind that there’s over a mile of fishable water, and not a whole hell of a lot of people fishing the remaining 0.99 miles of stream that remain.

Here are my rules for sharing the water:

  1.  Don’t ever get within 30 yards of someone else fishing the river if you can avoid it.  It’s just courteous.
  2.  If you’re fishing with a friend, or a group of friends, give each other some space but stay within shouting distance, especially if there are bears around or if the river is difficult to wade.  You or a friend might need help.
  3. If someone jumps on your water, don’t get into a pissing match with them.  Just wind up your line and find some serenity somewhere else on the stream.  Fly fishing is NOT a contact sport.
  4. Don’t give people advice unless they ask for it.  The last thing I need from a random stranger is critique on my casting.


Up next, we’ll get deeper into fly selection in Common Fly Patterns.