Sunday, April 15, 2012

Salmon and steelhead fishing etiquette

Fishing is meant to be an enjoyable experience. No body wants to go fishing to become irritated by another persons action possibly ruining an otherwise awesome day.

In my many experiences fishing the times I felt I have had the river all to myself are few and far between. Sometimes the preferred placed to fish can become so crowded that fisherman can call it "combat fishing."

The first general rule is one I try to apply to all facets of life, not just fishing. It is treat others with respect.

1. Always respect and follow the rules and regulations for the area you are fishing. If you are unsure I would consider checking the fishing guide or looking the area up online. The Internet is a valuable tool!

2. Remember that we do not own the river, or even a fishing spot. So don't act like it by being rude to other fisherman in the area and please clean up after yourself.

There have been many times where I have left with empty plastic pop bottles filling my net and a bag of garbage. If you see others garbage try to clean up and leave the place better looking than when you arrived.

3. When entering an area where other people are fishing and you intend to fish there as well, fish compatibly with the existing fisherman. When fishing close to other fisherman try not to crowd them as much as possible.

4. There is an order when fishing a drift or current. The person farthest downstream casts first. The next person upstream, after waiting a few seconds will then cast until everyone fish has taken his turn then repeat. In holes that can be fished by both sides it works basically the same but each side completes a turn while the others wait or they can alternate casts. It may sound relatively simple until someone hooks a fish or gets snagged on the bottom.

5. When a fish is hooked, the person doing the hooking :) should alert the other fisherman he has one on. The most common way is by yelling "FISH ON".

6.  If someone close to use has a fish on you should get your line out of the water until he has landed it or chased the fish elsewhere.If your line becomes tangled while a fish is on give the line slack and try to communicate with the other fisherman so you are not the cause of a lost fish, sometimes this requires cutting your line.

7. If the fisherman does leave the area because of a fish he should get the same spot back.

8. If you offer to net a fish, always ask them before you do. Sometimes fish are lost by bad net jobs!

Although there are no written rules I am offering some simple guidelines. A little courtesy goes a long way. Everyone is there to have a good time and to catch fish, there is no reason for anyone to get upset or angry.

Unfortunately there are many fishing jerks out there. Try to kill them with kindness, but if they are breaking the law or preventing you from fishing, call a CO!

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