Trout stream ethics

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Eperous
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:20 pm
Location: Catskills

Trout stream ethics

Post by Eperous »

I grew up in the Garden State so I don't think I'm talking out of school when I mention fishing tactics like "the Jersey squeeze"... :?

Yep, that's right--- the Jersey squeeze... my teenage-buds and I came up with that terminology a long time ago, back in the late 1960's--- early '70's--- referring to other anglers who moved in on us, where rod tips could touch after someone caught/released a trout that just attracted angler attention, drawing them ever so close to where you stood in the water... :shock:

Well my question has to do with streamside ethics and what I think is common sense... in this era of twitter, texts, cell phones, the internet, and stuff that I have no idea what anyone is talking about, I grew up reading a few basic trout fishing books, including a real classic--- Ernest Schwiebert's Matching the Hatch... Schwiebert and Flick were my teenage companions, but only through their written word...

One of the only books that I ever recall to even touch upon trout stream ethics was Matching the Hatch... Schwiebert's last chapter was dedicated to this subject... but in this day of the "Me generation", DVD's and YouTube, where do new flyfishers ever get a clue about the topic of trout stream ethics?

Ed

catskilljohn
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Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by catskilljohn »

Eperous wrote: but in this day of the "Me generation", DVD's and YouTube, where do new flyfishers ever get a clue about the topic of trout stream ethics?
Ed
Good question, but I didn't learn my stream ethics from a book, I learned to be considerate from my parents. Just like its rude to cut in line at the movies or a fast food eatery, flip people the bird, etc, todays youth should know not to infringe on another anglers space while fishing.

I dont run into many other anglers where I go, as I choose the unbeaten path. Even if I did, I'd pack right up and move if I see someone else. There is plenty of water, and being a gentle, non-confrontational soul, its not in my nature to spew obsenities over a "spot". I hear of shouting matches, name calling and even alleged property damage over space on the water. Why? Are people that angry that something like fishing brings the teeth and claws out?

I remember years ago I was at the Gorge in Jersey. That place gets crowded, and you do alot of walking to find a fishable area to use. I was making my way upstream and around the bend was a guy standing waist deep in the stream. I got out, climbed the hill to the road and walked 100 yards upstream of him and went back in. The guy lifted his arm to me when I looked back, but I didn't know if he was flipping me the bird or waving because he was so far away.

That night I was on a NJ forum and there was a topic started that was titled "Chivelry is not dead at the KLG". I read it and it was the guy from the gorge describing our encounter, and how he was shocked that I would make such an effort to not disturb him. We are friends now, have been since that day.

CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

bobpetti
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Joined: Sat Dec 24, 2011 9:34 am

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by bobpetti »

This past Saturday I had two very different experiences within an hour.

I was fishing a popular spot on the Willow - upstreams aways from the prime part of the pool and off by myself. Downstream were a couple guys who were together - fishing a comfortable distance apart but close enough they could talk and it was obvious they were fishing buddies. There was a group of guys on the shore who had been beating the water half to death all morning. One of them broke from the group, waded violently between those two kicking and splashing, and starting flogging the water and whipping his line around. The guys look at each other and exchange those WTF looks. I've seen things like that in Pulaski, but never once in the Catskills.

I turned away and walked further upstream to get away, my cheeks flushed and stomach in knots.

As I was entering the top of a nice riffle, I noticed a fella and his companion coming up along the shore. "I gotta get outa here", I thought. Turns out it was a young guy with his girl, her first time fly fishing.

"Hi! Do you mind if we go on upstream? We'll keep out of your way".

Wow. Nice. Very polite.

"Not at all. Be my guest. I'll be fishing from here back to my car so we won't be in each other's way. I'm almost done anyway."

"Do you have any advice on nymphs? [forgot her name - my shame] wants to catch her first NY trout."

"Sure! Here - take one of these - it has always been very good for me this time of year. Good luck."

Someone taught that young man manners and stream etiquette. The other guy must have been raised by cows.

Hard to believe I had those two experiences back to back.

BP

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ewpeper
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Location: Austin, TX and Island Park, ID

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by ewpeper »

Common problem everywhere it seems. It recalls a tactic the late Bob Nastasi used to use very effectively, and that I saw him use one evening at Bard Parker on the Delaware. Three of us were happily fishing a flush sulphur hatch well down the pool. The fish were fairly close to shore so we were wading in knee deep water. Along comes this creature splashing down the river. When he got about 50 feet away, Nastasi (who was not by any means a small person) turns toward him and calmly says, "Where the *&%# do you think you're going?" The guy said something about "Well, I saw you catching fish, and. . . " At which point Nastasi raised his rather unique wading staff (a 2" diameter hardwood shillelagh-like club) above his head, and said very calmly, "Get the hell out of the river and keep moving or I'll beat you out of the river." End of conforntation.

BTW, I did write a chapter on stream etiquette and dealing with the social nature of fishing the Beaverkill in the little book Gary LaFontaine and I did on that river. It was written in the 80s so it's probably outdated now.

The same kinds of problems occur on the Henry's Fork during the "social season" around the green drake hatch in mid to late June. I suspect it's the lure of productive public water and the "entitlement" attitude we see a lot of everywhere today; e.g., "You're here. Why can't I be here too?"

Eric
A mountain is a fact -- a trout is a moment of beauty known only to men who seek them.
Al McClane in his Introduction to The Practical Fly Fisherman . . . often erroneously attributed to Arnold Gingrich

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gadabout
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Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by gadabout »

I'm sure we all have a story or two to tell. Some years ago I was fishing the tail end of Cairns Pool on the Beaverkill. I was alone as the fishing was pretty slow, but I'd found a rising fish near the far bank. I was working on this fish for about an hour and finally got him to take. About 10 seconds into playing the fish, I heard something swishing past my right ear. I turned my head and saw that there was another fisherman behind me and to my right. He was casting and his casts were aimed right at the fish on the end of my line! I was so flabbergasted that I lost my focus and eventually dropped the fish.

ted patlen
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Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by ted patlen »

i can type for hours...no days...no decades about this subject.

first you must understand the jersey angler, we expect crowds and learn to live among them, whether on the road , at a mall or in a river. tactics are re-refined from stealth to attack mode .

it is a way of fishing in the most densely populated state in the union. the salt water is the same from the beach or from a boat. if a rod is bent then all rules are off.

I AM IN NO WAY ENDORSING THIS PHENOMENON, JUST GIVING ANOTHER POINT OF VEIW FROM SOMEONE WHO WAS PART OF IT

most of the people are good people but clueless about stream ethics. and some are just assholes. the best way to deal with the assholes are to wait for him to get set , then walk right through his spot or if it's too deep then skip a few flat stones across the pool.

with so many miles of open water finding sanctuary is not too difficult, but out here in the crowded east it is more difficult....pools like cairns on the beaverkill, bard parker on the main stem, ovation on the farmington, the Y pool on the swift, are all easy to access and famous pools. they are expected to be crowded...

is the action by those who don't know the etiquette wrong? or uneducated? if uneducated to the fact then how does one get the proper message out to them? maybe a concerted effort at all the fishing shows across the country?


one story...i was wading to my favorite run/pool in the willow years ago when i spotted two anglers, one standing in the exact spot i wanted to fish in. so like cj, i got out of the run and walked along the rivers edge never attempting or going anywhere near. when behind one of them i casually asked if anything was happening as yet. his, arrogant, superior pointed response was..."there is a path in the woods"...

well my jersey popped out and i, with a visibly angry and louder retort told him " don't worry jack, (as in jack off) i'm not horning in on your spot"

and walked to another spot down river. i was fumin. i normally heat up and cool off quickly but this asshole got under my skin to the point that i couldn't fish. so naturally i decided to return to the pool and do the squeeze on him. unfortunately he was gone before i could have my fun. the other angler was still fishing and asked him if i was too close to him (we could have crossed lines on very long casts) he said no , there's plenty of room and that the other guy was a jerk. the rest of the evening was filled with friendly banter and lots of fish...one of the best march brown spinner falls i was ever in. the nice guy's name was Ray Smith. when i asked him if he was related to the Ray Smith we know of, he said no, he never heard of him.

redietz
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Location: Central MD

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by redietz »

ted patlen wrote: is the action by those who don't know the etiquette wrong? or uneducated? if uneducated to the fact then how does one get the proper message out to them? maybe a concerted effort at all the fishing shows across the country?
I'm glad you used the word "etiquette" here, because that's really what we're talking about more than "ethics".

I'll agree that some people are plain rude, but another part of the problem is that etiquette varies from stream to stream. If you're fishing Yellow Breeches during the white fly hatch, you pick a spot, and stay there. You're going to be fishing relatively close to the next angler, 100" apart is acceptable. (Maybe even generous.) That close on other streams is way too close. And "staying there" on other streams is hogging a pool. (I'm thinking salmon streams where the custom is step, cast, repeat.) It's possible, even with the best intentions, to inadvertently break the local "rules".
Bob

Ron`
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Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:12 pm

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by Ron` »

I just keep walking until I can't see someone within at least 100 yds. I just sit down, watch and wait. Someone taught me this on the stream over 20 years ago to take big fish as I was starting to flyfish again. I am sure he has passed on now.

He never told me his name, though we met multiple times on the stream at the same long distance starting point for many years. We both just talked and respected each other. We both gave each other plenty of distance. He could shoot a line fully accross the stream in two false casts that was unreal. Put his cigerette down and swish, swish, plop into the zone and a rise. If he didn't hook it there wasn't a second cast immediately. He would wait to see if the fish kept feeding, or if it didn't, he would move back out of the water and light another one.

Somehow this all made sense to me, just fully enjoy the experience on the stream and try to out smart a large trout.

If nothing happens, so be it. If nothing happens at the appropriate time and there is time left, move further along. I generally don't waste a cast unless it's fast water in passing when searching. The bigger pools and really good fish scattered on other holes require limited casting. Unless there is a huge hatch driving them all crazy of course.

There is no reason to crowd anyone on the Catskill streams in my opinon and I loath people that do. There are miles of stream.
"By the time I had turned 30, I'd realized 2 important things. 1: I had to fish. 2: I had to work for a living." Z. Grey "The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while you are still able." - S. G. Hackle

Ron`
Posts: 163
Joined: Thu May 28, 2009 6:12 pm

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by Ron` »

catskilljohn wrote:
Eperous wrote: but in this day of the "Me generation", DVD's and YouTube, where do new flyfishers ever get a clue about the topic of trout stream ethics?
Ed
Good question, but I didn't learn my stream ethics from a book, I learned to be considerate from my parents. Just like its rude to cut in line at the movies or a fast food eatery, flip people the bird, etc, todays youth should know not to infringe on another anglers space while fishing.

I dont run into many other anglers where I go, as I choose the unbeaten path. Even if I did, I'd pack right up and move if I see someone else. There is plenty of water, and being a gentle, non-confrontational soul, its not in my nature to spew obsenities over a "spot". I hear of shouting matches, name calling and even alleged property damage over space on the water. Why? Are people that angry that something like fishing brings the teeth and claws out?

I remember years ago I was at the Gorge in Jersey. That place gets crowded, and you do alot of walking to find a fishable area to use. I was making my way upstream and around the bend was a guy standing waist deep in the stream. I got out, climbed the hill to the road and walked 100 yards upstream of him and went back in. The guy lifted his arm to me when I looked back, but I didn't know if he was flipping me the bird or waving because he was so far away.

That night I was on a NJ forum and there was a topic started that was titled "Chivelry is not dead at the KLG". I read it and it was the guy from the gorge describing our encounter, and how he was shocked that I would make such an effort to not disturb him. We are friends now, have been since that day.

CJ
Hmmm, we must be cut from the same cloth. Imagine that, hard working, respecful to others types.
"By the time I had turned 30, I'd realized 2 important things. 1: I had to fish. 2: I had to work for a living." Z. Grey "The trout do not rise in the cemetery, so you better do your fishing while you are still able." - S. G. Hackle

Allan
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Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Trout stream ethics

Post by Allan »

Allow me to admit my ignorance of the 'Where did I learn fly fishing ethics. Or, put another way, What are the proper and ethical ways to approach, enter, and behave near and in the water?'
I don't recall exactly if I read about these facits of fly fishing, heard about them, maybe was guilty of some error for which I was verbally slapped silly(lol), or maybe I just witnessed an act of bad behavior and told myself, "That's just wrong!" So I guess you can say I learned from various sources.
Now, for the most part you guys have mentioned proper ethics. However, and this first one I'm suggesting may have been infered in a post above: Because of the increased popularity of the sport over the last 40-50 years, fly fishing is sometimes a 'social activity'. Now I'm sure this depends on the locale. As an example, the renown pool on the Beaverkill will probably be crowded this coming weekend. Near the top of this pool guys may be only 75-100 feet apart. That's just the way it is. There are other pools in the area that are similarly crowded. And YES! There are ways to get that social and still be nice, as well as ethical, about it.
A specific situation has been espoused as unethical by some. That is, fishing No Kill water when the water temperatures exceed (__*). Personally I have mixed feelings about this. Maybe someone has traveled for a once in a lifetime trip to the Catskills and the water temp is above that stated temperature. He has every right to fish whereas someone who's a 'stone throw' to those waters can afford to be 'ethical'.
Yet another ethic that has not been mentioned and that I learned way way back, is to 'Leave a place cleaner then you found it'. I cannot count the times I've seen garbage (soda cans, water bottles, cigar stubs, paper bags, empty leader covers or empty tippet dispensers, zip lock bags, etc) in the No Kill areas that I know are almost entirely visited by fly fishers. Fly fisher or not - a pig is a pig is a pig!
So I'm not sure there's a chart of proper ethics or not but I try to follow the rule that goes, 'Do the right thing'.
Okay, I'm dismounting now, LOL.

Allan

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