An important part of fly fishing basics is practicing good fly fishing etiquette. Be polite and courteous to others, respect the environment, and you find that it adds up to a very enjoyable day of fly fishing.Shop Our Essential Fly Boxes
A few basic practices will help ensure you are able to enjoy the water, have fun and get along other fly fishers.
•Catch and release native trout. Because hatchery fish often mix with native species, you are encouraged to take them home. Hatchery steelhead trout have their adipose fin clipped. Learn about best ways to catch and release trout.
•Know the laws! The fishing regulations for most states are about the size of a small book, but keep up on the rules. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. I keep at least two copies, one at home and one in my car.
•Recycle your monofilament line, and don’t leave it on the riverbank. Monofilament line is non-biodegradable and can remain in the environment for over 600 years. The Berkley Company has a recycling program available for anglers.
•Don’t fish if the water is over 70 degrees. The trout are stressed and are just trying to survive. Give them a break; they will not survive your release! Carry a thermometer. If you must, fish in the morning when the water temperatures are lower.
Fly Fishing Etiquette from the Bank
Lots of great fly fishing happens through bank access. Read about proper etiquette below.
•Respect property rights. Some areas are now closed because other fishermen have not asked for permission, or have left trash on the bank.
•Give plenty of room to your fellow fishers. The first person on a section of water should be allowed to fish it. Walk on by (away from the water if possible) and have patience, they may be “resting the water.” This is done after a disturbance of some kind (like landing a trout).
•Keep the noise down; trout are very wary. If you spook a trout near another fisherman it may shoot past other fish in that section of water, spooking them.
•Don’t litter; carry out all your trash AND some of the trash left by others. I know it is a lot to ask, but who else is going to do it? It helps even if you only pick up just a few pieces each trip. Always bring the small pieces of monofilament line that you have cut off home with you.
•The person working their way upstream has the right of way. Try to keep some distance between you and others.
•Good fly fishing etiquette also requires you to yield to others who have a fish on. Politely ask if you can lend a hand; they may really appreciate it.
•Wade only when needed. The aquatic life you are walking through is very fragile.
Fly Fishing Etiquette from Your Boat
Lucky enough to have a boat? Make sure to follow our tips below.
•Most of the fly fishing etiquette for bank fishermen also applies to the fly fishers in a boat.
•Please give bank fishers a lot of space. You have the ability to fish more of the water, so let them have the section they are on.
•Be aware of the threat of non-native species. Be sure to wash off your boat before moving to another river or lake.Fly Fishing Boat Guide
Good Etiquette is Win-Win
Etiquette that is at the root of fly fishing basics is respecting the environment and being courteous to others. As a result you will find most other fly fishers to be a great source of information and friendship. This adds up to a more enjoyable day on the water.
Have an etiquette question, or rant? Let us know below!