Fly Fishing Etiquette


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You’ve probably been out on the water for a relaxing day of fly fishing and run into other anglers who were obnoxious and rude.

These types of anglers can certainly ruin the tranquility of the great outdoors.

Be sure you’re not one of them by following fly fishing etiquette.

Fly Fishing Etiquette

  • Do not intrude into the space of other anglers, people enjoying a campfire or picnic, adults or children who are swimming or someone who is sitting on the bank of a stream enjoying the scenery and water. Everyone has the right to enjoy their favorite pastime without being disturbed. Though you might consider the area your fishing spot, others have the right to enjoy it also.

  • Remember that anglers who are heading upstream have the right of way. 

  • If fishing from a drift boat or raft, give anglers and other boaters lots of space.

  • If you wish to fish on private property, ask permission. Never build a campfire on private property.

  • Do not enter the water in front of an angler who was there when you arrived. If you wish to fish in the same area, ask permission and respect the answer whether it is yes or no. If permission is given, take a position upstream and give all the other anglers lots of space.

  • Never take your dog or radio when you go fishing. Be respectful of other anglers’ desire for solitude.

  • When an angler who is fishing nearby is playing a fish, stop casting until the fish is landed. Give the angler lots of space and don’t intrude or give advice. This is his moment, not yours.

  • Respect the fish you land. If using a net, be sure it is wet. If you must handle a fish, wet your hands first. If you can’t remove the fly in a reasonable amount of time, cut the tippet line and gently place the fish back into the water.

  • Only wade when absolutely necessary. Respect all aquatic life, as it is imperative to the food chain. If you must wade, learn the top wading tips.

  • Give other anglers a hand when possible. Lend them a fly, a piece of line or some tippet material.

If you follow basic fly fishing etiquette, then everyone’s fly fishing experience will be a positive one and you will even make some new friends that enjoy the sport of fly fishing.

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