Sunday, December 06, 2009

How To Win Friends and Influence People on the River

Winter steelhead season is upon us with its cold toes, frozen guides and rude fishermen. I don't think all are deliberately rude but just clueless. Here in the Pacific Northwest we have the "Lords of the River" also known as professional bait guides who think nothing of cutting you off in order to get their "sports" into a fish.
Many of you can no doubt add to the following like compiled by my friend Erik Helm of the Classical Angler

1. If you do get into a run, you are one lucky boy! Under no circumstances should you move. Cast from the same position in all directions. If you wait long enough, a fish might swim through the run and eat your fly or bait/lure.

2. If the approach you are using does not prove effective, under no circumstances change what you are doing. Keep it up and sooner or later you will either catch a steelhead or die, whichever comes first…

3. If someone is in a run, under no circumstances talk to them or look at them. Just proceed below them to their casting distance and low-hole them. They will get the point sooner or later that the entire river belongs to you.

4. If you are fishing with eggs, make absolutely certain to tell everyone how many fish you have caught.

5. If you see someone about to enter an otherwise empty piece of water, run down the bank and jump in the water before they get there. Remember the spoils belong to the bold and greedy.

6. If you are fishing from the bank with spinning gear, make sure that you cut off anybody wading from any good fish holding water.

7. If you are new to fishing with a two-hander and are having trouble casting, just stay in the run and practice your casting without moving. Since you have no chance, neither should anybody else.

8. If you are wading below a nice piece of holding water or a run and want to fish it, do not get out of the water to walk up to the run on the bank or a path. Instead, splash your way stumbling upstream through the heart of the run. This should stir the fish up and put them in a biting mood.

This last one is from yours truly and it goes out to those models of angling etiquette also know as drift boat guides.

9.If you see an angler swinging flies through a run be sure to cut him off and fish his water. Hey he isn't going to catch a damn thing anyway and after all the river belongs to you!


  1. Ah, #9.
    Forgot that one.
    Thank dog no drift boats on my little river.
    Jet boats out west this year were horrible.

  2. Thanks, and I'm glad to not have this problem on my Smallmouth creeks and rivers! Well steelhead I generally dont have this problem since I fish in non-ideal conditions to limit the hassle! Very funny rant I enjoyed it!