Saturday, July 4, 2015

Don't "Bogart" Fly Fishing Water

Deschutes River Canyon in Oregon's high desert plateau
Classic Deschutes River Steelhead Run
My friend Don Wilson and I were fishing a popular Steelhead hole on the Deschutes River in Oregon. We were casting and working our way down to a tailout when two anglers wearing baseball hats rudely waded into the river not more than 20 yards below us. In a demanding voice I told them that it wasn’t proper to cut in that close to other anglers, but they scoffed at us and began to cast. Don didn’t want a confrontation, but I told him that they were trying to “bogart” the hole and have probably done it to others. To avoid a nasty confrontation, some anglers will concede their water, but I believe that inconsiderate acts like this should be quickly dealt with.

As a guide, I wasn’t easily bluffed; so rather than argue with them, I walked slowly in their direction while making numerous casts toward them. They quickly took notice. Rather than take the chance of getting snagged with a No. 4, 9049 Mustad hook, they begrudgingly began to move backwards while retrieving their lines and bleating some derogatory expletives. Don was somewhat surprised by my aggressive behavior, but I explained that there’s a proper way to approach other anglers when you want to fish near them and it requires just a simple rule.

Be polite when approaching other anglers and simply ask if you can fish behind or below them at a reasonable distance. Sadly, there are a few fly fishers that want to monopolize the water. However, a vast majority will not only say yes, but even invite you to fish with them. In many cases, courteous actions can lead to the building long lasting friendships.

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