ettiquette - Part II [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: ettiquette - Part II

10-19-2002, 08:31 AM
(that thread was getting l-o-n-g)

OK -

Let's discuss lo-holing. First is the classic lo-hole:

You are fishing a hole (needs definition) that is not big enough for two (needs definition). Someone cuts in front of you and stops your progression.

In this case let's assume that a spot separated by rapids on top and bottom is a pool. Is that acceptable to all?

10-19-2002, 08:33 AM
Then there is the approach we recommend, following thru.

Someone is fishing a hole that is not big enough for two (definition required). The second angler walks to the top of the pool, waits until the other angler has reached a reasonable distance thru the run (which requires definition) over a reasonable period of time (which requires def), then enters the top of the pool.


Reasonable distance - 200 feet, or the length of both working lines added together to space the anglers apart

Reasonable time - not more than ten casts without moving a rod length, take them all at once and walk -or- take them a step at a time, same difference.

10-19-2002, 08:37 AM
Another case is the next or previous pool advance. If we accept that a pool is bound by rapids, then the arriving angler could choose to fish the pool above or below the current pool without any grief. Opinions?

In this case, we show the angler going to the next pool down...

10-19-2002, 08:38 AM
Then there's the other bank. Assuming the river is wide enough for two people on opposite sides (needs definition of how wide) would an opposite side advance constitute lo-holing?

This is a bad example because the river is so narrow between banks. What would an acceptable width be? How about so the swings don't touch at 45 degree angles to each other standing directly opposite each other or something?

10-19-2002, 08:47 AM
And how about this, if the person feels you should accept his intrusion, then he must think it's OK or not know better, so simply walk around to the part you wanted to fish just as he did. :devil:

Sounds crazy, but it is indeed fully balanced on both sides of the fence. Is it two wrongs not making a right? Is a verbal (or worse) confrontation worse or better than sending this silent message?

Keep in mind the offender has no defendable stance in this. interesting anyway.

10-19-2002, 10:25 AM
Unless the next run downstream is clearly seperated from the occupied run, following through is really the only correct option.

The wildcard in this whole game is the lack of established traditions out West regarding moving through a run (compared to, say, the Margaree in Nova Scotia).

If someone were to approach me and ask to follow me through a run I am fishing, I must say "sure, no problem". It should not even be necessary to ask permission, but out here in the Wild West (I live in Maupin, Oregon on the Deschutes River) people can be pretty territorial regarding the water they are fishing.

This problem reminds me of a non-fishing etiquette issue I've encountered while driving. When road construction forces cars to merge into one lane, big city drivers know to alternate every other car. When the same scene plays out in a smaller town drivers hesitate to merge, or kind of jumble together a couple cars at a time, because they encounter major road construction less frequently.

Traditions take time to establish. I wish we could speed up the process.

Willie Gunn
10-19-2002, 11:16 AM
Juro et al.
The Scots are a clever lot and we have solved these problems long ago.

By charging you can restrict the numbers of anglers wishing to fish a particular piece of water. Private beats are expensive but you know that you are paying for exclusivity. At Tulcan for example the estate owns both banks of the river so when you are given your pool / hole for the session you know no one else will bother you. On single bank water the rule is you “always” come in behind the angler already fishing unless waved in by that angler. Even if your lines do not cross it is always polite to wait till you are waved in.

Most rivers have Association waters, which are more heavily fished but are cheaper. The season ticket on the River Ness at Inverness costs about $120 a season January to mid October. Because of the pressure on these fishings the association writes rules and you can be asked to leave the association if you break the rules. I quote the rules here. Rules 1-3 are about where the fishing is and carrying your membership card etc.

4. The angler arriving first at either side of a beat will have first
turn of fishing, and others will follow in order of their arrival.

5. Anglers will commence fishing at a beat post and must move
down 2 yards at every cast until either terminating fishing or
reaching the next beat post,. where should another angler be waiting
that angler must be given priority.

6. When an angler has moved down 30 yards the next angler in
order of arrival will follow, otherwise he will lose his turn and take
the next place.

7. At dawn the angler who has first turn will begin when it
becomes just light enough for him to see his fly or another lure,
otherwise he will lose his turn and take next place.

8. An angler ready to begin to fish, and waiting at a beat post,
when a space is vacant will take precedence over another angler who
has the place before him, but who is not ready. An angler will not
commence fishing at a beat post if an upstream angler is within 30
yards of that post. He must wait until that angler reaches the post.

9. An angler after landing a salmon or grilse will not continue
fishing but will take his place after those waiting, but if he loses a
fish he may continue.

To help things the pool/ hole is split, subdivided into beats marked with white posts these beats are about 100 yards long. When the Ness was fishing well and there were a lot of fish coming into the pool of the tide you might have to get down to the river earlier than you wished so you were in pole position towards the tail of the pool as the fish came in. Catch your fish the scamper back to the head of the pool to go down again. Rule 7 was always interesting large white flies would be attached so you could get in first then after a couple of casts change back to the fly you wanted to fish with. Bear in mind there could be fifteen anglers a side moving down the pool all throwing 30yds of double tapered line timing was critical and heaven help you if you did not move down or cast across the angler’s line on the other bank

I get quite nostalgic thinking about it as this is where I learnt to fish as a boy of twelve. Everyone wore chest waders and waded up to their waists’ minimum I was only allowed thigh boots by my mother who then wondered why my trousers were always wet. At least I learnt to cast that little bit extra to get my fly as far out as everyone else My father was left handed so we always went down the right hand bank so that is the way I learnt to Spey cast it was not till I learnt to drive that I discovered how much easier it was to cast off the other shoulder. Sorry to to go off topic.


10-19-2002, 11:40 AM
Malcom, I really enjoyed your little trip down memory lane. Thanks for posting it. Thanks also for sharing some more info on how things are done in other parts of the world angling wise. I don't think I would like to see that system here as I like to run down to the river for a couple of hours whenever the mood strikes me. I would really like to visit Scotland someday and see the great rivers you guys have and watch your system in action.

10-19-2002, 12:28 PM
Enjoyable reading indeed, but we're getting way off track.

Q1: Who decides when a pool is big enough to divide into seperate beats? Isn't this in fact low-holing by committee?

Q2: Patrick, doesn't a set of rapids (as shown and described) clearly separate the run? Therefore is it acceptable or not?

Q3: My suggested pace was half of what Willie mentioned, yet the distance is 200 verses 90 feet. I feel 3 feet per cast is a little fast, and 90 feet is too tight for me.

Q4: Any feedback on the rights to the other side question? Clearly the angler is fishing primarily on his bank on any river large enough to fish both sides. On any river not wide enough, the same-side rules should apply. Thouhgts?

No word on the "do unto others" reaction yet either... ;)

10-19-2002, 01:26 PM
Juro, I think this rule should be at the top of everyone's list. Treat every other angler as you would be treated. That rule and a little common sense should be all anyone needs for guidance. On rivers where there is a river keeper they enforce rules designed for that specific stretch of water. In our country where we have mostly public water a specific set of rules will not work very good. To me your questions and drawings clearly point this out. Who is to decide. One man's perfect fishing area may not suit next guy. As long as we have public water (which I hope is forever) I can see no set of rules except the Golden rule and a little common sense that will work in all situations. Any Boyscout can grasp this concept. The only people that don't "get it" don't care anyway and no one short of a fish cop with a big stick and handcuffs will be able to do anything with them.

Willie Gunn
10-19-2002, 01:28 PM
I'll be concise this time.

Q1: Who decides when a pool is big enough to divide into seperate beats? Isn't this in fact low-holing by committee?
Yes you're right but at least you know it's going to happen and it is neccessary if the water is under severe angling pressure. If you don't have beat markers someone might have to wait an awful long time to fish a pool.
Q2: Patrick, doesn't a set of rapids (as shown and described) clearly separate the run? Therefore is it acceptable or not?
Q2 Yes perfectly acceptable to me anyway.
Q3: My suggested pace was half of what Willie mentioned, yet the distance is 200 verses 90 feet. I feel 3 feet per cast is a little fast, and 90 feet is too tight for me.
Q3Again it depeds on pressure of anglers 200ft is a long way apart, I always take 3ft per cast perhaps a difference of Atlantic Salmon to Steelhead ?
Q4 Yes both fishing same water so same rules apply.
And finally Two wrongs don't make a right.

10-19-2002, 05:40 PM

Good post I am going to have to find a job in Scotland, I am 20% Irish will that help?

I like the European order and rules something I am afraid us spoiled U.S. anglers will never be able to accept. The only thing that has saved us so far is our supposedly unlimited natural resources, but that will be coming to an end soon including the fisheries if proper controls and order are not adopted.


10-19-2002, 06:31 PM
Juro, it would not bother me if someone entered the next pool/run below me as depicted in your diagram. I could then follow him through that run, go up and fish through my run again or find another piece of water.

10-20-2002, 01:29 AM
Regarding speed of movement (steelhead)--
Three feet per cast is as slow as I would ever go, unless I have moved a fish. I was taught 2 big steps between casts, and I have come to the conclusion after many years that is about right for my fishing. I'll go even faster if I am unsure of the quality of the run, somewhat slower if I am sure of the situation, and I'll pause if I move a fish. I am speaking of summer fishing, where the fish are active and one is looking for the aggressive fish. I haven't done any winter fishing lately; most of my winter fishing in past years was drift fishing, and I moved then, too, but not as quickly, which makes sense since the fish aren't as active.

In the summer, if you figure that the fish is typically moving up through the water column 4 feet or so (3 to 6 feet being typical) if you're fishing a floating line, then moving 6 feet between casts means that the farthest a cast would ever pass from the fish would be 3 feet. If a fish will move up 4 feet to grab the fly, I figure it will move 3 feet upcurrent or down if needed.

Getting a bit off-topic...
Regarding the low-holing--I posted on how I got low-holed on the Umpqua last month. On the Umpqua, where so many of the holes are named, you can always fish the next hole up or down without violating the ethical standard. However, you cannot jump into the same hole downstream of someone, regardless of the size of the hole. I questioned where I was jumped--it was a long pool (Bend Pool), but someone with much more time on that river than I confirmed I was unethically low-holed.

Regarding fishing the same hole from the other side, I think if the river is, say, about 200 feet across or more, it is OK. I think the 45 degree cast is too close a call--some places fish OK with a 90 degree cast. If the river is 200 feet wide, two anglers making 100 foot casts won't bother each other from opposite sides. I might settle for 150 feet, since I'm not a great caster<g>, which comes pretty close to casting 100 feet at 45 degrees (<142 feet if I can still do math).

I concur that a rapids signifies a break between holes, and it is probably OK to fish the next hole below a rapids or significant break, but this ethic may be region or country-specific, and one should learn the local rules.

I certainly concur that we should all consider the Golden Rule in our actions. However, I would like to have, perhaps, 3 holes in succession to fish, figuring typically 30 minutes per hole on average (N. Umpqua), so that I can fish for a bit before popping in the car in search of the next open spot. However, I will seldom find 3 holes together in succession, so if I act per the Golden Rule, leaving others 3 holes, I will never get to fish myself. Hence the local rule of each fisher gets a hole to him/herself. After the one, you get to find another.

Nice thread...I hope we can make progress on this...I fish good runs less and less as time goes by, or at less productive times, because I hate being crowded, or even worrying about crowding others. I don't get too competitive at finding a place to fish, either. I don't mind getting there at dawn, but getting there 2 hours before dawn to reserve a spot? Never.

My time on the river needs to be time away from competition...the sound of the water, the shriek of the Kingfisher, the color of the Vine Maple this time of year, the beauty of the White Egret...those are what I seek while waiting for the grab...


10-20-2002, 02:08 AM

No doubt in my mind that a set of rapids or a riffle makes the sepeartion beween pools.

A reasonable width of river to share the same pool/run on opposite sides I put at 120 ft. if both fishers fish in the manner Malcolm described. I have done this on several ocasion on the Olympic Peninsula, and all was fine. Keep in mind that each bank is shoeing the fly lure in a different fashion from the other.

Perfectly acceptable for a fisherman to go below and fish the next pool/run downstream. This is not low-holing because it is a different pool/run.

In summer I usually move about 4-6 feet between casts, unless I had a pluck or boil, then I will throw another cast or two to see if the fish will come another time. In winter, I move about 2-3 feet between casts.

Jumping below the fellow who low-holed you is wrong. As Malcolm said, "Two wrongs don't make a right". I will, however, fish right down to his heels as I fish my way down the pool/run.

10-20-2002, 05:07 AM
As an FNG to swinging flies I defer to your collective experience, yet is does seem mostly intuitive.

I do deviate from this when low-holed. Being the ever activist I point out politely that it is customary to enter the run from the upstream side so as to assure that each fisher has the chance to fish the run mostly undisturbed. If the offender persists in holding the lower position then I will usually move in down below his position, oh about at his dangle point, and continue fishing all the while explaining how this silliness has probably put this run down for awhile. Some may say that my position is one of confrontation, and rightly so, but at this point I will not reward the offender by giving to and reinforcing his ill behavior.

And there is nothing wrong with do unto others as you would them do unto you, it is the #1 rule to live by. But having said that, if they do it to you first, go to rule #2 and do it back.


10-20-2002, 06:54 AM
For the record, it was I who suggested the phrase "two wrongs don't make a right?" as a convenient catch phrase with the proposal, knowing what to expect of course.

Keep in mind I am not suggesting this as a means to promote one's own selfish pool-hording urges. Having raised three kids at home and managed innumerable projects at work, one of the most effective means of behavior correction has been to allow the perpetrator to feel first hand the effect of their impositions. It's far more effective than a verbal reprimand, and often without a word spoken. We are all not prone to adopt verbal reprimand as a means of taking action, in fact I argue that few will.

I can not objectively see how it violates ettiquette or defies fairness, but yes of course I would feel uneasy about doing it myself. Personally, I would leave out the stalling and conversation that WS threw in there, but I would not hesitate from using this as a tool for conveying the impact of the other angler's move, if it ever came to that. I would be perfectly happy to cut off my fly and tie on a yarn puff to work on my casting to prove that it's not about the catching at that point. I think it would send the message without a word spoken.

But that's a lot of trouble. I doubt I'll ever do it. I still like hitting a fish at the perpetrators feet the best, if possible. Hopefully he's not thrashing the water to death trying to learn how to Spey cast but we've all been there.

A lot of folks have charged that we need to take action, yet I don't see a lot of suggestions with those charges. I find it no less ethical to start a verbal confrontation than to re-position in front to send a message.

Will I do it though? Dunno. But I don't hear any good reasons why we all shouldn't, except my own catch phrase. :)


10-21-2002, 09:26 AM
Guys lowholeing is just one symptom of a disease killing fly fishing, others would rather be less negative and just say changing fly fishing. I hate to say this but I doubt all your little drawings are not going to change one thing. Reason? The ethics of old are no longer reasonable or practible to those who do not follow them. I comend those out there who understand this and am disapointed in those who don't want to see this. For years when the subject of low holeing has been brought up it was always said that the low holers were newbies. We have used that excuse far to long. But now here on this thread on ettiquette many of you see that it is not so much the newbie but people who have fly fished for years and fully understand the old traditions and values but no longer feel they are needed. How many of you have taken the time to talk with this new brand of fly fisherman away from the water? Few of this breed of fly fishermen are a-holes but reasonable people who value a new conviction.

Please if I am wrong tell me so. If low holeing is a symptom of a bigger disease may that disease be that fly fishing has become generic?

How can anyone here say that not having an answer to low holeing is just negative. This my friends is new territory to explore and am proud of those willing to do do so. Answers should come slowly, identify the symptoms then name the disease then maybe you can find a cure.