jerrykunnath writes "
In today's day and age the population is growing more each year in Michigan and the number of people becoming interested in outdoor activities is increasing. This can cause some over crowding and create less solitude on certain Michigan waters then many of us were accustomed to in years past.
Many years ago the practice of stream etiquette was implemented to create a much more friendly and enjoyable fishing environment in areas where other fishermen were present. Although with the increasing number of people on our waters the need for stream etiquette is more important than ever before, but it seems to be getting practiced less and less. This is contributing to a deterioration of the quality and enjoyment that can be experienced while fishing Michigan.
Stream etiquette is a list of common sense unwritten rules of respect for fishermen to follow while fishing streams. It helps make a day on a river much more peaceful and issue free. Most of all, it is a way of showing respect for other fishermen, and the river.
When you are walking down a stream and another person is fishing ahead of you walk on shore as to not disturb their fishing area or walk as far behind them as possible. Take a minute to observe their fishing actions to make sure your route is the best choice. Feel free to ask them if they are moving up or down stream etc.
Do not crowd other fishermen, respect their space. I like to follow the rule of keeping at least 100 feet or more away form any other fishermen when in crowded areas. Although when I lived in Montana or while fishing in Michigan?s Upper Peninsula I feel like I am crowding some one if I am within sight. If there is a special hole that you really want to fish and it is taken, and if space is available, politely ask if it's ok to share the spot. Many times the answer will be yes and I have made some great friends this way.
Give the right of way to someone who is fighting a fish. Take your line in so it dose not get tangled in theirs. Do not move into their fishing spot when they move down stream to fight the fish. Offer to help them net the fish and the favor might really pay off when you hook a huge lunker and need some help.
Treat spin and bait fisherman with the same respect as you would give another fly fisherman. They have just as much of a right to be on the stream as you do, and nothing gives the fly fishing community more of a bad reputation than someone preaching arrogantly to other fishermen.
If someone is using improper stream etiquette it is best to politely explain your views and opinions to them. This will have greater results than harshly complaining or making rude comments. Setting a proper example is probably the most effective way of getting the point across and it can be very contagious. If a person persists to act disrespectful it is best to just move on to another spot instead of getting to angry and affecting your fun day on the river.
Respect the property of others and obey no trespassing signs. Cutting across private land or being careless about where you enter or exit a stream is a sure way to have private property signs pop up all along your favorite stretch of river. Unfortunately in Pennsylvania if a land owner owns both sides of a river, he also owns that section of river. My favorite stretch of steelhead water in Pennsylvania is now closed to the public due to a few careless anglers who cut down some live trees and built a fire on the side of the river last fall.
This etiquette can be applied to more than the fisherman who is wading and should be used just as much while boating either on a stream or a lake. While floating down a river you do not have the right of way over wading fisherman, just because you are in a boat. If possible, always try to drift behind a fisherman. Don?t park your drift boat in the middle of a hole with people already there actively fishing. And, try to be just as courteous and respectful at the launch or take out site with other boaters.
For the most part applying proper stream etiquette is just using common sense and being respectful to fellow fishermen or sportsmen. Treat others in the same way that you would want to be treated. So while out on Michigan's great fishing waters practice proper stream etiquette, and most of all pass it on and teach it to others.
Article By Captain Steve Kunnath
Captain Steve Kunnath guides clients on Lake St. Clair in southeast Michigan. You can visit his web site at Lake St Clair Fly Fishing
Proper Stream Etiquette is an article that was previously published in Michigan Outdoor News in 2004