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Another Etiquiette Question

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2007/6/20 11:26
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so I was fishing at valley creek after work yesterday at the Library spot. When I arrived there I was trying to locate another fisherman (we'll call him joe for the sake of the story)who I had met there a couple weeks ago, we had planned to meet up there yesterday.

There was an angler fishing the pool that is immediately above the yellow metal bridge right there by the parking area. I had met "Joe" at that pool a couple weeks before which led me to believe that it may be him fishing there again. Anyone who has fished that spot knows that because of the brush planted streamside to avoid erosion you either have to walk the path right next to the stream or walk about 20 yards back behind the fenced off brush where you can't see the water at all. Naturally I walked the path streamside because I was trying to determine if this guy was "joe"

As I got closer it turns out this was not in fact "joe" but another angler. Keep in mind at this point I was carrying my rod in two pieces still so it was pretty obvious that I wasn't about to start fishing. I passed by the guy and quietly said "how you doing" like I would to anyone else I saw fly fishing while I was out. The guy quickly says "I was doing good." I am thinking he must have just lost a nice fish or something so I say "whys that?"

The guy precedes to call me a jerkoff and tells that I am an "spooking out the hole" he is fishing, which I simply was not. I don't really take to kind to being insulted like that especially from someone I don't know and was attempting to be polite to. I have been fly fishing for a few years now and while I am not the best fisherman, I think I am pretty courteous and I have NEVER had anyone anywhere indicate to me that I was being anything but courteous until yesterday.

At that point the exchange got heated and I invited this gentleman to step out of the water and call me a jerkoff if thats indeed how he felt. Of course at that point I think he realized his mouth may have just written him a check his butt might not be able to cash (I'm 28, he was 60 easy) and he began threatening to call the ranger (what he would say to the ranger I have no idea).

After some more kind words were exchanged I went on my way kindly letting the guy know he was pretty lucky he didn't run into the 22 year old me and got the 28 year old mature adult that I am today.

I guess my question is has anyone else ever experienced anything like this, hyper sensitivity we'll call it. I have had people walk up on me way worse than that there in the last week alone. One day last week while fishing there I had someones dogs jump in the water near me and kids throwing rocks near me. I asked the guy with the dogs very politely to not let his dog jump in near me again if he could help it and he was very nice. I wasn't mad at all and continued to catch fish taboot after things settled for a couple minutes. No harm no foul.

Am I off base here thinking this guy was moron central? It would have been one thing if he had politely said he thought I was spooking fish, I would have politely let him know that I didnt think I was and kept on going. I was just very surprised and kind of taken back that someone would get that mouthy and ballzy right off the bat over seemingly nothing.

I just joined VFTU and I am really hoping that I don't run into any more of this type of thing, it was a real downer. Please reassure me that I ran into the occasional idiot and not the norm

Posted on: 2008/4/18 12:49


Re: Another Etiquiette Question
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If the situation was as you described, then the guy certainly over-reacted in my opinion. He could have been having trouble catching and was looking for someone to blame. On the other hand, if conditions were low and clear and you cast a shadow over the lie he was working, or splashed through the water or made a lot of unnecessary movement while approaching from upstream, you may very well have effected his fishing, even if only temporarily. Even so, I think he over-reacted, but a more polite suggestion to you that you alter your method of approaching other anglers would not have been out-of-line if you inadvertently had adversely impacted his fishing.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 13:29
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Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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From Bozeman
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Some old men are miserable.

The fish in valley are easily spooked, so it is best to be as careful as possible. When walking by a fisherman, I tend to stay at least 20 feet back, but sometimes it's not possible. Just tread lightly.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 13:39


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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Thanks for the comebacks guys, I really appreciate it. I think I was just so taken aback because I was being as polite as possible, no shadow, no splash, no noise, etc. Oh well, must have just been a grumpy old man

Jay, I have heard that the fish in the valley are real spooky but like I said I had kids chuckin rocks and dogs jumping in near me and it didn't seem to put them down for long. I caught fish 10 minutes after both the dog and rocks.

Are the valley fish at their least spooky this time of the year? This is really the first year I have fished there and only for the last 3 weeks or so so I don't think I have the full understanding of the way that stream works yet. Perhaps they get way spookier as the weather gets warmer?

Posted on: 2008/4/18 14:59


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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From Bozeman
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They get obscenely spooky in the summer.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 15:05


Re: Another Etiquiette Question
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The myth of fish being put down for "the rest of the day" or even more than a half hour is way too prevalent among fly anglers. Fish must consume a decent amount of food every day to survive. They must also take advantage of the opportunities when the "food is on the table." What I think this translates into is that the fish will feed all throughout the day. Perhaps in fits and starts as safety and food abundance and vulnerability dictates, but they couldn't long survive if every disturbance shut them off for more than a short period.

A dog splashing into the water and thrashing around will certainly send them sulking under cover, but soon after the disturbance ends, they are going to emerge and start feeding again. The key to resumption of feeding is removal of the threat. Anglers are more visible than we like to think. If the fish get "spooked" and we remain visible either by our physical image or the persitent drift of the line/leader shadow, or persistent slap or slurp of casting over and over, then the fish remain spooked and may even move to a less threatening hold to resume feeding.

I think if we feel we have spooked the fish and we don't want to move on to fish that have not become aware of our presence, all that need be done is to step out of the water and sit low and back on the bank for 10 minutes. I would submit that before the 10 minutes are up, feeding will resume. If we reposition carefully and slowly, we'll be in position to resume catching. The fish may be ready to sulk again at the least disturbance, though, as their memory sometimes can last for a half-hour or more.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 15:22
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Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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Jay,

I guess I will be sure to enjoy them in their less spooky spring state then!

JackM,

I agree completely, thats normally what I do when I think I have spooked out a pool, take a sit down break and then resume carefully. I will often sit on the bank after arriving at a spot for about 10 minutes also to see whats happening before entering the water. Then, I can decide what the best way to approach the situation is.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 15:48


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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I'm not sure of any secret rules but we just always apologize. The words “What’s that!" no matter how nice you thought you said them probably is what set him off. We apologize to more jerks which lead to much more time for fly fishing. Sorry and off we go to fish on.

My son got chastised by a spin fisherman saying how much more advantage fly fisherman has and that they should stay in fly fish only areas. No Joke! He apologized as he passed to fish down stream and caught a nice 17" golden rainbow which he gave to a bug eyed kid with his spin rod then wished the guy success when he left. The guy gave him verbal grief the whole time.

About spooking fish. One big Labrador and a bunch of kids did what I thought was a travesty until they left after splashing in the stream above a young man I was watching fly fish. After less than 5 minutes he started hooking up big. They had stirred up the sow bugs.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 17:28


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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The are a couple of hot heads at Valley. The fish are very spooky there. I would have to say it is definitely one of the harder streams in PA.

I know exactly where you are talking about and you don't have much of a choice as to where to walk. Don't sweat it! Guys that act like that are usually having a hard time catching them and find something and or someone to lash out at in frustration of their failure.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 18:18


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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No disrespect to the poster who said he was just learning but he won't if we don't tell it like it is.
He was wrong to walk upright along the edge of the stream since it was bound to spook the fish both sightwise and vibration-wise.The little stockers might come back but the wise old holdover would be down for the day as thats how they survive.
The polite thing to do is walk as far around the pool as possible .Let the person in the water acknowledge your presence if they choose to do so.
Sadly its tough to avoid problems on Eastern streams but its best to try.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 18:59
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Re: Another Etiquiette Question
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Speaking for myself, and I suspect others, we "told it like it is." The disgruntled angler acted like a jerk. Fish don't survive by going off the feed all day because they saw an image of an angler walking along the shore. I'm surprised you buy into that, frankly.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 20:45
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Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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Quote:

pete41 wrote:
No disrespect to the poster who said he was just learning but he won't if we don't tell it like it is.
He was wrong to walk upright along the edge of the stream since it was bound to spook the fish both sightwise and vibration-wise.The little stockers might come back but the wise old holdover would be down for the day as thats how they survive.
The polite thing to do is walk as far around the pool as possible .Let the person in the water acknowledge your presence if they choose to do so.
Sadly its tough to avoid problems on Eastern streams but its best to try.


I agree, especially with wild browns on Valley! If you have never fished Valley you don't know. I once was walking on a hill twenty feet from the stream and still saw some scatter. Getting close to them is a big part of it.

However, with what you said, "No disrespect to the poster who said he was just learning but he won't if we don't tell it like it is." Telling it like it is and belittling someone are two different things. It's a lot easier to explain as I have done this before than to get pissed off and start cursing at them. Sometimes people are just starting off and don't know better. If you explain it nicely and they act like an A-hole than shame on them, but if it is you than shame on you.

There are better ways of teaching than cursing someone out.

Posted on: 2008/4/18 20:55


Re: Another Etiquiette Question
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Timmyt,

The wild trout at Valley (and other wild trout streams) are very sensitive to movement. You can see them scurry for cover even when just peaking over the bank. This always surprised me since Valley is a crowded stream, with people, dogs, deer, waterfowl, etc. constantly walking along the banks and wading in the stream. You would think that they would learn to tolerate some activity. Trout on some other heavily fish wild trout streams seem to be more tolerant. The fisherman definitely overreacted, but keep that in mind when approaching other fisherman. I try to give every fisherman I pass a wide berth.

With respect to when spooked fish return to normal behavior, I mostly agree with Jack that they return to feeding fairly soon after the threat passes, although it depends how badly they are spooked. A labrador retriever jumping in the water and swimming through he hole will spook the trout a little longer than a person walking near the stream.

Often, when checking out a new wild trout stream I will head downstream and walk along the bank. I find the fish holding areas by watching the fish spook, and take note of the water and where they hold. I turn around and fish back upstream concentrating on the spots where I saw fish. Actually it’s a lot easier to see fish when you move them. Trying to spot stationary fish holding on the bottom or in and around the rocks and shadows is tough.

Also, as I have posted, I often wade into a good position when trout are rising in a tough spot to approach and oftentimes put them down. I sit quietly and wait for them to resume feeding. That is usually 10-15 minutes. As Jack wrote, if the fish were “down for the day” on Valley with a single disturbance – they would starve to death, but if you can manage to approach without spooking them, you odds of catching them go up considerably.

Posted on: 2008/4/19 8:20


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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There are a lot of variables here that I can't really judge because I don't know, for example, exactly how large Valley is at this spot and just how close to the water "streamside" means. But my impression from the post is that its on the small side and that the path closely follows the bank in this spot. Even for people like me who have not fished it, Valley is pretty notorious for skittish fish.

But to take a step back and generalize a bit, in my experience, if you are walking right along the bank on smallish wild trout stream you are likely to put down feeding fish. An angler who is actively fishing when someone walks past under those circumstances is likely to be annoyed, and not without reason. Taking that view doesn't require me to buy into the idea that spooking trout puts them down for "all day" which is probably an exaggeration. If I am working a spot, I don't appreciate someone spooking the fish even if it means only a half hour of down time.

To me, again taking into account that I don't have complete info, it seems this guy had some reason to be frustrated, but he was hotheaded and rude, not to mention risking a sock in the eye. He should have understood from the poster's friendly greeting that no harm was intended and either kept his mouth shut or explained the problem in a calmer way.

I try to stay well back from the bank when passing someone who is fishing, unless its a wide stream and he is wading well out into it. I also try to bear in mind that the risk of spooking is greater if you are walking on an elevated bank and towering over the fish. Just try to think about whether a fish in the stream could see you as you walk past. If circumstances require a closer approach then I would consider talking it over with the fishing angler, so that at least I can walk slowly, time my passage, etc. He could be about to move on, for example, or want to try just one more cast to a certain fish, etc.

Posted on: 2008/4/19 9:50


Re: Another Etiquiette Question

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A lot of people are easy to start confrontation this time of year because of the extra pressure from the "seasonal anglers."

Who knows, that guy could had someone 5 minutes before walk right through and get him rialed up.

As far as fish returning, I think most will with in a few minutes. Sometimes on streams that have spooky trout, I actually walk into the hole before tying on. Settle my feet, tie on flies, and then study the water before fishing. This give the fish tim eto settle and start feeding again.

Yeah, that guy over reacted, especially considering there is plenty of water that hold fish on most streams. Also, most guys are lighting up the board with high numbers of fish, so even if you spooked fish, they were the fish he wasn't catching any way. And if he is a consitant catcher, he should be able to catch fish in a variety of situations.

Don't sweat it!

Posted on: 2008/4/19 10:12
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