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littlerivermike 02-03-2006 11:02 AM

Smoky Mountain Etiquette
After Keep or Release, after barb or no barb - now comes the really hard question.

What is the proper protocol when you encounter another fisherman (or 2) in the water??? *

Should you talk to him/her to get the necessary info re what to do?

Does it make a difference if the water is roadside vs. backcountry?

Does it make a difference if you saw him/her just put in above you?

If you see him/her where you were planning on putting in, how much water do you give him/her before you put in?

Does it make any difference if the other fisherman is a guide with a client?

Does it make any difference if you think you could take'em in a fair fight?

Rockyraccoon 02-03-2006 11:44 AM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
Good questions.

Typically, an angler working upstream has the right of way over an angler working downstream and the downstream angler should yield within 50 yards or so and move to the downstream side of the upstream working angler.

Assuming that everyone is working upstream.

Question one: When you see people ahead of you fishing, you should leave the water to work upstream of them. It is acceptable to talk as you pass. How you doing? Doing any good? Wonderful day isn't it? Small talk is good and here in our neck of the woods most folks are friendly enough that they'll quit fishing to chat with you for a few. Continue to head upstream leaving the other anglers at least 100 yds of untouch water if possible.

Question two. No. Water is water and folks who are fishing the water will feel infringed apon whether it's along the road or ten miles from nowhere.

Question three. If the angler saw you fishing upstream and puts in just upstream of you without leaving you any fresh water.....well that's rude. You can be the better man and leap above them....while leaving them 100 yds of fresh water. Refrain from making rude comments as you go by....if anything mention to him that your going on upstream but will leave plenty of fresh water for them to fish.

Question four. If they beat you to the water you planned on fishing. Go with plan two. LEaving them plenty of fresh water if you head upstream of them, or just start well downstream of them.

Question 5. Yes and no. The guide is there trying to make a living. The client could be a green beginner or a seasoned vet. Special considerations should be given to them, however....if you follow the answers to the above questions you should be looked apon as a very gentlemenly angler. On a side note....the guide/clients should display great etiquette as people who fish with guides learn a lot about how to act while in the presence of a guide. Feel free to speak as you go by and wish each other well.

Question 6. I'll answer your question with one of my own. In the words of the great Roy D. Mercer......"Well how big a boy are you"? ;) No actually, no matter how rude someone else is.....there's never a situation that should end up with blows. Some folks just don't know any better, in which case maybe they'll learn by the example you set by always being a gentlemen displaying courteous behavior while on the stream.

Hope this helps.

David Knapp 02-03-2006 12:03 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
Great words of advice so far. Personally, I try to find out how much water the fisherman might be planning on fishing and then go a little further if it is realistic. When fishing smaller streams such as upper Little River, I can easily fish a mile of water in a few hours. Based on that, if it is not too crowded, I'll usually try to give anyone else a good half a mile minimum if possible. On larger streams I don't feel that I need to give that much room. If in doubt and it is not a bad time (i.e. the other fisherman is casting to rising fish in a still pool), go ahead and talk to them. Being friendly on the stream will help avoid any conflicts and make everyone's day a little better. On the rare times that someone has been rude enough to put in right above me, I usually cut them some slack. More often than not, they look like this is their first time out and don't know what they are doing. They probably have not heard of "etiquette" so I try to just be nice and go around them and upstream (or down) out of sight. Sometimes they haven't even seen me and then apologize when they do.


riverrat 02-03-2006 12:22 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
I think I can answer some of your questions on proper stream etiquette. I will pass along some advice that my good freind known as cleanair on this message board gave me. When fishing a stream and suddenly you find that free space is getting limited do the following.

1. Take your hat off and really mess up your hair.
2. Start drooling out of the corner of your mouth.
3. make loud deep moaning sounds about every 45 sec.
4. Wet your pants( Note: this does not work very well if you are wearing waders)
5. Spray yourself down with Buck-n-rut scent.

If you do these 5 things you will find that you will have plenty of free space to fish at all times and you will never have to worry about question 6.
Hope This Helps
P.S. Rockyraccoon really has the best advice.

Petey 02-03-2006 12:32 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
Great topic and great advice guys...

It amazes me sometimes just how rude some people are. It doesn't matter whether you are on the river or on the road.

A golden rule that I always try to go by, if what I am about to do may be in question, is "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That was my mothers wise words.

My Dad, well he instilled in me... "If you are going to do it me, I am going to do it to you!" Which usually meant a war of words between my parents, usually something about undermining. ;)

In all seriousness... The best thing to do is to think of how you like to fish and treat that person in the same manner.

Petey 8-)

littlerivermike 02-03-2006 01:11 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
OK - on the 100 yard approach - how long does it take a run of GSMNP pocket water to "recover"? *15 minutes?, 1 hour?, 2 hours? *In other words, if a fisherman sees me, waives hello, then puts in 100 yards upstream, will the trout still be "spooked" when I get to where he put in?

Rog 1 02-03-2006 03:11 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
Cannot give a firm answer on how long it takes for the water to recover but I do know that I can tell when someone has cut in front of's like someone has turned off the tap....that is when I start looking for some signs. I have also found that if it is a solitary fisherman, a lot of times only one side of the river has been fished and will generally go to the most difficult side to see if the luck changes. Also, in the same mode, I will go to fishing all the smaller pockets ..... watched my grandfather come up behing me many times and pull trout out of water that I hadn't given a second look at when I came through.

littlerivermike 02-03-2006 03:45 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
I'm thinking it takes at least 1 hour for the run to recover. *It generally takes me (when I'm fishing with a buddy) no more than 30 minutes to cover 100 yards. *That's why if someone just gives me 100 yards - I'll fish the 100 - then get out and walk at least 1/3 mile to get into some fresh water. *Like you, I have found that rocks wet with boot prints and catching don't go together.

I haven't fished much outside the Park. *I understand etiquette is different on tail water. *But inside the Park, we ought to be able to give each other at least a 15 minute trail walk (about 1/3 mile) before putting in above a fellow angler. *This is on backcountry waters. *Through a campground, or along a road, *expectations may be different, and 100 yards may just have to do.

hw3 02-03-2006 06:56 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
There is a spot on Hazel between Sugar Fork and Bone Valley known as the Gorge. A lot like
Abrams Loop, in that once in, either fish it all or retrace your steps. We always ask others in the campsite if anyone is planning to fish it, because if you follow another thru the Gorge, pickings are slim. I fished it hard all day, only to grouse to my fellows, when reaching Bone, how bad it was. Someone said, "No wonder. Someone else came out about twenty minutes before you did."
Do not know how long it should take to rest, but I'd give it an hour on Hazel. HW3

David Knapp 02-04-2006 10:12 PM

Re: Smoky Mountain Etiquette
I definately agree with littlerivermike about the footprints. Anytime I'm fishing and see fresh footprints, the fishing USUALLY shuts down. However, I think this is something that depends a lot on the fisherman. Sometimes I'll fish a stretch of water and then go back to hit a particularly good run again and I'll catch fish again. If you stay out of the water as much as possible and are really sneaky, I don't think that you will put the fish down as much.


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