April 2, 2004
Durango - by L. David Grooms
means treating others the same,
when enjoying rivers
etiquette, awareness or just plain, old respect for others around you can
make a tremendously important contribution to everyone having a great day.
provides different things for various people, but whatever the motives
are, you better believe that the reason for doing it is at the top of
their serious priorities. The motive for getting out on the water may
simply be an effort to get away from those who presume the acceptability
of stress in traffic or work environments. A pristine lake and sunset, the
melody of a stream or the sanctuary of a riparian setting may afford
vitally important relaxation or the restoration of one's soul.
The adventure of a
wild river or wilderness experience may allow us to transcend beyond our
usual mundane existence. The focus and concentration of outwitting a trout
that is about to rise to our fly, may not be much different than a couple
of chess tournament grand masters closing in on checkmate.
Sometimes, we fly
fishers actually need to catch a fish, any fish -- because it is about
being able to do it, and less than that is frustration or failure. There
are fly fishers whose pursuit of trophy trout is no less challenging than
hunting the greatest of big game. Irrespective of the purpose, do not
doubt for a minute that fly fishing may be as serious as sporting leisure
time can get.
Now that we have
examined why we do it, it is obvious that we should be aware of those
"violations of protocol" that cause fly fishers to come unglued. I'll
provide some clear-cut examples that prompted several Durango fly fishers
to request that I write this column.
One was intently
presenting flies to feeding trout, when two unleashed dogs charged into
the river directly in front of him, while their owner looked on in
Another fly fisher
had found a perfect spot of fishy water, until some young adults began to
skip rocks over his targeted trout. Fly fishers sometimes haplessly become
invasive by casting too close to others or even casting to their fish.
Walking along the bank in full view of trout and in front of another fly
caster will surely spook most sizable fish. Rafters or even an occasional
drift-boat captain may accidentally float through a fly fisher's zone of
water. A rerouted drift could easily have avoided scaring fish and
imposition on the fly fisher.
frequently walk directly behind a fly caster. They disrupt casting and
definitely risk the danger of getting hooked. Disturbing procreating trout
on spawning reds commonly offends more sensitive fly fishers. Even
allowing one's body to be silhouetted against a skyline hundreds of feet
away may alert a large trout and evoke the ire of it's stalker. Some fly
fishers will merely not respond if you ask them what their "killer fly" is
for the moment.
Mostly, we should
be courteous and respect the privacy of space. Practicing responsible
recreational protocol can enhance the quality of the experience for
everyone. Also, it may even occasionally get you some free flies.
L. David Grooms is
senior partner of
www.proFlyFishers.com. He can be reached at 385-9048.