About Us

PFF Certification

PFF Destinations

Flyfishing Schools

PFF Endorsement

Ultra Lite

Advanced Clinics

Club PFF


Contact Us


High-Water Caution

The Durango Herald - News - Durango, CO


April 2, 2004


Fly Fishing Durango - by L. David Grooms


Etiquette means treating others the same,

especially when enjoying rivers


Protocol, etiquette, awareness or just plain, old respect for others around you can make a tremendously important contribution to everyone having a great day.


Fly fishing 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 complete unawareness.


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.


Fearless onlookers 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 He can be reached at 385-9048.


Graphic Imaging, Web Design and Hosting by