Stillwater Anglers Fly Fishing Etiquette

You Need To Know These Fly Fishing Etiquette Rules

Every angler, whether seasoned or just starting off, should be aware of all the fly fishing etiquette rules so that everyone enjoys their time on the water. Some things may be more obvious, but others might not quite be common knowledge.

Let us walk through a few fly fishing etiquette tips that can help you enjoy the experience and those around you a little more.

Fly Fishing Etiquette That You Really Need To Know

We know that fly fishing is typically a solitaire sport but there is bound to come a time when you run into other people, and you don’t want to leave with a bad experience. Here we go through a few rules, obvious and unwritten, to ease you into the basics of fly fishing etiquette.

Respect Everyone’s Space

Have you ever been fishing and then a new angler showed up and started fishing 10 feet from you? It’s the worst, so be sure that you give your fellow fisherman enough space to do their thing. If you show up to your favorite spot and someone is there, move up or down a few runs. Ask them which direction they are headed and plan accordingly.

There is almost always enough room for everyone, and you’ll want to spread out a bit. No one wants to catch a fly in the back or overlap lines! If you’re not sure how close is too close, give us a call and plan a trip with us – we would love to give you the etiquette info you need.

Don’t Scare The Fish (or the people)

One of the best parts of fishing is getting some quiet time and enjoying the great outdoors. Don’t ruin the serenity with loud noises. Loud noises could not only scare the anglers around you, but you could scare the fish! We do, however, encourage you to get excited about a good catch, but do so with others in mind.

If you’re fishing midstream, be sure to use careful and cautious movements, as splashing could scare the fish away. If there are anglers around you, a big splash could ruin a bite that might have been headed their way.

Follow The Golden Rule

This is crucial when it comes to fly fishing etiquette. Treat others the way you want to be treated. If you want space, give others space. If you’re catching trout and others aren’t, give them a tip about what the fish are biting (if the situation calls for it). If you’re thinking about moving, ask other anglers “Are you fishing up or down?” and move accordingly.

We want to take the golden rule one step further and say leave the river better than how you found it. Don’t litter and try to pick up trash as you see it so that it can be discarded properly. No one wants to fish with a bunch of trash around.

Don’t Stay In One Place For Too Long

Fly fishing etiquette 101 is to not camp out in one spot all day. It is not very courteous to other anglers, and you are probably sacrificing the number of trout you could be getting by not covering more water.

Though some spots will require a little more time than others, moving upstream keeps the flow of the river and ultimately you’ll catch more fish.

No Trespassing

Though this one might be a little obvious, never trespass on someone else’s property. It is every angler’s responsibility to know which land is public. Be sure you check for all the public and open fishing access points or give us a call at the shop if you have questions about where is safe to fish.


Hopefully, this brief guide helps you understand the basics of fly fishing etiquette. The bottom line is if you aren’t sure, ask! Experienced anglers will be happy to answer any questions you may have, and communication is key when wanting a successful time on the water. If you feel like other anglers are not being as courteous as they should be, don’t overreact. Instead, just smile and think, “they must be new.”

Though most of our etiquette tips are common sense, we might have missed a couple. Let us know if we missed something obvious or if there are some unwritten rules that beginning anglers should abide by. Have any questions? Give us a call at the Fly Shop! We would love to plan a guided trip with you, and we can point out etiquette rules as we go along.