Saturday, March 5, 2011

Getting Along At The Boat Launch and on the River!

Last summer I saw the most grumbling and general conflict I have ever seen in and around the boat launches on the Bow. In particular, during the busiest times of early July it seemed every second day I witnessed some sort of "to-do" at one of the boat launches.

To keep your day more enjoyable, here are a few suggestions when fishing the Bow:

1) If you are launching a boat, use the open parking area to get your boat ready for launch, prepare gear, etc. Once everything is ready you can launch your boat quickly and not plug up the launch ramp.

2) The same idea holds true when taking off the river. If you load your boat on the trailer and pull up to the open parking areas to put away gear, strap your boat, etc. it will mean less congestion at the ramp and less chance of someone getting grumpy.

3) One thing I see on the river a fair bit is when a few boats get clumped together in a short stretch. I've seen (and been there myself) people get frustrated at the congestion. Not being able to cross when they want, being too close, etc. If this happens, take 5 or 10 minutes and pull in. Let the hoards move past, you'll be able to continue on more relaxed, and you might be surprised at what you find in those minutes you're pulled in along the bank.

4) The good old "cut-off"! When you pull out or start to cross the river in a drift boat check upstream. Don't yank across the river and start fishing 100 feet in front of another boat. The extra minute it takes to wait and let the boat pass, and then pull in behind, makes for everybody staying happy.

5) If a bank angler or angler out of their drift boat is fishing from foot, pull away from that bank. There have been lots of arguments/discussions about how to handle this. My thought on this is move when and where you will have NO effect on the bank angler. Give them a little space. I don't mean pull all the way to the other side but pull away far enough to not affect his/her success or enjoyment in any way. And for the bank angler, be reasonable, a drift boat 80 or 90 feet out from you is not in your effective zone.

6) The up versus down argument! For as long as I can remember, the etiquette of fishing was based on fishing upstream. When fishing upstream, if you encountered another angler you gave way as a courtesy, not moving above unless invited to do so. Spey rods have changed this a little bit. Spey casters often work downstream, swinging flies. Not a big deal until they encounter an angler fishing upstream. I'll probably get into trouble for this but my thoughts on this are that the angler fishing downstream should exit the stream so as not to adversely the affect the other angler in any way, move below, and continue on fishing downstream.

7) Last, but not least, if you want to enjoy your day to its fullest, try and think how your actions would sit with you if someone else were doing it. If something would negatively affect your day, or tick you off, why would you do it.

** Note: These are personal thoughts after spending the last 30 plus years drifting the Bow. As it's gotten busier, it's sometimes easy for us to get into little spats and get annoyed. There are people using drift boats on the Bow today have never been told or shown how to operate one with courtesy. The manufacturers don't tell you what ticks people off at boat launches, etc.
A few little courtesies can go along way.

And before anyone broaches the subject, the program applies to guides no less, or more, than others. They don't have any more right to the resource than anyone else. The only difference is they make their living from it. All the more reason for them to act with courtesy and professionalism.

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