Fishing Etiquette: The Do’s & Don’ts of the Water

One of the best parts about fishing is sharing in your passion with other dedicated fishermen. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to go to your own little hole and enjoy an afternoon of tranquility to yourself. But there’s something special about being out on the water with people who, while still in their own element, are experiencing the same joy, anticipation, successes, and failures as you are.

Unfortunately, from time to time, a clueless, careless, or just plain rude angler comes along and ruins the fun for everyone. Whatever you do, don’t be that angler. Instead, follow these basic fishing etiquette do’s and don’ts on your next trip, so that you and everyone around you can enjoy your time out on the water!

DO respect your fellow anglers’ space.

Always leave a few feet (depending on how crowded the spot is) between you, other fishermen, and anyone else out enjoying the water. Whether you’re wading, boating, setting up on the shore, or choosing your spot, you should constantly be making an effort to respect the space of those around you.

In that same vein, honor when others claim a spot before you, even if you’ve been waiting weeks to fish it. Don’t wait and hover or try to squeeze in tightly. Simply move on and start your day earlier next time.

DON’T leave a mess.

Just as you need to respect the people around you when fishing, you need to respect the earth too. Be sure to pick up after yourself and do your best to limit your impact on the environment. Don’t move any vegetation in your way—yes, even low-hanging tree branches or shrubs that are encroaching on your favorite spot.

Clean up any garbage you’ve collected at the end of your outing. That includes food, drink containers, discarded fishing supplies, and anything else that was not there when you arrived.

DO be conscious of the waves you make.

Try to minimize your wake out on the water, so as not to disrupt others in the area who might feel the ripple. Kicking up waves can mess with other anglers’ lines, spook the fish, and get in the way of other sportsmen doing their thing.

If you’re using a boat, keep your speed slow to avoid making waves (boat waves especially can be dangerous to nearby water goers). If you’re fly fishing or making your way through the water on foot for some other reason, wade slowly and carefully. Even just kicking up dirt can cause too much movement or disrupt the ecosystem beneath you.

DON’T break the rules.

When you’re out fishing, take care to be aware of and observe all wildlife and sporting rules and regulations in the area. Before you head out, look up local licensing requirements, catch size or quantity limits, and whether there are any catch-and-release orders in place. Note any regulations your state or locale might have on certain species in particular.

Pay attention to any signs indicating restrictions or rules in your specific waters as well. Some sections might forbid fishing, boating, or waking, so it’s important to be alert and work around those areas.

DO take care of the fish you catch.

Again, fishing etiquette is all about respect, and that respect extends to the fish you’re trying to catch too. If you’re catch and release fishing, limit the amount of time you have your fish out of the water. Reel them in, take a quick snapshot, and gently remove the hook and release them back into the water. The less you handle them, the better.

If you’re not planning or required to release your fish, don’t be wasteful about what you keep. Once you have enough that you know you won’t eat any more, start throwing them back or pack it in for the day, even if you haven’t reached the local limit.

DON’T be unaware of your surroundings.

Above all else, proper fishing etiquette really just boils down to being mindful of the people around you while you’re out on the water. This applies to any places you might traverse on your fishing journey, including on the water, docks, piers, the shore, ramps, etc.

If you’re boating, have your vessel prepared to launch or dock as soon as it’s your turn, so you don’t hold up other waiting anglers. When casting, look around before you make your move. If you cast without checking your surroundings, you could end up crossing another person’s line or whacking someone behind you casting overhead.

Ready to put your fishing etiquette to the test? Book a guided fishing trip this year at Lawrence Bay Lodge! We’ve got plenty of great fishing opportunities and room to spread out on Reindeer Lake, and the trophy fish that occupy our waters are just waiting to be caught.

To learn more about premier Saskatchewan fishing at our lodge and save your spot this year, give us a call at 701-262-4560!