Below are my notes of a class I gave in October at the FFF (Conclave) Fair. These are ongoing and developing.
FLY FISHING FAIR Class.. 9:00 AM Friday morning in The Trout Room.
Class: How to run the river like a pro.
The nuances of running the river.
The Golden Rule> Never go between a fisherman and the bank.
Rule #1 > You are responsible for your WAKE.
Rule #2 Watercraft without motors have the right of way!
Sometimes there are exceptions to rules.
First we will talk about Low water:
Then cover High water:
Then go over hand signals the guides use. These can be important.
The boat moving down stream has the right of way!
Unless there is already a boat in the shoal when you get there.
If there is a boat waiting to upstream it should wait on you to pass through first as the boat moving down stream has the right away.
If a boat has a big fish on that boat is given the right of way. If the boat pulls anchor to chase a big fish and you are in his way get out of the way even if it mean it interferes with your fishing or you have to pull your anchor to get out of the way. If the guide or person ask you to go a certain direction or sos something do your best to help out.
A guide will indicate to you that he has a big fish on. ON high water he will hold his net up in the air. He is claiming the right of way so give it to him or her and stay out of that boats way. Follow any instructions the boat may give you.
How to decide which way to go around an anchored boat.
No wake zone near an anchored boat.
No wake zone near a dock or public access.
Be careful throwing a wake on waders or others standing in the river.
You are responsible for your wake.
A few rules from the handbook.
Encountering Vessels With Limited Maneuverability ? When operating a power-driven vessel, you must give way to: • Any vessel not under command, such as an anchored or disabled vessel • Any vessel restricted in its ability to maneuver, such as a vessel towing another or laying cable, or one constrained by its draft, such as a large ship in a channel • A vessel engaged in commercial fishing • A sailboat under sail unless it is overtaking
‘ Any vessel with no motor power such as a canoe, kayak, float tube or any other vessel.
Specifically, it is illegal to operate a vessel:
At greater than “no wake speed” within 100 feet of a designated recreation area, dock, pier, raft, float, anchored vessel, dam, intake structure, or other obstruction unless a different speed limit has been established in the area.
When fishing around or near other boats:
If a boat is anchored and fishing down stream it is OK to fish upstream of that boat but give plenty of space well down stream of that boats lines.
If a boat is anchored and fishing upstream it is OK to fish downstream of that boat but give plenty of space well upstream of that boat. Well upstream.
Around docks boats pulling in and out of docks are generally given the right of way on the White and Norfork Rivers. on both high and low water and especially on high water.
If you are bait fishing it is considered bad form to chum upstream of a boat that is not chumming.
We will cover
-Making long runs
-Starting a drift
-Drifting and who has the right of way
-Drag Chain (on the White— no drag chains on the Norfork)
-How to determine which way to go in congested areas
-Giving signals to another boat
Generally>> assuming no fog > Boats moving down stream will stay more or less in the middle of the river.
Generally>> assuming no fog > Boats moving upstream will stay closer to or hug the bank. Why? Less current nearer the bank plus it gives the right of way to boats moving downstream.
With heavy fog or the conditions for seeing well ahead are limited such as rain, mist or dawn or dusk generally boats will stay closer to the middle of the river but to the right of center sort of like on the roads we drive every day. Be aware and go slower near boat ramps or docks (think of them as on and off ramps) and be courteous. Have the person sitting in the front of the boat help you keep a look out as that person has 15 feet more visibility than you do. SLOW DOWN in HEAVY FOG. Have the others in your boat listen for motors and keep an eye out for wakes from other boats. You can tell if there is another boat motoring ahead of you by the wake that is left. It can also tell you how much further ahead of you it is or how big the boat and or motor is by the size of the wake it leaves.
Starting a Drift:
Start your drift upstream of another boat. This is getting in line so to speak. Think of the river as a conveyer belt.
During a drift the boat down stream of you has the right of way. If you are drifting faster than he is it is up to you to give that boat space. If that boat has an angler that hangs up on the bottom give that boat the right of way.
Understand that a drag chain will slow you down. If you pull into a drift downstream of another boat it does not give you the right of way. You have cut in line. The boat above you will drift into you.
How to determine which way to go in congested areas:
The way the driver sits in the boat will generally tell you which way to go around that boat. Go to his back. Except for Newlands guides which do the exact opposite . If fisherman are fishing out of both sides of the boat follow the Golden Rule.
If you are unsure ask or hold b both hands in the air like this:
If a boat is approaching you and is going to go between you and the bank signal that boat to go the other way.
Start times of bait boats
Start times of Fly Fishing Boats.
Thumbs to the side
Are you catching signal
Water off signal
Hand across throat.