Call us toll-free at 1-800-661-6954

Welcome to The Fishin' Hole Canada's source for tackle and sport fishing equipment. Try us for all of your sportfishing needs...In store, on-line or toll free. You'll get hooked on the service!

Fly Fishing Crowded Waters

 

The COVID pandemic has created a "rush" on the outdoors the likes of which has never been seen. People are buying up bikes, camping equipment and fishing equipment like never before. Fishing is the perfect sport for these times, it is outside, social distancing is not a problem, it is relatively inexpensive and it is the perfect way to relax. Not since the 1992 film "A river runs through it" featuring Brad Pitt shadow casting has there been such interest in taking up fly fishing. With the influx of people, some new to the sport, some getting back into it after a hiatus, waters are getting crowded. While we all wish we could keep "our" spots to ourselves, in this day and age of the internet, it’s just not possible. While solitude has always been a part of the sport of fly fishing, that has now, like everything else in our world, changed. It is possible to catch some fish even when your favorite spot is busier than what you're used to. Here are a few tips to make your experience better.

Finding solitude on your favorite river or creek is becoming harder and harder.

Finding solitude on your favorite river or creek is becoming harder and harder.

Stream etiquette is the one thing that can really affect the angling experience. Some newer anglers may not be very well versed on stream etiquette so remember this when you run into people out there. Here are a few of the unwritten general rules. Generally the water another angler is fishing belongs to them, do not crowd them, watch and see if they are fishing upstream, downstream or are stationary. If they are working downstream it is permissible to get in the water just upstream of them, being careful not to kick up a bunch of mud or other stuff that is going to drift downstream and screw up their water. If they are fishing upstream leave them two or three good corners or sections before starting your fishing.If they are stationary you may want to talk to them and see what their intentions are, who knows you may end up with some good advice or even someone to fish the rest of day with. A fisherman working upstream has the right of way over an angler working downstream. A fisherman working upstream usually moves slower and disturbs less water, so if you are fishing downstream and spot another angler working up make sure and exit the water well above them so you don't spoil their water.

You are always going to run into people who only think of themselves and will crowd you or "hole hop" you but you should always treat other anglers the way you like to be treated. Lastly bank anglers take priority over floating anglers, boats should always try and pass shore anglers in a way that is not going to disturb their water, in smaller streams this may mean going behind the angler, going between them and shore. Make sure when you come upon another angler that you don’t do anything to screw up their water, walk far enough back from the bank so that your shadow doesn’t spook the fish and don’t go slogging up to another angler to see how they’re doing, ask from a distance.

Our waters are becoming more and more crowded.

Our waters are becoming more and more crowded.

While many anglers, experienced or novices, will fish the obvious spots in streams, the big juicy corner pools, the logjam with lots of overhead cover or the big pool behind beaver dams, if you give some of the more unlikely spots a try you might be pleasantly surprised. The faster water between these spots may look too fast or turbulent to hold trout but you may be surprised. It doesn't take much of an obstruction to break the current and provide a hidey hole for a fish or two. Inlet streams, no matter their size are always a good area to check out, they are often dumping cooler water into the larger stream and after a rain they will also be putting insects and worms and all sorts of fish food into the stream. Also if you get to fish a pool that another has just left, rest the water awhile and then try some of the areas the other angler might have missed. Often anglers will fish only the deepest part of a pool and ignore the edges and tail out which are often time productive. Undercut banks can also hold fish so don’t walk past them without fishing them, cast your fly as close to the bank as possible and you might be able to coax a fish to come out play.

Fishing some tougher streams can get you away from the crowds

Fishing some tougher streams can get you away from the crowds

One sure way of getting away from the crowd is to walk. Many anglers will never get more than a hundred yards from their starting point. If it's possible I like to walk downstream for a good ways and then fish back to my starting point, walking upstream and fishing upstream can put you at a surprising distance from your vehicle so I always like to do my walking at the start when I'm fresh. While getting away from the parking area or bridge is a good idea don't neglect the area right there, while most people won't walk far, they will also think that there is no sense fishing right at the bridge etc. as they think it will surely be "fished out". It can also be useful to leave a note on your vehicle at a parking area or bridge as to which direction you went and at what time, other anglers can then head the other direction, this can save you and them the grief of both ending up at the same spot.

Fishing the runs can produce some fish.

Fishing the runs can produce some fish.

Don't forget about other species of fish when planning your fly fishing trip, the small brook trout that used to be seen as a nuisance before might just be the answer. Head upstream into the headwaters of most trout streams where the fish are smaller but plentiful can often be more fun than fighting the crowd and trying for fish that have been fished over for hours. Some other species can also bring relief from the crowds, Arctic Grayling, goldeye, walleye and pike and more are more than willing to take a fly and be a lot of fun. Rocky Mountain Whitefish often inhabit the same waters as trout and feed on much the same thing but are not near as spooky and can save the day sometimes.

Give other species, such as grayling, a try.

Give other species, such as grayling, a try.

If the trout have all been put down try nymphing up a Rocky or two, while not as pretty or acrobatic a s trout, they fight extremely well and beat getting skunked. Mid-week used to a good way to lose a lot of the crowd, not so much in this pandemic scenario with lots of unemployed people, but it is still quieter than the weekends. So don’t let the crowds get you down, get out and enjoy the fresh air, after all fishermen have been social distancing for a long time!



Previous Fishing Articles
(1) Snowbirding with a Fishing Rod
(2) Alberta’s Spring Creek Browns - Blessings and Curses
(3) A day on our foothill streams
(4) Fly Fishing Crowded Waters
(5) Fly Leaders
(6) In the Zone
(7) Learners Permit
(8) Flies of Summer
(9) Selecting the Right Boat
(10) The Italian Job
(11) Making a difference
(12) Pass the Salt
(13) Hopper Time - Fly-fishing’s Second Season
(14) Pike on the Fly - Fishing New Waters
(15) Fall brings the big walleye out
(16) Hoppertunity Time
(17) Becoming a Better Dry Fly Angler
(18) Make Your Own Fishing Adventure
(19) Early Season Fly Fishing
(20) Walleye Logic
(21) Fly Fishing in the Desert
(22) Grammy’s Fish
(23) Top 10 Trout Lures
(24) All I Want for Christmas – Neil Waugh's Yule Tide Fishing Gifts Wish List
(25) Muskies - The Ultimate Predator
(26) What to expect when fishing the West Coast
(27) Tips & Tricks for Fall Fly Fishing
(28) There’s No Place Like Home
(29) A Golden Opportunity
(30) The Observational Trout Fisherman
(31) Un-matching the Hatch
(32) Alberta Super Bugs
(33) Glass is Back
(34) The Bull Trout of the Athabasca
(35) Speed Kills
(36) Entering the Twilight Zone
(37) Old Man River
(38) The Pink Salmon of the Squamish River
(39) Small stream BT fishing
(40) Fly fishing beyond Trout: getting started
(41) In The Walleye Zone
(42) Zoo Trout
(43) Fly Selection for Beginners
(44) Fly Fisher's Christmas
(45) New Waters
(46) Big Bad Burbot
(47) Looking Back
(48) Out of Africa
(49) Finding Success on Crowded Trout Streams
(50) Mountain Peaks, Fast Streams, Fall Colours And Rocky Mountain Whitefish
(51) The Browns of Autumn
(52) Fly-Fishing Pike Through The Seasons
(53) Walleye Town
(54) River Fun - One Bite At A Time
(55) Fly Fishing Larger Rivers
(56) Going With The Flow
(57) Becoming A Better Fly Fisherman
(58) Swinging The Fences
(59) A View From The Aerie
(60) Dixieland Delight
(61) Atlantic Salmon - The Fish of 1000 Casts
(62) Do It Yourself Pink Salmon
(63) Montana's Cool Missouri
(64) Pretty Is As Pretty Does
(65) Toothy Critters
(66) Hard Water Lakers at Cold Lake
(67) Top Ten Flies
(68) Northern Exposure
(69) Home Water Lessons
(70) Chicken Of The Sea
(71) Sealing the Deal – How to Ensure You Land More Fish
(72) Deep In The Heart Of Texas
(73) Keep It Up!
(74) River Fishing for Fall Walleye
(75) After the Flood - A look at Southern Alberta rivers and streams one year after the 2013 flood
(76) Reindeer Lake - A Diversity of Opportunity
(77) Hawg Holes
(78) Saltwater Salmon
(79) Early Season Dry Fly Fishing
(80) Down a Lazy River - A Fly-rodding Adventure on the Lower North Saskatchewan
(81) The Fly Fishing Season Ahead
(82) IN SEARCH OF SPECKLED FOOTBALLS
(83) FISHING CANADA'S PRAIRIE CITIES
(84) Bright Fish from the Land of Silver
(85) Canada's "Other" Salmon
(86) Fall Walleye
(87) Wet Flies
(88) Versatility the Key to Success
(89) Grayling of the Boreal
(90) Teaching Kids To Fly Fish
(91) Size Matters
(92) Fly Fishing Small Streams
(93) Chasing Winter Whites One Lake At A Time
(94) Manitoba's Fishing Jewel
(95) The Twelve Gifts Of Christmas
(96) The Point Of It All
(97) Fishing With Friends-Big Weather Seizing The Day
(98) Fall Fly Fishing
(99) Personal Pontoon Boats 101
(100) Big River, Big Fish
(101) Bottom Bonanza
(102) Fishing Small Flies
(103) So Many Choices, So Little Time
(104) Four Seasons of the Bow
(105) Favourite Lakes - Some Like it Hot
(106) GEARING UP FOR SMALL STREAM TROUT
(107) Trout Hunting New Zealand style
(108) Don’t Leave Home Without Them – 10 Lures That Should Be In Everyone’s Tackle Box
(109) Edge Walleye
(110) FLY FISHING STRATEGIES FOR HIGH WATER
(111) Smallmouth Bass – An Oft Overlooked Challenge
(112) Four Corners – Four Waters
(113) Chasing Pothole Trout
(114) Springtime Stoneflies
(115) The Torrents of Spring
(116) Drift Boat Fly Fishing
(117) Bust Them With Bait
(118) Cure the Winter Blues with a Good Book
(119) Hot Strategies for the Cold Months
(120) Cutthroat: The Angler's Trout
(121) Terrestrials
(122) Fly In For Fishing Fun
(123) Rocky Mountain High
(124) Reading the clues
(125) Where the Trout Are The art of locating feeding trout in rivers and streams.
(126) K.I.S.S. and Tell Fly-fishin
(127) Fly Fishing 101
(128) To Catch a Big Halibut, or Ling Cod
(129) The Bountiful Bones of Ascension Bay
(130) Grayling in the Eye of the Beholder
(131) Fly Fishing for South Fork Clearwater Steelhead
(132) Manitoba's Red River - North America's Catfish Capital
(133) Eliminating the Spook Factor
(134) Trust Your Electronics
(135) The Most Important Hatch of the Year
(136) Early Season Nymph Fishing for Trout
(137) Finding Success for Ice Trout
(138) Walleye can be Humbling
(139) The Secret to Landing the Big One Finally Revealed
(140) Winter Flyfishing
(141) North Saskatchewan River - An Underutilized Fishing Gem
(142) Hot Fall Pike Action
(143) Tips and Tricks to Save the Summer Slow Down
(144) Reading Trout Stream Waters
(145) Frequently Asked Questions
(146) Streamer Fishing for Larger Trout
(147) The Lure of Big Walleye at Last Ice
(148) Deep Water Perch
(149) Post Spawn Brookies
(150) A Fisher's Life
(151) The River's Last Stand
(152) The Big Ones Come out at Night
(153) Coho on the Coast
(154) Chasing and Catching Halibut
(155) Summer in the Mountains
(156) Peak Walleye Season
(157) Slow and Steady Wins the Race
(158) Last Ice Rainbows
(159) The Burbot Event
(160) Tackle Matching
(161) Ice Fishing Strategy #2 - Going Light
(162) Ice Fishing Strategy #1 - Location
(163) The Lure of Brook Trout
(164) The Shallow Water Hunt is On
(165) Hot Backswimmer Action Happening Right Now
(166) Fishing Among Giants-Pursuing Lake Sturgeon on the Prairies
(167) Adventure at Davin Lake Lodge, Northern Saskatchewan
(168) The Vesatile Plug
(169) Bead Head Flies, Plugs and Shot and other Spring Favorites for Pothole Trout
(170) Planning your Upcoming Angling Adventures
(171) Good Fishing at Last Ice
(172) Maximize the Odds - Use Multiple Presentations
(173) Daily Fish Migrations
(174) Fish Migrations - Following the Spawn
(175) Lake Whitefish - An Ice Fishing All Star
(176) Pick Your Favorite Brook Trout Lake...and Go Fishing
(177) A Look Ahead to Great Trout Fishing
(178) Wrestling White Sturgeon on the Fraser
(179) The Fun in Ultra Light
(180) Flyfishing and Leadcore Lines
(181) Embrace the Spirit of Adventure
(182) Never Stop Learning
(183) Ice Fishing is Getting Hot
(184) Jigging through the Ice
(185) An Ice Fishing Unsung Hero – The Setline
(186) Rainbows on Ice
(187) The Season of Ice Begins
(188) Red Hot Fall Pike Action
(189) Hitting it Right with Water Boatman
(190) Facts On Cats
(191) West Coast Adventure
(192) June Walleye Frenzy
(193) Aerated Lakes are Big Trout Factories
(194) First Fish of the Year Pothole Rainbows and Browns
(195) Northern Exposure
(196) Sometimes There is More to Fishing Than Catching Fish
(197) Early Season Pike On The Fly
(198) Man Overboard