River Etiquette

River Etiquette

A reminder early in the season about river etiquette.

We have all been at fault for making stupid mistakes on the river. Sometimes we don’t see someone when approaching via boat or foot. Sometimes we just make mistakes.

The bottom line is it is all about intent. Mistakes happen and we can apologize, make adjustments, and try not to repeat those bad behaviors.

If you treat others like you want to be treated on the water…we should have it all figured out. Follow that easy “Golden Rule” and we can all get along.

Blog reader Tony sent this reminder in to us and are passing it along to your the Headhunters Fly Shop Blog readers. Valid points made by Tony and one theme runs through all of his comments…be courteous to other anglers.

Tony wrote us an email a few weeks ago and we responded with our thoughts too. I believe that part of the issue is that not everyone has been introduced into the outdoor experience with the right tools. Mentorship may be lacking. If you do not learn how to treat others, how to respect nature, and how to act appropriately in the outdoor environment.

So when you do have the chance or opportunity to educate your friends, family, nephews, and your own children…do so. Show them how to act and how to behave. Just do the right thing.

Thank you Tony for prompting this annual blog.

Hi Mark,

I agree with ya 100% about the root cause, and thanks for helping educate folks so the experience everyone has is enjoyable.

I like your writing so I’ll pass on writing the blog, but would add:

1. Flying drones over people, not cool
2. Respect wade fishermen and keep distance, don’t work someone’s lanes
3. It’s a big river, don’t crowd people, give room when passing boats-waders
4. Don’t hog FAS, load up or unload quickly. If your rigging up, don’t block the ramp or the put ins
5. Look around and don’t back row into parties
6. Share. Try not to row around in circles (dam style) hitting the same hole over and over again when there are parties waiting to hit the same spot
7. Dont trespass on private land to get to a wading spot
8. Don’t park like an idiot and block gates

That’s about all I can think of. Looking forward to reading it. Having seen the Madison and Bitterroot turn into true bumper boat junk shows, I hope the Mo’ doesn’t follow the same course. Keep up the good work man!



Thanks for the comments Tony. We appreciate that you are taking the education to the public and helping make the river a nice place to spend the day. Everywhere and for everyone!


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  • Good article Mark and Tony. Treat others on the water as you would like to be treated and set an example of good etiquette for others. It just makes sense as river user days will continue to grow.

  • Claim jumpers will be shot. esply ones with guide stickers on their boats. lol

  • Mark. I would have to agree with point number 4 from Tony. When the weather starts to warm up and more people hit the rivers, the ramps and put-ins tend to get backed-up and can cause a real headache for everyone.

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