Question on river etiquette

Dean
Today I fished the Sandy (report coming soon, didn't catch anything but beautiful day!). I was fishing a very crowded area, and I arrived at the same time as another angler. I talked to a different guy who was leaving for a while, and ended up taking his spot around the same time this other angler started casting. I was about 100 feet from this other dude, and I watched how far down he was drifting his bobber before I cast for the first time to make sure I wouldn't interfere with him at all.

So, I step out into the river, start casting, and I notice this other guy seems agitated. I didn't put 2 and 2 together and thought he was just having a bad day and maybe having a mental illness episode (like he was REAL pissed) and I kept fishing. He gets more mad, and ends up grabbing a large piece of driftwood, walking towards me, and throws it in the river to where it will float right by me. That's when I realized he was mad at me. He stomped off angrily right after.

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't being a jerk here. If it was a remote location and I saw somebody else, I would keep walking but I figured we could fish within eyesight of each other here and it was fine. There were like 80 cars in the parking lot, and I saw countless walkers / cyclists so it was very much so an urban nature experience. We also never came close to each other with our bobbers so I don't think that could have possibly been an issue. Just kind of confused and wanted to make sure I didn't violate some unspoken rule (I've only been fishing for a couple years, and my buddy taught me steelheading on a very remote river where we didn't see anybody else!).
 
Dizzy Fisherman
From my experience most anglers don’t mind if you fish above them but stepping in the river below someone can be poor etiquette depending on the situation. Most guys that are working a run will begin at the head of the run and work their way down through the tailout. Some runs are larger than others which can make things more complicated. It can be “low holing” if another angler doesn’t ask and fishes the same run below another angler. I always ask regardless. I don’t know your exact situation but this is my take.
 
Dean
Dizzy Fisherman said:
From my experience most anglers don’t mind if you fish above them but stepping in the river below someone can be poor etiquette depending on the situation. Most guys that are working a run will begin at the head of the run and work their way down through the tailout. Some runs are larger than others which can make things more complicated. It can be “low holing” if another angler doesn’t ask and fishes the same run below another angler. I always ask regardless. I don’t know your exact situation but this is my take.
Thanks for the info! I guess I would have expected him to just come say something rather than throwing a toddler level temper tantrum (there were multiple people fishing and we were all being friendly besides this dude). The tip about stepping in the river above vs below is very helpful though and I'll keep it in mind. If I had been close enough to this guy to affect his drift at all, I would have asked him - but we weren't in earshot and I didn't want to walk over to him just to talk.
 
C_Run
Another thing could be that some methods may not be compatible. If everyone is bobber fishing together it can be a beautifully choreographed thing to watch. If you were to step in the middle of a line of bobber fishermen and start casting spinners in all directions or try to plunk, that's not going to go over well. Not sure if that applies to your situation.
 
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Dean
C_Run said:
Another thing could be that some methods may not be compatible. If everyone is bobber fishing together it can be a beautifully choreographed thing to watch. If you were to step in the middle of a line of bobber fishermen and start casting spinners in all directions or try to plunk, that's not going to go over well. Not sure if that applies to your situation.
I could totally see that being a pisser. We were both bobber fishing (not close enough to see what he was running, but I was running a bead and I assume his was running something similar), and I made sure he wasn't drifting anywhere near me. And like I said - he started fishing that spot while another dude was exactly where I was, and I took that guy's spot after chatting with him for a bit. If he was trying to fish the entire hole (I think he had the more ideal spot btw; I was fishing below the actual "hole") and wanted to bunny hop me, I would have totally traded places with him when he moved.

Anyway, I guess I'll take Dizzy's advice and be sure to chat with people if I see them, even in a "combat fishing lite" type place like where I was at on the Sandy. Not that long after that guy left, a trio of adults with a toddler came and set up next to me for example, so there's no way he would have had that entire drift to himself. It was just too crowded, and it didn't bother me at all (that trio of people was super nice and said hi to me, etc.). I can only imagine how much a toddler crying would have pissed that other guy off. Hah.
 
DOKF
Unfortunately, combat fishing happens around here.

Even before last year (the year that wasn't), I tended to socially distance while fishing. I prefer the company of mid sized salmonids up close to most humanoids.

I go fishing mostly to escape the crowds. :alien:
 
Dean
DOKF said:
Unfortunately, combat fishing happens around here.

Even before last year (the year that wasn't), I tended to socially distance while fishing. I prefer the company of mid sized salmonids up close to most humanoids.

I go fishing mostly to escape the crowds. :alien:
Same. Which is mainly why I didn't talk to that guy. I'm not trying to be social when I'm fishing, I'm there to get my line wet and have a good time on the river. Anyway, I was fishing Sandy at Lewis and Clark near the railroad bridge and it was *very* crowded. Lots of dog walkers on the path, cyclists, etc. There are many parks right in a row there, all connected via a bike path. So, not recommended if you're trying to escape crowds. :)
 
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jamisonace
Some guys will never be happy with another fisherman in the same zip code as them. I find it's best to be a little chatty and most people will be friendly back. In this case, his problem was his problem alone. Given your description of the situation a person needs to show up to a spot like that with a lot of patience. Even if you did something that pissed him off that you aren't aware of, he can't expect everything to go his way at a crowded spot.
 
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