Etiquette seems pretty straightforward. It’s the Golden Rule: Treat others as you’d want to be treated yourself. That statement has a caveat, though: You need to know how you’d like to be treated yourself. If you aren’t working from the same knowledge base, sometimes you honestly don’t know. For example, while it amazes me what the government regulates, here in California there’s no regulation to driving a boat. Sure, there are rules on the water, but in order to drive your own private boat, all you need is the money to go buy one. So when a private boat drives right through your fishing lines, perhaps they just need to be told why that’s not good etiquette?

I wrote recently about drift fishing the Colorado River. If you decide to try it out, it’d be good to know the rules. Here’s a primer on drifting etiquette.

drift_alaskaWhen it comes to drifting rivers, adhering to these concepts and following the proper etiquette will help insure that everyone can have a pleasant experience while on the water. What follows is a quick list of the unwritten “rules of the road” as they apply to waders and boaters, or maybe better said, waders vs. boaters!


Often, you won’t be alone in wanting to launch your boat. Other fishermen with drift boats, canoes, kayaks or pontoons will also be at the ramp, with the same goal as you. To keep everything running smoothly, it is important that everyone respect their place in line and their time on the ramp. Have your boat rigged and loaded before you back down on the ramp. If you’re not ready and there are others waiting, it is okay to let them ahead of you.

Once you have your boat in the water, move it to the side so others can launch. If there’s current, the downstream side of the ramp is a better choice so as not to interfere with others when you get underway. When in doubt, ask someone.

Photo credits: Hatch Magazine (top); (above)

SOURCEHatch Magazine
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Joe is an avid saltwater angler. He grew up in Washington State on the south end of Puget Sound where he first started fishing as a boy catching perch, flounder, rockfish, and occasionally salmon. Today, Joe lives in Southern California where he fishes off beaches and jetties, kayaks, and sportfishing boats. Joe writes about his saltwater adventures in the SoCal Salty blog, and for Western Outdoor News.