YES! There are informal rules to fishing. It’s sort of a Gentleman’s agreement rather than being written in stone. I won’t cover them all, just the two I see way too often.
The first is referred to as “Camping.” It’s when people stay in one spot and fish that section to death while people are waiting their turn. Nobody likes to feel pressured or hurried when fishing…but come on! You can clearly see that people are waiting so fish the top spots and move on.
The second is called “High-holing” and is basically similar to jumping line. Everybody hates it and YOU know it. However, if you’re camping and get high-holed…you deserve it.
Uncommon sense dictates that if you have the river to yourself then the rules are shelved. Pretty simple.
It’s not that difficult to start a conversation. Keep it non-aggressive and casual and if there’s a section you want to fish several miles up-river just let them know.
For example, I got to the river really early one day and was gearing up to begin fishing. I’m standing on the riverbank fastening my waders when a car pulls up and two guys get out and start hurrying past me to fish the river. I caught up to them a few minutes later and asked how they were doing. (the weather is always a safe topic) I asked their permission if I could move past them because I wanted to fish a section of the river several miles upstream. I told them that I didn’t want to high-hole them and thought it best to inform them of my plans. They were somewhat perplexed and I explained the term “high-holing” to them. The light bulb clicked on and they sheepishly looked at one another. I wished them success and began my walk upstream.
I created dialogue in a non-aggressive manner, I informed them that I was not a threat to their fishing plans so I eliminated any pretense of competition or one-upmanship. It worked out and there was enough distance between us that we never saw each other until later that evening when we were all leaving.
It’s not that difficult to have a good time on the river/stream where everyone benefits. Now, if anyone can get through to the jet skiers…have at it.