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Marine Board Reminds Coastal River Boaters to Demonstrate Good Etiquette
For Immediate Release -12/9/11
 
A number of small coastal rivers are expecting good returns of steelhead this winter, and weather forecasters are promising water. When the two come together, anglers line up for a chance at the hard-fighting fish. The Oregon State Marine Board reminds boaters to share these small rivers with each other and with bank anglers.
 
“When conditions are good, anglers crowd in using their favorite fishing method from the bank, a drift boat or a power boat if allowed,” said Randy Henry, Policy Analyst for the Marine Board.  “If people are polite and friendly, everyone gets along. If people are aggressive and rude, someone walks away angry looking for a way to restrict the other person’s activity.”
 
Henry noted that complaints between motorized and nonmotorized boaters on the Chetco, South Fork Coquille, Siletz and several other coastal rivers come in every year. Violations of the slow-no-wake zone below Sollie Smith Bridge on the Wilson River are also a problem right now. Conflict between boat and bank anglers will likely pick up in January and February. On the Sixes and Elk rivers, there will likely be complaints of drift boaters anchoring up in a prime hole for hours on end, making it difficult for others to fish through.
Henry suggests the following etiquette to help everyone enjoy a day on the river.
 
·       Boat anglers should minimize motor use on small rivers.  Drift boats do not plane –increased throttle provides little increase in speed but creates a larger wake and more noise.  Have patience and travel slowly.  If motoring back upstream means disrupting bank anglers, limit your trips. 
·       Boat away from bank anglers to avoid interrupting their fishing. If boating away would put you over holding water, communicate your intentions to float by the bank anglers to avoid spooking the fish. 
·       If a bank angler or a boater has a fish on, give the other person room to play and land the fish.  Reel in your lines and move away.
·       Bank anglers need to share their fishing hole with boaters.  Acknowledge and work with the boater.  You take a turn, they get a turn.  Invite boaters to fish through, then return to fishing as they are safely past. 
·       If a boater is restricting your ability to fish, ask them to modify their activity so you can also fish.  If they refuse, adjust your activity until they leave. 
·       In areas where boat use is common, bank anglers should avoid wading to the middle of the channel or to the top of their waders.  Likewise, don’t cast across the river and expect boats not to pass through.  Bank anglers legally cannot restrict navigation.
·       Bank anglers fishing narrow, fast water, should watch carefully for boaters and let them pass.  Boats have limited control in these waters.  Don’t place yourself or fishing gear in restricted areas unless you can quickly move out of the way.
 
Bank anglers and boaters both have the right to access and use the rivers for angling.  Boating is a legal and traditional activity.  If boaters and bank anglers are fishing the same hole, it is reasonable and polite for the boater to fish the hole twice and move along.
 
“It really comes down to sharing the waterway,” said Henry. “Aggressive fishing and boat operation might put you on a fish, but it’ll cost you a potential friend and maybe your fishing access.”
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