Common courtesy sometimes sinks on local lakes

John Liechty

As we spend hour after hour on the water, we come to the realization that there are many things that we are in search of. First and foremost, we are trying to catch fish. Other days, we are looking to expand on our techniques and learn new ways to target the species that we are looking for.

As we go through these steps, there is one goal that anyone and everyone has in common, and that is to have fun and enjoy the beauty these Mother Lode lakes have to offer. It is hard to have a bad day on the water, even if the fish are not biting. But there is one thing that can throw a wrench into the flow of the day and that is bad boating etiquette.

Most of the time when poor sportsmanship, interference or a lack of etiquette occur, it simply comes from not knowing or understanding how one’s actions can affect others. The lake is a privilege and taking a second to think about what the boater or angler next to you is doing for enjoyment will make for a more pleasurable experience for us all.

Sharing the water and the launching facilities, while being mindful, is a must for things to run smoothly. I am not making reference to jet-skiers, wakeboarders and water-skiers interfering with the fishermen. In fact, some of the inconsiderate acts that I have recently witnessed have come from other fishermen who have basically disregarded our presence.

Starting from the beginning of the day, we all get to the water with the anticipation and expectation of being on the water. With a limited number of lanes to launch, it is best to prepare the boat, load any gear, unhook the straps and wait in line. We do not want to wait in line, pull into one of the available lanes, unhook the straps, load the gear and then proceed to prepare the boat. This will only prevent others from launching in a timely manner and set a poor precedence for others.

Once we are on the water and having the time of our lives, we need to continue to think about the lake users around us. If you find an area that is flat calm with a few people wakeboarding and water-skiing, try to keep that area calm because that is why they are there. One quick pass will disrupt the surface for a second, but continuous passes could and will put a delay in their happiness.

As far as fishing goes, if you see anglers standing in a boat casting in one direction (usually toward the bank), go around the backside of them. Racing through the skinny water between a boat and the bank will likely interfere with their presentations, and they might be fishing some underwater structure that could do damage to a boat traveling at high speeds. If you see a boat with people fishing at a slow speed usually out in open water, it means they are trolling. Their lines are behind the boat and the fish they are targeting are in front. Just be sure to keep a respectful distance and everyone will be happy.

The lake is giant; there is an abundance of water and plenty for everyone to have enjoyable outings this summer. Whether we are out fishing, tubing, skiing or just pleasure boating, it is important to be aware of ourselves and others. See you on the water.

John Liechty is the owner of Xperience Fishing Guide Service in Angels Camp. Contact John at 743-9932 or


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