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Fishing Courtesy: How Close to Another Fisherman is Too Close?

8/17/17 @ 6:39 PM
User since 5/18/02

I have a personal code regarding fishing a location taken by someone else: stay one long cast away from the other boat.  An exception to this might be fishing near a specific structure, like a pier.  If there is a boat fishing in front of one pier, if the distance is 'fair', fishing an adjacent pier may be OK.  I am curious about your opinions.

Fact:  Recently on Tichigan Lake, a local was fishing at the end of his pier with a bobber thrown out.  I was casting shoreline.  I used the electric motor to go around his pier to get to the next one.  I stayed more than a long cast away, certainly away from his bobber.  I went to an adjacent pier and caught a largemouth.  This prompted him to scold me for fishing 'his area'; I was 'too close' to his property.  

Fact:  During a fishing tournament on Tichigan ( I was NOT part of the contest), I had a big strike on the surface.  Nice bass jumped over the popper and a big splash was seen and heard.  Within a few seconds, this huge bass boat was right behind me.  To their credit they were throwing where I was not throwing.  But I could have pitched any lure under-handed and landed in their boat--they were CLOSE.  

Fact:  While fishing the Fox frequently, there have been a few skiers who really push the envelope with how close to a fishing boat they get.  Is there a rule in this regard?

Over the years, I have seen and heard arguments of fisherman to fisherman, or fisherman to land owner, or fisherman to water skier. We know of 'road rage';  there is also 'water rage'.   I dont believe there is a State rule on the minimum distance between different lake users.  

4/17/19 @ 8:11 AM
User since 2/6/06

12 pack.  that would be one of the "exceptions" i mentioned.  i fish the Mississippi around La crosse and during walleye run people can play bumper boats below the dams as well. That's another exception but not my scene.  However, during normal "summer" or "winter" conditions those would be my rules with the obvious exceptions that occur yearly.

4/16/19 @ 7:19 PM
User since 12/22/04

This is not subjective or relative at all.  If you are fishing somewhere an idiot could find, you get what you get and don’t throw a fit.   If you work to find your own spots, this is usually not a problem.   Also fishing during low traffic times is key to privacy.    

Now I almost came to fists with a guy during ice season.  I was fishing 10 holes by myself during week day on a large flat.   Guy drives across entire lake on ATV and drops his ducer down one of holes I drilled and was still hopping.   

Guy did not even have auger with him and did same to another couple groups after me on other parts of main lake I could see.  

So somethings are unavoidable, but if it happens to you a lot, change your approach 

4/16/19 @ 5:22 PM
User since 12/19/06


Do you fish the Madison chain during the crappie spawn?  You're lucky to get 40 yards apart in boats all anchored close to one least in about 1/2-dozen hot spots I know of on Waubesa and Monona.

4/16/19 @ 1:06 PM
User since 2/6/06

I've come to realize I'm just not a big fan of people and if there are enough of them I can assume at least one will be a jerk.  I fish to relax and have found to really enjoy adventure fishing small rivers in my kayak as well as trout fishing.  I can easily stay away from others doing these things.  Last thing I want when i work all week is a stressful fishing trip on the weekend.  

however, as a rule of thumb, if I'm fishing a "community hole", i'd say 30-50 yards on the ice and 100 yards in a boat (with exceptions of course).  if it's not a community hole, i'd probably double those amounts.  

4/16/19 @ 1:00 PM
User since 7/24/01

If there are 2 boats on a 1000 acre lake and I can hear you're too close.  But it happens all the time.

It's interesting when you read where the guys are from that say "Screw's public!" 

4/16/19 @ 12:26 PM
Tim Zwieg
User since 1/10/12

Close is a relative term.  I will do everything in my power to not fish to close to you.  Last winter I pulled up to a spot, and set up.  A guy came out of his house that was literally 300 yards away and started yelling at me.  There is a spot that I do fish in the fall that the boats are 30 feet apart, I always try to be the first guy there in the AM.  Then there are times when we are vertical jigging and I'll invite my buddy over to camp next to us so we can BS and harass each other.  So I guess to close depends on the location and the person!

4/16/19 @ 10:46 AM
User since 1/6/16

This one always gets me. How close is a relative concept in that there are the laws regarding minimum distances, personal preference, and what is a general consensus.

I grew up on the Waukesha chain so I'm very used to people being what most would consider "too close" but 99% of the time they were following the laws on distance. Then you get into ice fishing and it's a whole different world. I generally don't mind if people fish near me as long as they're not running their auger the whole time, or being rude. 

For those who say they will harm or hurt people who infringe on "their space". That is a stupid statement as there is. If they aren't breaking the law, which most of you probably would find to be too close. Who cares, enjoy the day. Quit dwelling on the minute or two that your perceived territory was trespassed on. Get over it snowflake, you're not special, you don't own the lake, you don't deserve more space than anyone else. Quit looking for a reason to be pissed and relax, that's what the outdoors are for.

1/8/19 @ 12:43 PM
Otter Box
Otter Box
User since 12/10/14

I absolutely hate fishing by people, like within 200 yards. Now that isn’t always possible, but if someone is on a spot I wanted too fish, I don’t sit down next too them, I go too spot #2. If someone cranes in on me, I have no problem going too jail, court and then prison, so they should be okay with the same. I respect the heck out of other fishermen and boaters as I love too do both. I slow down, stay as far away from a anchored or trolling fisherman when boating and have chased down and chewed out boaters when they do the opposite too me or other fishermen. It’s all about how your brought up and I was brought up too respect others until disrespected. No one owns the damn lake, but have some manners, respect, courtesy, decency, common frickin sense and it’s amazing how most others will respond. 

1/8/19 @ 11:14 AM
User since 5/21/03

You know?  Many times common sense prevails.  If I'm going to be close to someone, ice or in the boat, I ask when I pull up.  I've yet to have someone tell me "no".  Outside of an exception of Lake Vermillion when a guide thought he owned a side of the lake we were fishing.  D-bag.  

Reminds me of fishing a popular Vilas County lake for walleyes on the opener.  36 boats around me and the wife.  I saw 3 fish caught from those boats in the amount of time it took her to land 18 fish.  One guy came so close I could have touched his boat.  The wife saw it and let him have it.  He left in a hurry.  She kept on catching fish.  Soon we had our limit and were packing up to go.  Another boat came over, single guy in the boat, he asked for our spot.  Wife said sure and showed him where to cast, showed him her jig and bait.  He had one, tied it on, threw it out where she said and caught a fish as we were leaving.  He smiled, she smiled and thanked her.  All was good.

Just ask, it makes a huge difference.

And...she caught 24 fish that evening.  I got 6.  I think that she alone outfished 36 other boats.  Girl was on fire!  She still reminds me of that trip!  LOL!

1/4/19 @ 2:21 PM
User since 1/28/13

For me it depends on the situation.

I've been on piers where it has been shoulder-to-shoulder jigging for whitefish, bobber fishing for skamainia & casting for silver fish when the fish are in. In this situation everyone has to be good pier neighbors & for the most part cooperation is high, but as a defensive measure I fish with braid now in order to prevail in tangles involving mono.

On that same pier I've fished when boats are trolling & have been in a boat trolling when others are on the pier. If the boaters are perceived to be too close, it's not uncommon to see 1oz spoons & 3 oz pyramid sinkers being directed to the percieved offending boat. In both situations I now bring along a range finder to authenticate the distance to prevent/minimize confrontations. 

Ice fishing is a different beast & the personal space requirement between anglers varies greatly. Once again I bring the rangefinder along & try to give myself at least 20 yards from the next angler. Being a quiet ice neighbor by minimzing noise goes along way with me. I use an electric auger & keep my walking around to a minimum.

The thing that really bugs me ice fishing is those who drill a bunch of holes over a large area & expect me not to be fishing anywhere near the holes not being being used. 

The saving a spot or holes for a buddy coming out later tactic doesn't fly with me at all.

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