As the first angler works his way down through the pool the second steps into the top of the pool when a reasonable casting distance is reached between the first and the second angler. Each angler steps into the top of the pool as his turn arrives. The size of the pool generally determines how many anglers may be in the pool casting at any one time. The remaining anglers wait on shore until there is room at the top of the pool to enter.
As an angler leaves the bottom of the pool he comes to shore and assumes the last position in the rotation, i.e. anyone on the shore when he leaves the water should have the opportunity to enter the pool next. When in doubt regarding your position in the rotation be courteous and ask. This procedure allows equal access to the pool for all fishermen.
There are some local exceptions to pool rotation. For example, on a particular river, a certain rock at the top of the run provides an excellent fishing platform and position. Local custom may dictate that this position is taken on a first come first serve basis with no expectation of rotating the position until the angler is finished fishing. Despite these local traditions, you should always be courteous and offer to share such opportunities. Although most anglers on the major salmon rivers practice pool rotation there are some smaller rivers where the local fishermen do not. The angling pressure on these rivers is not as heavy and generally, if there is someone fishing a pool, you just move on to the next pool. Talking to local anglers and observation will assist in determining local angling etiquette. When in doubt, let courtesy be your guide.
Should you raise a fish while you are rotating through a pool with other fishermen you may:
Should you hook and release or retain a fish while rotating the pool you should leave the pool and assume a position at the end of the rotation. If you hook the fish but loose him you are able to reenter the pool immediately, at the position where you hooked the fish.
Should another fisherman in the rotation hook a fish, as a matter of curtesy, reel up your line and move out of the way. You may offer assistance to the angler in landing the fish if you feel confident enough. Otherwise wait until the angler has either landed the fish or lost it and then return to the river where you left.
Do not wade in spawning areas. Respect the property of others. Do not block driveways or secondary roads and do not walk through cultivated fields. Always ask permission before you cross private property.
Respect the river and the land. Do not leave garbage or start fires.
It is not considered good sportsmanship to fish a sinking line with a large hook in low water or slow current conditions. Large numbers of salmon can be holding in a pool in these circumstances and a fish could be foul hooked.
When the water temperature is over 70 degrees salmon are less likely to take a fly. Hooking and playing a salmon under such conditions causes a great deal of stress and can result in the death of a large fish that must be released. Many salmon fishermen refrain from fishing under these conditions, given the difficulty in hooking salmon and the possible increased mortality rate of released fish.
Assist others by example and advice.
Report all angling violations to the proper authorities.
Not only do the rules and regulations vary be province but they may also vary by river. Licenses issued by provinces/states come with a copy of the regulations. Read them carefully. These regulations may also change throughout the year with changes in fishing conditions or numbers of returning fish etc. It is extremely important to check with local authorities on the current regulations for the area in question. Most provinces/states require a separate and distinct license to fish for salmon. Failure to abide by the regulations can lead to significant fines, loss of vehicle, equipment and jail terms in some areas.
Highlights of the 1995 regulations in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada include:
In Nova Scotia in 1995 a number of rivers were also designated as closed to salmon angling for the year while others were designated catch and release only. Other than New Brunswick, angling for kelts (black salmon, slinks) is not permitted.
Please note that the above rules and regulations are highlights of those that existed in Nova Scotia during the 1995 salmon angling season. Please check with local authorities regarding current regulations at the time.