River Etiquette

Ethics and River Etiquette for River Recreationists

Coeur d’Alene Country and North Idaho’s rivers and streams are among our state’s greatest assets. Read here how you can help maintain them during use.

As recreational use on and near Idaho’s river resources continues to grow, different river user groups (fishing, floating, tubing, camping, etc.) are encountering each other more frequently. This can lead to conflict between users or a perception of river crowding.

Access sites and boat launches are receiving more traffic and at times are congested. In some cases, river users are not respectful of private land, causing tension between river users and landowners. Additionally, increasing recreational use of rivers is placing pressure on natural resources and resulting in problems such as litter, human waste, and vegetation degradation.

It is crucial for river users to work together to protect our rivers.

Here is a list of river ethics and etiquette to follow so that we can all enjoy Idaho’s great river resources and help protect the recreational experience and the resource.

Be READY
Be ready to float before you get on the ramp.
Organize gear and load boats before approaching the ramp.
Inflate and rig rafts away from the ramp.
Be aware of the space available at the launch area and use only what you need.
Rig and unrig fishing rods away from the ramp.
Once in the water, clear the launch area as soon as possible.
When taking out, leave

BE POLITE
Profanity and obnoxious behavior is inappropriate and offensive.
Boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs is dangerous—be responsible when drinking alcohol on and around the river.
Be discrete when changing clothing.
Keep dogs under control and on a leash.
Encounters and group size affect the river experience

COMMUNICATE
Be prepared for encounters with other river users.
Be friendly and communicate when encountering others on the river.
River crowding is often attributed to encounters with other floaters—keep your group size and number of watercraft to a minimum.
Using firearms in a river corridor can be hazardous and disturbing to others. During hunting season, remember that others may be using the river.
Give space to other river users and remember your river etiquette.

FISH and ANGLERS NEED SPACE
Give anglers wide berth to avoid floating through the area they are fishing.
If it is impossible to avoid floating through the area someone is fishing, politely explain your situation and apologize for the intrusion.
Attempt to keep out of sight of other boaters and anglers.
Don’t monopolize a fishing hole. Fish for awhile and move on.
Give anglers wide berth to avoid floating through the area they are fishing.

YIELD TO THE PEDESTRIAN
Non-motorized watercraft usually have the right-of-way over powerboats.
Non-motorized watercraft should yield the deeper channel to powerboats, which require a deeper channel to navigate safely.
Powerboats should use no-wake speeds when passing non-motorized watercraft and wade anglers.
Paddlers ‘surfing’ on a wave should yield to ‘through boaters.’

LEAVE NO TRACE
Practice ‘Leave No Trace’ river ethics.
Know river skills and carry the necessary equipment to minimize your impact.
Don’t leave your trash—Pack it in-Pack it out.
Use existing restrooms or pack out human waste and toilet paper with a portable toilet.
Avoid using the streambed as a pathway and instead—walk along the shoreline within the high water mark.
Observe wildlife from a distance.
Camp in designated campsites.
Do not build rock fire rings—use designated fire rings or a fire pan.
Always be mindful of fire danger and make sure campfires are dead out before leaving.
Respect private land along the river.
Know your rights and responsibilities under the Stream Access Law.
Stay below the ordinary high water mark.
Respect private property, don’t trespass.
Keep dogs on a leash and under control.
Respect ranchers’ needs for fencing, and learn how to use float gates and portage routes.
Leave gates as you find them.
Obtain permission before camping or recreating on private property.

We at Coeur d’Alene Adventures know you will do your best and doing that will ensure that we are able to continue recreating on our rivers and open spaces.


Scenic River Floats

Scenic river floats are an often overlooked way to enjoy the water on a hot day….You can go down one of Coeur d’Alenes area rivers, jump in and go for a swim, relax as you take in the beautiful mountain vistas, and experience some great wildlife viewing.

By far the best scenic trip is on the majestic Clark Fork River. It is a 90 min to the Cyr Recreation Site and our River Headquarters.

This valley just over the MT border is surrounded by picturesque mountains and ponderosa pine forests. A scenic float trip is a grand way to navigate through the beautiful landscape while you quietly view the wildlife in its natural habitat. Not only is it relaxing, but the Clark Fork is less crowded than the other rivers in the area. You can pull over along the banks for a picnic or jump in the river for a refreshing swim without seeing another person some days.

Just below the wild waters of the Alberton Gorge you will find the much calmer Tarkio Gorge. This stretch of river has great swimming holes and nice sandy beaches. We have a favorite stop for lunch or continue down this peaceful stretch of river and do something else with the second half of your day. Along the way you may see some great wildlife…. including elk, deer, moose, bald eagles, osprey, and, beavers. This scenic float trip is a great way to take in all the beautiful sights found in the Montana Valley.

We float a 6 mile stretch of river April through November.

The float usually takes a little over 3 hours, which allows a family to get ready for a fun dinner, go for a hike, or engage in another short activity to conquer another great adventurous day on vacation.

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