I've done a lot of trout fishing in the last 39 years and I've seen a dozen or so rattlesnakes while fishing, as well as another half dozen or so while driving to and from streams. I've never seen a copperhead alive though I saw my first dead one not far from a stream I fish while bike riding last summer.
One fairly common theme has been that almost all of the rattlesnakes I've seen have been in sunny spots, meaning in a clearing or near a fallen tree.
While fishing I stay in the water almost all of the time which minimizes my chances of encountering rattlesnakes.
I wear hip boots which I believe offer a good bit of protection due to the air (distance) between my leg and the boot. I also wear three pairs of tube socks to make my boots fit better. I don't wet-wade, but if I did I would never do it in rattlesnake country. While walking back to my vehicle I do my best to avoid walking in ferns or other vegetation where I can't see where I'm stepping. I also avoid ever putting my hands anywhere there might be a rattlesnake, including on a tree that has fallen across the stream.
I see non-venomous snakes, particularly northern watersnakes, regularly. I really don't concern myself much with them. Years ago on the Little Juniata River I came upon a snake, upsidedown, drapped around a rock like as if it has died and floated downstream and got caught on the rock. Since it was rather fat, I thought maybe it was a copperhead that someone had killed and tossed into the stream. I nudged it with my boot to turn it over for a better look. To my surprise it was quite alive and bit me in the arch of my hip boot where the rubber is thick. It didn't hit any meat. It then swam away faster than I thought a snake could swim.
Last edited by FrankTroutAngler; 08-02-2017 at 11:31 AM.