Actually, that's not true. You should even avoid branches when they stick from trees into the frame of your composition but in the water, they're your best friend, especially for long exposures like this 4 minute photograph.
I wasn't even forced to "cheat" here because the stick was at the exact right position - I didn't touch it - I swear.
When composing this picture, it was important to me that the stick in the water wouldn't touch the dark reflection of the trees, had it done that, then I'd moved it.
This is Lake Zug in Switzerland on a typical Summer day in July...
You can order a high-quality print of this photograph