Upstream or downstream? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Upstream or downstream?

05-22-2004, 10:05 AM
Without wanting to re-open the often bitter debate as to whether to always fish upstream I need some advice on a local issue.

I have fished for almost forty years: coarse, sea and game, but have never fished fly on a river. The other day I visited a large stream / small river where as a boy I used to catch 6 oz wild brown trout on float fished worm. Physically the stream has changed little, but with a cleaner environment some of those 6 oz fish are now going on 3 lb. The can be seen laying in clear glides at the head of riffles and are obviously feeding.

My attempts to entice them with a No. 4 weight outfit failed to raise a fish. The problem I have is that I cannot cast across the fish because the stream is only about 6' to 8' wide and the bankside vegetation entails casting from midstream. So, do I cast from downstream over their heads or try to land the fly in front of them from upstream?

Your help would be greatly appreciated.


05-22-2004, 01:34 PM
Welcome to the "forum". Based on the little bit of info you've given, unless "local custom" dictated otherwise I would cast downstream with as much slack as I get.
Also have you tried to hide in the brush with just your rod tip, a small amount of line, and the leader sticking out and dap a fly on the surface. In the close quarters you describe if you hook a 3 lber this way you will have an exciting time of it.:whoa:
Take care, MJC

05-22-2004, 02:51 PM
Down the same path as Mike's comment above, have an old set of (vcr tapes) done by Doug Switscher (sp?) many years ago. His recommendation was again a down stream "S cast." What this cast did was put a series of 's-curves' in the line as it lay on the water. The water current would then pull the line down stream a a wonderful long 'dead drift.'

Very old memory here, but to form the 's-curves' he made a light forward cast and 'wiggled' the rod tip back and forth to form the loops on the water.

North Island
05-23-2004, 05:21 PM

For me the decision would be based mainly on the fly. For a nymph, wet, or streamer presentation I would present the fly downstream with some angle if that was possible. The less angle to be had the longer the leader I would use. If depth was a concern I might apply some floatant on the leader.

The upstream dry fly presentation, I find very effective for spooky fish. Again I like faily long leaders. It helps to keep the fly line away from the fish and hopefullythe fish will never see the line. Best of luck.