Downstream vs. Upstream [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Downstream vs. Upstream

07-22-2007, 06:09 PM
Another question here from the rookie.:D

I was wondering when you're fishing moving waters, whether they be streams or rivers. If you would work your way up stream or if you should work your way downstream?

07-22-2007, 09:12 PM
Depends on where the fish are ;)

When working a swung fly, clearly it's better to move downstream. Each cast and swing can naturally progress down the bank and the next person can follow covering the pool.

However if you are fishing drag-free dries there would be something to be said for moving up the bank since the presentation often comes from down current.

So it really depends on how you are fishing where the fish are.

07-22-2007, 10:41 PM
In addition to what Juro said, here's a couple of other things to consider.

Fish will point into the current, which generall means upstream. So approaching from downstream is more stealthy. They don't always point upstream though as in the case of eddies since water in eddies will flow upstream on the back side of the eddy.

Along the same lines, fishing downstream will cause the dirt you kick up to alert the fish that something's coming whereas fishing upstream will not.

If you're fishing a dry then you can fish either direction. In general the easiest way to fish a dry is to cast it quartering upstream from you. This gives a nice long drift with minimal need to mend line.

When fishing a streamer or other wet fly, you should fish downstream. Cast, retrieve, take a couple of steps downstream, repeat.

Fishing upstream is a lot more tiring.

Dble Haul
07-23-2007, 08:15 AM
There are cases where fishing a dry downstream has its advantages, the greatest of which is that fish facing upstream see your fly first, not the line or leader.

Like others have said, it depends upon the situation.

07-23-2007, 12:01 PM
im completely ignorant in this subject, but my fountain of wisdom "curtis creek manifesto" (sheridan anderson) recommends moving upstream. In case youre in a small stream, its inevitable to scare some trout as you fish. They will let themselves escape downstream (less effort) and alert other trout. In case you move downstream as you fish, soon youll have a growing snow-ball of scared trout (or so the book says.)

Personally in small streams I try whenever I can to move upstream to a nice spot, pass it very carefully from the side and then fish the spot downtream or sideways with swung or dead drifted steamers and nymphs as Juro suggests.

again, I dont do this out of knowledge, maybe just pure predujice. Im new to fly fishing myself. Anyways, when landcape features etc. wont let me move upstream, I move and fish downstream and do generally Ok.

07-24-2007, 10:25 PM
Wow, those are some good tips there. It makes since that if you move downstream that you kick up dirt and scare fish. They also move downstream when you scare them, I've done a lot of that!

Thanks everybody for helping out with that one.

Dble Haul
07-25-2007, 08:05 AM

Nobody says that you have to be in the water as you move downstream. If at all possible, stalk the bank and remove the possibility of disturbing the bottom sediments at all. This isn't possible with every river or stream, but should be done if it's feasible.