It really depends on how and what you are pursuing.
If trout are sipping dry flies you might try an upriver cast letting the fly drift down drag-free without putting the line over the fish.
If it's steelhead you're after you would cast down and across and let the fly swing all the way over to the "dangle", which is where the fly stops down river from you before casting again.
For smallmouth bass or other fish that will chase a stripped (retrieved) fly, the cast you were making would work fine.
Unless you spot a fish, it's best to keep moving to cover a lot of water but don't wade deeply to avoid disturbing our finned friends.