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Thread: Downstream ok?

  1. #1

    Default Downstream ok?

    I am not sure about you guys, I rarely have 'casts' made up and have the intention of tying one up when need be. On Friday on upper Tweed with a strong downstream wind and very strong gusts....coupled with no rising trout, I put on a beaded nymph and another nymph on the dropper with no real intention of changing (due to the wind and time constraints) and started fishing across and down.....down and across.....slightly up and across!!

    At that point, I am fishing and am happy, but think I am not really fishing 'properly' and have little chance other than small brownies. I had been trying to concentrate on upstream dry and the duo....even upstream nymph/spider combo. I have now caught a total of two fish on the upstream dry!

    Anyway, I have a bit of experience in mending line and avoiding drag but am now not sure the drag free drift is the point at which I am likely to catch - despite many articles I have read. At the end of the drift and slight swing, I was into a fish which turned out to be my first ever grayling! It was a decent size and it took the small gold beaded sparkly olive nymph. This was hardly Czech nymphing, but I was delighted and you know the difference a take or even just rising fish can make to your day! I was fishing a 'channel' on the inside of a shingle island which was fairly deep quite fast moving and around ten yards wide. It slowed at the end of the shingle island as it would running into a pool. Seemed a likely spot and easy to fish.

    That day I met a couple of anglers who were going a few miles upstream to fish all the way back (fishing downstream) and have since read a little about the merits of down and across (or similar) and the technique of stripping in a little line at the end of the swing and then letting the fly dead drift a bit more and repeating. I suppose it has the effect of a struggling/emerging nymph??
    In the past I have caught lots of small brownies but nothing of any size. However, I have been puzzled after seeing a salmon angler hooking a really decent sized brownie fishing with traditional salmon fly fishing techniques!

    I now have the following in my armoury for the next time:- Cast a nymph/spider across and upstream and lift at likely spots (probably as the fly nears my position)/ Cast across and down and mend etc as normal with a couple of retrievals and dead drifts at the end of the swing. Maybe a bit of both in a single cast?

    Anyway, with my small grayling success, (coupled with local anglers fishing downstream and the salmon angler catch) I feel now that I may well have been fishing 'properly' but keen to know if the downstream wet or nymph or spider is a popular method and can it catch decent sized (wary) trout?? Are there many out there using similar methods??

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Downstream ok?

    Last season I attended a skills course run by one of my clubs and picked up some tips on fishing nymphs/wets downstream - not something that has appealed much in the past. Over the last two seasons I have fished this way when conditions dictate and I've caught reasonably well with it. I have to say it's still not a method I really 'enjoy', but it is certainly effective. I have tried to use the 'escalator' method of continuously paying out line to try to keep the drift as natural as possible.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2017

    Default Re: Downstream ok?

    Almost all of my fishing is upstream, be it spiders, nymphs or dries, or combinations of those. However often when I let the flies downstream through I will get a take as they come up in the water at the very end of the drift. I often feel a bit guilty about fish taken this way, almost as if I've fluked them, though I must say they seem able to throw the hook more often than fish taking upstream. Where conditions dictate I will fish downstream and mend to try to acheive a dead drift but even though it's how I started flyfishing many moons ago, I rarely feel confident with it.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Downstream ok?

    I've spent the last 2 seasons concentrating on spiders, fished north-country style, ie up and across. I have found that a great proportion of takes come when the cast is at the end of the drift, which is when they are fishing downstream. The few times I have had a nymph on the point, thinking the fish may be slightly lower down in the water, the nymph very often takes the fish, just as it has finished the swing and is rising slightly in the water. May not be permitted on the Test, but it certainly works for me.
    I do know one very good catcher who seems to nearly always fish a team of spiders down at 45 degrees then lets it swing, very effective.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard

    Default Re: Downstream ok?

    I have never worried about whether I am fishing 'properly' or not and mix and match all sorts of techniques.

    On certain rivers and in certain conditions it can sometimes be that across and down with a wet hooks the bigger fish.

    When you are upstream of the fish you are, obviously, more likely to be seen. Broken water, however, can be a big mitigating factor here though. My general rule of thumb is upstream with drys on flat water, downstream with wets on broken water.

    On a recent fishing trip (on a fast flowing Northern river) I took the best Grayling of the day fishing across and down. While casting upstream with a dry, I had only taken smaller Grayling. Later in the same session I hooked another large fish that snapped me off, again across and down.

    As a side note, I had a 12' tenkara rod and a 7' standard fly rod with me. I fished both (successfully) with wets and drys, and when using the short rod with weighted wets used a mix of casting and nymphing tactics.

    I caught this small Grayling on the tenkara rod, using a bow and arrow cast slightly upstream, to drift parallel with me and he took a #16 Klinkhammer. I'm pretty sure you won't find that technique in any of the books.
    Downstream ok?-rtdtaoj-jpg

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    St Albans, Herts

    Default Re: Downstream ok?

    Regarding the thread title, I would say 'yes'. In a club I'm a member of, it's an unequivocal 'no', so I don't on their waters. The other club, if there's a rising fish, and only if there's a rising fish, and I feel the only way to get a fly in front of it is a downstream cast, then I'll happily make that downstream cast.
    If I'm nymphing I've rarely caught on the downstream dangle or swing, so by and large I don't, but it's a technique, as mentioned above, that perhaps I should learn.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Moray, Scotland

    Default Re: Downstream ok?

    There is a section of the burn I fish which is impossible from the bank and too deep to wade up.
    I’ve caught on dries and spiders with a short cast downstream and then paying out line by flicking slack onto the water for a longish drift. It’s the only way possible to fish it.
    Miss a few more than upstream though.
    Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last fish caught and the last river poisoned, will we realise, we cannot eat money.

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