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Old 11-30-2014, 03:08 PM
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Default Going downstream or upstream

I've often heard that people tend to work downstream when fishing nymphs or wets and upstream when fishing dries. What advantage would going downstream have when fishing nymphs and wets? I can see that moving with the current would be easier and less noisy but it would also seem to put you right in the fishes' line of sight. Even if there is an advantage going downstream, wouldn't that advantage hold true regardless of whether or not one was fishing on the surface or not?

On a related note, is there any kind of etiquette regarding two fly fishers meeting when one is moving downstream and one moving upstream? Do they just pass each other on opposite sides of the stream? Does one have 'rights' over the other?

I'm an avid sailor and in sailing there are rules governing about any kind of meeting imaginable. Starboard tack has rights over port tack, leeward over windward, the boat being pass by the boat doing the passing, etc.

I'm just asking as I want to make sure I do the right thing in any such meeting.
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Old 11-30-2014, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

Just my 2 cents so take it with a grain of salt. I prefer moving up stream against the current because I'm not kicking a bunch of sediment into the faces of the fish I'm trying to catch. That being said, I typically fish back down stream on the way back to my car and it's an easier walk after a long day of wading if I'm traveling with the current. I have also found it to be less productive probably because of the sediment I'm kicking up. Also I'm not an acoustic specialist but always felt sound and any vibrations would travel further down stream with the current.

I believe the person traveling upstream has the right of way over the person moving down stream but could be wrong.
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Old 11-30-2014, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

Quote:
Originally Posted by spinsheet View Post
What advantage would going downstream have when fishing nymphs and wets?
The reason to fish downstream on nymphs/wets is to keep the line as taut as possible and to take advantage of the swing at the end of the drift. Casting upstream leaves a lot of slack in the line which is good for getting a dead drift on a dry. You can see a dry get taken even on subtle takes. On a nymph/wet, the fly is hidden. Some takes are so subtle you won't feel them. You want to keep the line as slack free as possible. I usually cast my nymphs/wets on a quarter cast down stream and let it drift(swing) back into the current. You'd be surprised how many fish yu get on the swing. Just my 2c.

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Old 12-01-2014, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

That makes a lot of sense, I never considered the issue of keeping the line taut. I've always fished nymphs going upstream, I might have to try it downstream and see what kind of difference in make but it certainly does make sense the way you explain it.
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Old 12-01-2014, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

If I am fishing my way downstream I try to stay out of the middle of the creek or river. Look for the seams, the areas you know fish should be and figure out how to get to them without sullying the water below you. When fishing properly down a stream you can be sure that the fish will see your fly and not your line first.

If you are working your way down and see someone coming up take notice to how he is fishing. Is he walking up the center of the creek? if so then you can take fishing that area off your list but focus on the sides where he hasn't spooked everything. In any event running into someone coming up when you're going down means it is time for a break. Finding a spot to sit for a while and considering whether or not it will be worth fishing down is in order. Ask the person coming up where they started, this will tell you how far down to walk before beginning to fish again.

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Old 12-01-2014, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

I know this is a difficult question to answer but about how long does it take fish to settle after someone has fished that area? I realize that it would depend on lots of things but is there a general guideline that might be useful?
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Old 12-01-2014, 06:40 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

I have to use the best guess system on this one.............

It's going to depend on the individual fish; if it is a wild fish and someone walked up to it sending it running for cover it may not feed until it's totally dark. Stocked fish who are used to seeing human activity get spooked by it but also associate it with food so they may rebound more quickly. I have seen stocked trout feed while people were surrounding them.

A stream born trout has avoided many threats if it has grown to be a foot or larger. They tend to take things seriously when something out of the ordinary happens.

here in Alaska I try to avoid running through water we intend to trout fish with the boat or boats. Still I'm sure those fish hear and feel the boats and know something isn't quite right. generally after half an hour of calm you can begin swinging them up with the flies. However, if you run right through them you are done maybe until the next day.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:23 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

Most of the time, I fish nymphs quartering or directly upstream - like my son is doing here:

Click the image to open in full size.

Learn how to strip your line at a reasonable speed, to reduce the amount of slack line on the water and stay in touch with your nymphs using the non-casting hand. (Make a loop with the index finger of the rod hand).Learn the tuck cast...

Nymphing Tactics

This is just one of a number of techniques I learned and use for nymphing. It is a good one to start with:

Click the image to open in full size.

Here, I am facing directly upstream...I break the water down into grids, move slowly from the near to the far bank and work the water directly in front of me before placing my flies further upstream using a water haul...


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Last edited by planettrout; 12-01-2014 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 12-01-2014, 07:27 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

I'm actually using a tenkara rod so keeping the line taut and off the water shouldn't be that much of an issue for me. Working upstream might be better for the way I fish.
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Old 12-01-2014, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Going downstream or upstream

I have no problem moving upstream in/near the water while fishing, unless I approach a back eddy that I think the trout will be backwards in. If I have to move downstream, I tend to walk around out of sight of the water to the bottom of a promising looking stretch, and then working my way up. However, I can say that many times I have fished and moved upstream working for 15 yards or so, caught fish, and then shuffled straight back down to the bottom to repeat, and caught fish.
As far as trying to catch fish upstream or downstream, have you tried a quartering upstream cast, raising your rod arm and tip to its peak and rotating your body as your fly is even with you, and then lowering it slowly and rotating more so that you are getting maximum drift time that ends with a downstream low pointing rod tip that lifts/swings your nymph?
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