How to Flyfish Upstream or Downstream

by Robin Reichert
Fly fishing is a sport that the whole family can enjoy.

Fly fishing is a sport that the whole family can enjoy.

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Fly fishing is a popular method of fishing in streams and lakes that requires a fly rod and the use of a special casting technique. The fly fish line is thin, lightweight and strong. The artificial lures used to fly fish are designed to resemble insects that the fish feed on naturally. Upstream fishing means casting a line ahead of an oncoming stream and landing the fly ahead of a fish that's facing away from the angler. Downstream fishing entails reeling in a line in the direction of the flow of the water ahead of fish.

Items you will need

  • Fly fishing rod
  • Fly lures
  • Waders
Step 1

Put on your waders and enter the stream either upstream or downstream from the position of the fish. Release the drag on your line. Cast your fly high into the air and back over your shoulder. Whip the line forward using your forearm and use the end of the fishing rod to propel the fly forward and into the water.

Step 2

Fly fish downstream by taking a position upstream from where the fish are congregated. Go far enough upstream so your presence in the water will not spook the fish who are facing your position. Cast your line downstream, then reel in your fly at various speeds until you find the pace that attracts the fish.

Step 3

Cast your fly upstream so it lands far enough ahead of where the fish are gathered--facing away from your position--so they're not startled by the fly. Try to keep your line high to prevent it from hitting the water where the fish are gathered.

Step 4

Cast a short line when fly fishing upstream, because the fly will return toward you with the flow of the water. Reel in your line as the fly flows downstream toward you. Allow the water to carry the fly downstream toward your position in the stream.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be respectful of other fly fishers and avoid getting too close to their chosen fishing spot.
  • Fish will become wary if they spot you upstream. Enter the water slowly and avoid splashing or making unnecessary movements.
  • When fishing downstream, the fish will usually be facing you. Be aware of your shadow and any shadows on the water that your line or fly may create as you cast. Shadows can startle the fish and cause them to disperse to safe cover.
  • Fly fish in an area that's free of low hanging branches that can snag your line.
  • Be especially careful when fly fishing to avoid stabbing yourself with the fish hook.

About the Author

Robin Reichert is a certified nutrition consultant, certified personal trainer and professional writer. She has been studying health and fitness issues for more than 10 years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health from Clayton College.

Photo Credits

  • Thinkstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images