Conventional wisdom says that if you’re fishing a creek for trout, you should cast your lure upstream and retrieve diagonally downstream. And there’s a good reason for that: trout are often watching upstream for their next meal to swim by.
However, there are many benefits to casting downstream when creek fishing, and in our experience a hungry trout will strike your bait just as aggressively regardless of which direction you cast.
In fact, we’ve caught just as many fish casting downstream. Here are four good reasons why you might want to try casting the opposite way next time you’re stomping through a stream near you.
Better action on spinnerbaits
When you cast downstream, you are retrieving against more water. That makes for a huge difference in vibration levels on spinnerbaits. The blade spins faster and harder, which disturbs more water and flashes more light – the whole reason you throw a spinner in the water to begin with.
Sometimes the blades on the best spinners won’t start rotating when you cast upstream and retrieve downstream, but even the worst spinners works well when casting downstream and retrieving upstream.
Your lure is in the water longer
When you cast upstream, your lure is carried back by the water immediately and you have to reel quickly. When you cast downstream, your lure coasts with the water and you often don’t have to reel until you want to.
That means your bait is in the water longer, you have to make less casts, and it’s easier to guide your lure through different areas of the water where fish might be. Pitch and flip casting are also valuable if you aren’t working with much water in the creek you’re fishing.
Less snags & easier to get free
Since your lure is riding against the current, it stays higher in the water so your hook doesn’t sink between rocks as often. And when you are snagged, the water is pushing against the lure so you can sometimes just loosen your drag or release some line to get reeling again.
The one exception is trying to reel your lure up spots where the water drops off into a pool – the lure will often get wedged between rocks on the way up. No problem: just approach the pool before you cast.
There are more fish upstream
If your creek is being stocked with fish, they are being introduced to the water toward the start of the stream. And if you’re fishing downstream, you can start upstream where the water is colder, which is where trout are more likely to be during hotter times of the year.
Depending on the species, trout are more apt to bite when the water temperature reaches the mid-40 on up to around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Not sure if today is a good day for fishing? Here’s all the info you need to hit the water.
Casting downstream? You bet.
Fishing downstream is particularly effective in areas where the water is wider and shallower, but where there is still enough rock structure for trout to rest – places that have more water pockets than pools, but not quite rapids.
If you’re standing mid-stream, you can coast your lure from pocket to pocket in fewer casts than if you were fishing upstream, which means you can fish more water in less time, and often with less effort. Not efficient enough for you? Stop reeling almost entirely with flip casting.
Great… Now how about some creeks near me for fishing?