Wet Fly Fishing on Rivers - Around the middle of the 19th century a small book about trout fishing was published in Edinburgh. The author was W. C. Stewart; the book was entitled The Practical Angler. It may be about 150 years old, but it is still packed with advice that is as relevant today, as it was when first published.
Stewart strongly advises the 'upstream' style of wet fly fishing and so do I. So why then do so many anglers just fish 'down and across'? I love this short line upstream style, it has a high work rate and requires complete focus. However, the flies fish naturally, in a dead drift. So if you want to up your catch rate, stop facing downstream!
Another dead drift wet fly technique that I developed is 'the escalator'. It is an easy style to master, increases your search area and imparts a lift to the flies as the drift fishes out. The 'across' method should also be part of your armoury. I find this technique particularly effective on crinkly, near flat glides, when fish are looking up, eagerly knocking off duns and emergers. Here then, are the three alternatives to 'down and across'.
All three skills require some dexterity, plus an understanding of river craft. But, they're simple to master, and so much more effective. Stewart's dead drift principles are unquestionably correct. This is how you should be wet fly fishing today. The biggest problem I suspect for most anglers, will be changing the habits of a lifetime!