Are you thinking about fishing a spring creek or a backyard brook this season? The Douglas Upstream is for you. Douglas has come out with a graphite, full flex rod with a cane feel, perfect for small stream fishing. The Upstream allows anglers to slow down, make impeccable delicate presentations, and enjoy the artwork of fly fishing. This rod combines old-fashioned feel with state-of-the-art graphite technology to create a fly rod that may just be the best graphite rod we’ve ever cast at close distances. Read on to find out what makes the Upstream so much fun to fish. Trident Fly Fishing is a full-service fly shop. We spend a lot of time testing gear and writing reviews to give you all of the tools to make your next trip a success.  We are not a blog or a review site. 100% of our funding comes from your gear purchases, so if this blog post helps you on your next fly fishing adventure, please support us by buying your gear from us.


Fit and Finish

The Upstream has a fit and finish reminiscent of old-fashioned cane fly rods. A very traditional cork reel seat with a down locking ring adds a lightweight butt section to the Upstream. The reel seat blends into a nice, comfortable cork grip. The blank of the Upstream is “cane colored”, or a light olive green. The rod also features traditional-looking stripping and snake guides. Upon first glance, any angler may mistake this rod for a bamboo fly rod from far away; don’t be fooled. The Upstream has loads of graphite technology built into it even though it boasts classic cane style.


The Upstream is strikingly light at 1.6 ounces. This low rod weight contributes to the rod’s ability to make delicate presentations at short distances. The lightweight makeup of the rod also means it’s a great option for backcountry streams, blue lining, and repetitive close distance casting.


30 feet is just about all the distance you’re going to get out of this little guy. The Upstream is not a distance rod and doesn't pretend to be.


The Upstream has superb accuracy and delicacy in close. If you’re making 10-30 foot casts on a small river or stream, this rod is hard to beat. In fact, the Upstream is one of the best, if not THE best, graphite rod we’ve ever cast at short distances. Needless to say, this sleek, slow-action graphite rod is not made for accuracy at 45+ feet. This is not a typical trout rod, so don’t expect accuracy at typical trout distances. If you’re planning on fishing a larger river where accuracy at medium distance is required, other fast-action rods certainly outperform the Upstream.

Flex and Feel

As aforementioned, the Upstream is a graphite rod with cane feel. The Upstream is also a full flex rod; this means the rod has a slow-action build and encourages tons of feedback and feel. At a mid-distance of 15 feet, the rod casts beautifully. The rod’s full flex profile is apparent at short distances, and the rod gives the angler lots and lots of feel. Some may even say this rod has soul. The flex profile and increased feel mean this rod is perfect for delicate presentations on small streams. The Upstream requires a slow casting stroke and focuses the angler on slowing things down and remaining in-tune with the rod.

Line Choice

We preferred Scientific Anglers Amplitude Trout on the Upstream. This line is made for making short casts and loads the Upstream well.


Lifetime, Original Owner Fly Rod Warranty




The Upstream is one of the most purposefully-designed rods we’ve ever fished. The rod certainly fits into a specific niche. If you find yourself navigating this niche often, however, the Upstream is arguably the best rod for the job. The Upstream is soulful, unique, and highly capable. We like this rod a lot and we think you will, too.


  • Lightweight, full flex rod profile
  • Built for delicate presentations on small water


  • Not a rod for classic trout rivers like the Madison