Expert Review: Douglas Upstream Fly Rod

This review is my honest opinion of the rod which I purchased with my own money in March of 2022.

The Douglas Upstream Fly Rod.

Photo courtesy of Danny Salinas

Published on

About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the rod which I purchased with my own money in March of 2022.

My take

The Douglas Upstream is great for anglers looking for a premium, ultralight, small water presentation fly rod. Available in super packable 2, 4, and 6-piece models, this is tailor made for presenting dry flies to eager fish.

About my rod

  • Model: Douglas Upstream 3734
  • Rod Length: 7’3”
  • Rod Weight: 3wt
  • Rod Pieces: 4-Piece
  • Rod Material: Graphite

About me

  • Preferred fishing styles: All around, but can’t beat catching a fish on a dry fly.
  • Experience: 10 years

Test conditions

  • When I bought this: March 2022
  • Reel Paired with Rod: Orvis Battenkill
  • Line Paired Rod: Orvis Fine Line
  • Days tested: 10
  • Waters I’ve used it on: Small rivers and creeks
  • Species targeted with rod: Sunfish and bass

How it performs

Casting Ease

What I was looking for

I was on the search for a new ultralight 3wt rod for a trip to Colorado later this summer fishing for Brookie, and I wanted something I could also use for panfish on our local creeks and rivers in Texas.

Why I chose this gear

I ended up buying the Douglas Upstream 7’3” 4pc 3wt because of how lightweight it is and how it reminds me of the slow action glass rods I like. Think of the Redington Trout or a Echo River Glass rod as far as action, but in a much lighter setup.

The Douglas Upstream Fly Rod.

Photo courtesy of Danny Salinas

What I love about it

  • Quality: This is a super lightweight graphite rod with a traditional all-cork handle and reel seat that feels solid in hand.
  • Versatility: I bought this rod as a specific small water rod where I’ll mainly be casting small dry flies. This won’t be the best for nymphing or throwing streamers, it's a bit niche.
  • Use Case: This is a great dry fly rod for small streams. I’ve been packing it with me on my work travels to hit up small rivers and creeks to target panfish and the occasional bass. I’ll be taking it to Colorado this summer for small dries on small water for trout as well.
  • Action:
    • Ease of casting: This is a slow action rod, reminiscent of a slow action glass rod, so users will need to slow their stroke down.
    • Recover rate: There is a little bit of a wobble after casting but nothing out of the ordinary.
    • Power: This rod is a full flex rod and can handle some bigger fish, but being a 3wt it’s not made for big fish.
    • Line speed: Slow and delicate is the name of this rod, don’t expect high line speeds.
    • Ideal casting distance: This is best for a 10 to 30 ft cast, anything above it is a plus.
    • Accuracy: The rod is super accurate up close, but as it gets further out it starts to lose some accuracy.
    • Delicacy of presentation: This is where this rod excels as it is made for presenting delicate dry flies with ease.
  • Weight: This rod is a 3wt rod that is best suited for small trout and panfish.
  • Literal Weight: This rod is one of the lightest I’ve ever had at 1.4oz, great for a long day of casting.
  • Length: I have a 7’3” 4 piece model. It’s great for small water and where there might be too much cover on the banks, requiring a shorter rod.
  • Sensitivity: This is a super-sensitive rod.
  • Grip: This rod comes with a reverse wells grip that is comfortable and won’t tire your hand out after a day of fishing.
  • Build: These rods are super lightweight and come with up to 6pcs. I went with a more traditional 4pc model.
  • Aesthetics: It’s a vintage Tonkin Bamboo Color with a simple all-cork reel seat and handle and comes with an aluminum rod tube.
  • Warranty: Douglas has an original owner lifetime warranty on all of their fly rods. This warranty covers damage to the rod from any cause but excludes normal wear and tear or lost sections. Douglas will fix or replace the rod for a $35 handling fee.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Versatility: This is not going to be the most versatile rod that does everything. This is a niche small water rod meant to handle dry flies and short distances.

Favorite moment with this gear

I don’t have a specific favorite moment with this rod yet, but what I do love about this rod is that it’s super lightweight and fits easily in my suitcase, so I can easily take it with me to fish while I’m traveling for work.

Value for the money vs. other options

There has been a comeback lately of slow action rods, and at its weight of 1.4oz., the price of this rod can’t be beaten. I don't know of any other rod that is that lightweight. The next closest rod with similar action is the Redington Classic Trout Rod, coming in at 2.3oz.

Final verdict

For those seeking a super lightweight and packable fly rod that is going to be their small stream rod, look no further than the Douglas Upstream. This 3wt 4pc 7’3” model weighs in at only 1.4oz and presents dry flies like a dream, making even the smallest fish seem like a trophy.

Selling Douglas on
Douglas Upstream Fly Rod
From $439.00
Meet the author
Fly Fishing Expert Danny Salinas
Danny Salinas
Fly Fishing Expert
Danny here! How can I help?
Like this article?
Share it with your network

Written By
I spent 10 years chasing the music dream playing bass for Cody Johnson, Josh Ward, Clayton Gardner and others, but most recently my career has been focused on the information technology realm as an auditor and consultant. While I do not travel nearly as much as I did when I was a musician, I do stil...

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Read Next

New and Noteworthy