Guiding Policy
and General Information

Weekend or Weekday?
I guide on weekdays and weekends. Weekdays see less fishing pressure, but if weekends work best for you, don’t hesitate to book weekend outings. I know plenty of good water off the beaten path.

Trip Planning

When you book your outing we’ll make a general plan. A few days before your outing, we’ll talk by phone to firm up details.

If you want to fish a specific stream, I’m good with that (unless fishing conditions break poorly for that water). Generally, it’s to your advantage if we wait to select a specific water until the day of the outing. That gives us the flexibility to adjust to the conditions at hand. And it lets us take advantage of what I’ve seen and learned recently. Most days we make several stops and fish more than one stream.

Fishing Gear
Most anglers use their own rods and reels, but you’re welcome to fish my outfits. In the Driftless I primarily fish 4-weight rods, but most 3-weight to 5- weight rods are suitable.

I furnish all terminal tackle, including flies, leaders/tippets, and strike indicators. Many of my most productive flies for the Driftless are my own patterns or significant variations, but feel free to tote and try any of your own flies or rigs.

Wading Gear
Bring your own wading gear. I suggest chest waders or waist-high wading pants, as hip boots are easily ‘breached’ if you sink into soft bottom. In warm weather I often wet wade (in wading boots with good foot support and flats-style pants tucked into neoprene wading socks).

Bring a raincoat that can double as a windbreaker in cool weather. I suggest long-sleeve shirts/jackets in muted tones and a hat that shades your face, neck and ears.

Bring and wear polarized sunglasses. They greatly enhance your ability to see fish and bottom contours. And they shield your eyes while fly-casting.

Before we meet you should purchase a current Wisconsin fishing license and the Inland Trout Stamp. Wisconsin licenses can be purchased online or from many business outlets. If you buy your license at a business, ask for a copy of the Wisconsin Trout Fishing Regulations and Guide, a handy reference that maps all trout streams by regulation category.

Food and Beverages
Anglers furnish their own food and drink (not padding my guiding fee with food charges helps keep my guiding rates extremely affordable). Keeping meals quick and simple also keeps us on the water during prime fishing times.

Lodging/Camping/Dining A wide variety of accommodations are available throughout the Driftless. I’m happy to suggest motels, B&B’s, rental cabins, group accommodations with cooking/ meeting facilities, campgrounds, and eating options.

Guided Trip Deposits
A deposit of $50 is required to reserve each guiding date for you or your group. Mail the deposit check or money order, payable to Rich Osthoff, at the address below. Since I don’t currently accep credit cards, I may waive the deposit requirement if a date is booked on short notice.
Payment in full by cash or check, is due at end of fishing. Sorry, I do not currently accept credit cards.

Cancellation/Refund Policy
If you cancel a date, I will refund or credit your deposit if I’m able to book your original date with another angler, so please let me know quickly if a conflict develops for you.

Anglers who elect to cancel at any time for any reason do not incur any charges beyond the $50 deposit required to hold each date.

If the angler cancels and I do not book another angler for that date, I reserve the right to retain the $50 deposit (this policy is primarily intended to discourage short-notice cancellations due to moderately inclement weather). If I’ve already traveled to the meeting area or I’ve stayed overnight to meet an angler, then I’ve already invested time and incurred expenses, and I reserve the right to retain the deposit. In the event that you and I travel to the area and discover that overnight or early-morning rains have muddied most streams, our best option is to check several streams for fishable water (if we do not find fishable water, the anglers is not charged anything beyond the deposit). I’ve seen just this scenario play out great for anglers when we suddenly hit upon a fishable stream where trout are gorging in response to rain.

If it is apparent a day or two in advance that weather/water conditions are likely to be poor, then it’s best to touch base before you or I travel to the meeting area. We’ll make a mutual decision whether to fish, cancel and refund your deposit, or schedule a different date.

If I cancel a date (extremely rare), I’ll notify you as far in advance as possible and I’ll refund your deposit (or apply your deposit to a different date, if you prefer).

Keep in mind that some rain and turbidity often make for aggressive trout and great fishing in the Driftless. So, don’t let a moderately rainy forecast keep you home, especially if you’ve booked a multi-day trip. Even when the region takes a real gully washer, small headwaters drop and clear quickly, and some streams usually escape the brunt of the storm.

For Reservations and Information contact:

Rich Osthoff
N6868 Sandstone Drive
Mauston, WI 53948

Home Phone: (608) 847-5192
Cell Phone: (608) 547-9075