Photo from Dana Osthoff.

WOT 70: Rocky Mountain Golden Trout with Dana Osthoff.

In this episode we Wadeoutthere with Dana Osthoff from Madison Wisconsin.  Dana grew up in a fly fishing family and started going as a teenager with her father and brother on backpacking trips to high mountain lakes in Wind River Range of Wyoming in search of golden trout on the fly.  We discuss:

  • The challenges and rewards of chasing goldens.
  • Golden trout fly selection.
  • Where to fish for goldens.
  • Tips and techniques for the Driftless Region.

** NOTE** Podcast episode and upcoming guests appear at the end of this short article.

Subscribers have access to submit questions for future guests.

Having mentors in fly fishing helps, but at the end of the day, no one can do it for you.  Listening to Dana, it became clear that even though she grew up in a fly fishing family (her father is a published fly fishing author, fly tyer, and guide, while her brother also guides), Dana found fly fishing very much on her own terms. She truly enjoys the journey. Making mistakes, getting skunked, but also asking questions, practicing, and celebrating victories.  Dana is someone who has done this and more and it was fun to hear her share her passion for the sport.  

Perhaps one of the more challenging and rewarding trout to pursue is the golden.  I remember as a teenager backpacking into the Beartooth Mountains and deliberately passing on some of the lakes we knew held goldens.  They were brutal hikes to say the least. I am happy Dana accepted the challenge and chased those beautiful fish, and I am grateful to her for sharing her knowledge and experiences on the podcast.

From hiking into the mountains after goldens to committing to hit her home waters in the Driftless Region consistently, Dana’s attitude in fly fishing is a reminder that putting in the work will make you a better fly fisher.

Key Takeaways.

  • Sinking lines work well in mountain lakes for deeper water.
  • Sight fishing is more productive when targeting golden trout.
  • A 9 ft 6 wt rod works well on alpine lakes for golden trout.
  • Try using three rods between two people with floating and sinking line. Set up the third one with what is working once you figure it out.
  • The big golden trout locations will vary from lake to lake and year to year.
  • Ledges between shallow and deep parts of the lake are good places to target goldens.
  • When fishing deeper water, cast far out, let the line and fly sink, and then strip it in.
  • Casting from boulders and rocks along the shore can help you reach the deep water.
  • The Driftless Region in Wisconsin is a “massive network of small streams.”  
  • Casting accuracy can really improve in the Driftless Region because there is a low margin for error on some of the very small streams.
  • Pass up mucky or slow moving water in the Driftless.
  • Look for fish in riffles, back eddies, and corner pools in the Driftless.
  • “No Lining” can be very productive in the Driftless.  It is a technique of having no line on the water and moving the fly along with the water 
  • Big pools sometimes get big streamers.
  • Hopper / cricket droppers work great in the summer in the Driftless.

Learn More.

If you want to find out more about Dana and her fly fishing journey follow her on Instagram at: @danaosthoff.flyfishing

If you want more information on some of the topics we discussed try reading these blog posts from Wadeoutthere:

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | The Orange Scud Theory.

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Fly Selection. Share the Work.

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Six Techniques for Fishing Small Streams.

READ: WADEOUTTHERE | Seven Reasons to Fish Small Streams.

Upcoming Podcast Guests.

  • Josh Miller – Euro Nymphing and competition fly fishing
  • Shyanne Orvis – Colorado
  • Allison Helen Hendricks – Wyoming | Traveling guide | Casting
  • Rachel Leinweber – Anglers Covey Fly Shop | South Platte River, CO
  • Cameron Cushman – Wild Trout | Veterans
  • Matt Wagner – The Driftless Region
  • Marina Gibson – Fly fishing in the UK
  • Chad Miller – Smallmouth
  • Colton McLaren – Colorado River
  • Anthony Jenca – Arizona | Eastern Sierra hiking

Subscribers – Ask a Question on the Podcast.

If you have a question for an upcoming guest, I would love to hear from you. I will ask questions from Wadeoutthere subscribers towards the end of the conversation during “Wadeoutthere Wants to Know.”

If you enjoy the Wadeoutthere Fly Fishing Podcast, and want to help it grow, please leave a rating and review.

I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed talking with Dana.


Subscribe to Wadeoutthere for free and never miss an article.


Jason Shemchuk

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