Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide in Westby, Wisconsin

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PJ's Guide Service

Orvis-Endorsed Fly-Fishing Guide

Phone icon630-441-3645 Email iconpjguides@gmail.com Link iconpjguideservice.com
E9036 Tri-State Rd
Westby, WI 54667

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The Story

Choose Orvis-endorsed guide PJ Smith for your fly-fishing adventure in Wisconsin:

“Hello, I'm PJ Smith and I've been fly fishing for over 25 years. I learned to fish from my grandfather and uncle in the farm ponds on my grandparents' farm, and my true passion for fly fishing developed not long after. Once I took my first “trout school” I was hooked; I have spent much of the last 20 years exploring and fishing the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. It's an incredible place with the largest concentration of coldwater streams in the world, and the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources, Trout Unlimited, and several local conservation groups have worked together for years on stream restoration projects to enhance the fishery. As a result, there is exceptional habitat for both insect life and fish, resulting in more fish per mile in our streams than ever before. I became a full-time guide to share this fantastic fishery with anglers from across the country. When we fish together, I want you to catch native brook trout, experience our beautiful scenery, and most importantly have fun. If it isn't fun, then why do it? I am proud to be an Orvis-endorsed Guide.”

Gear Recommendations:

  • Trout fishing: 3, 4 or 5 wt rod (7½-9 ft)
  • Smallmouth bass: 6, 7 or 8 wt (9 ft)
  • Musky/pike: 9, 10, 11 or 12 wt (9 or 9 ½ ft)
  • Hip or chest waders are recommended. If you choose to wet wade, it is best to have closed toed shoes and long, quick-dry pants.
  • Long-sleeved shirt (protection from the sun and wild parsnip)
  • Must have: Polarized Sunglasses (eye protection)
  • Rain gear
  • Wading staff

Additional gear list: A Wisconsin fishing license with an inland trout stamp, a refillable water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Fly selection is ever changing throughout the season. We will be happy to make more specific suggestions, closer to your scheduled guide date.
Upon booking, we will send you our recommended gear list.

What to bring (additional):

A camera to record moments from your experience. A fishing journal to note water conditions, temperature, flies used, fish caught.


We fly fish from January through November. We fish for trout (mostly brook and brown trout) from the first full weekend in January until the trout season closes on October 15. In the heat of summer, when the spring creeks become too warm to fish for trout, we'll transition to smallmouth bass fishing. Smallmouth bass, bluegills, pike, and musky are pursued successfully from May to October in both lakes and rivers.


  • Native brook trout
  • Brown trout
  • Smallmouth bass
  • Musky
  • Pike


The Driftless Area of the Midwest covers 24,000 square miles and includes elevations ranging from 603 to 1,719 feet. The region lies in southwestern Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota, northeastern Iowa, and the extreme northwestern corner of Illinois. This area escaped the flattening effects of glaciation (drift) during the last ice age and is consequently characterized by steep, forested ridges, deeply carved river valleys, and karst geology distinguished by spring-fed waterfalls and cold-water trout streams. This provides us with an exceptional trout fishery: 2,900 trout streams stretching more than 13,000 miles. Ecologically, the Driftless Area's flora and fauna are more closely related to those of the Great Lakes region and New England than those of the broader Midwest and central Plains. Nature abounds in the area, with trillium and fiddlehead ferns in early spring and sighting of bald eagles, sandhill cranes, great blue herons, mink, fox, and much more. In the fall, watch as the maple forests turn the landscape into beautiful shades of red, orange, and yellow.

Typical Weather:

Wisconsin offers ideal climate for year-round outdoor activities. Fall is a favorite time of year to experience the beauty that Wisconsin provides. Winters vary in temperature (averaging 0-40 degrees F). We experience moderate spring and fall temps and fairly mild summers.

Heavy rains in our area can change stream conditions. It doesn’t always mean, however, that we can’t fish. From my experience it may mean traveling to get into another valley to find productive water.


Rates start from: $450 for walk-and-wade trips
You can find all pricing information at: www.pjguideservice.com

Gratuities and a Wisconsin fishing license are not included in the guide fee.

What Is Provided:

We can provide most fly-fishing gear, except waders and rain gear.

We offer full day (eight hour) guided walk-and-wade or drift boat trips.
During full-day trips, lunch with local deli meats, cheeses, vegetables, dessert, and beverages is provided.

Additional fee-based services include: Casting lessons with a FFI Certified Casting Instructor, beginner fly-fishing classes and advanced on-stream fly-fishing instruction.

Where are you located? How do I get there?

We are located a two-hour drive from Madison, WI and 45 minutes from LaCrosse, WI. Both communities have local airports for those flying to southwest WI. Car rentals will get you to our location in Westby or we can arrange a shuttle to pick you up.

Public or private? How do I know if I'm trespassing?

Stream access laws for trout fishing and maps are available on the WI Department of Natural Resources Website. Navigability determines whether a waterway is public or private. Navigable streams are public waterways. Because they are public, you may use them for fishing provided public access is available (for example at a road bridge) or you have permission from the land owner. As long as you keep your feet wet, you may walk along the bed of the stream and fish in any navigable stream.

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