Berkshires to Beaches Expedition - Update 2

Greetings from the Berkshires!

The only thing hotter than the weather has been the fishing. After our introductory meeting with the group, we woke up with the birds and morning sun, loading up the van with kids and a canoe trailer to head to our first day of fishing. Canoeing along the Housatonic River was such a treat. Slow moving water made for easy paddling, while the sun made it easy for sight fishing. Multiple pike were caught on explosive eats as kids added new species to their catch list. This was a great time for the crew to get to know one another. 

For lunch, we stopped by the riverbank and ate yummy sandwiches under an old willow tree as we shared stories from the first half of the day. After recharging in the shade, ample hydration, and a short dip in the river, the group floated on in pairs of two down the beautiful stretch of river. We caught big smallmouth during the float to cap off a full and exciting day on the water. 

With juicy burgers in hand and over a campfire that the boys put together, we nominated our first Leader of the Day. Being able to reflect on our gratefuls and challenges of the day around the fire is one of our favorite trip pastimes; the kids seem to be loving it as well. The boys headed off to bed early after a long day as barred owls hooted and fireflies danced us to sleep. 

This day marked our first Morning Mindfulness class. Hearing the birds chirp and the river’s song made the sunny patch of camp a perfect setting. After a hearty breakfast of sausage, hashbrowns, and eggs, we held an entomology class in the river to teach the kids about aquatic bug life, with a focus on “matching the hatch.” Later on, the boys opted to double down on the beautiful stretch of river right near camp and fish for the hungry smallmouth bass that lay behind the exposed rocks. This also provided the crew a great chance to implement their newfound entomology skills. To cool off from the heat, the group went for a swim, taking time to enjoy the benefits of living right on a river. As the sun set behind the pine trees, the boys caught trout and smallmouth right before transitioning to a chicken quesadilla dinner around the fire. 

It's been wonderful to see how well the boys have been getting along. Their diverse stories, experiences, age groups, and respective homes have created a crew of diverse thinkers that have been both respectful to one another and excited for what each day brings. 

The next morning, we woke up early for a full day of trout fishing on the famous, yet technical and challenging, Farmington River. A short ride after a quick cereal breakfast was made even shorter thanks to our group’s playlist. The meandering, cold tailwater river held beautiful wild brown trout that many members of the group were lucky to hook and land. It is so cool to already see an tremendous improvement in casting, in addition to the growth of these kids as calm, confident, and independent anglers. 

Back at camp we went over knots and saltwater casting techniques to prepare us for our upcoming adventures in the prized striper waters of Massachusetts. The full moon lit up our faces as we enjoyed sausages roasted over the fire for dinner. The group went to bed early to rest up for next day’s big drive across the entire state of Massachusetts.

Following a wakeup with the sun, the group packed up camp in record time, enjoying bagels and one last morning on the river. Along our drive we stopped at Concord Outfitters to load up on flies before we hit the flats, and at the laundry mat to have fresh clothes for the next session of the trip. Once camp was set up at Nickerson State Park in Brewster Massachusetts, the kids walked down to the glacially carved kettle ponds to fish for bass and perch as the sun fell over the beautiful Cape scenery. 

News Flash: your kids are awesome! They have been a joy to get to know, have been loving hanging out with one another, and have been handling the fishing like champions. Over the next few days, the boys will be visiting North America’s largest tidal flat system: the Brewster Flats. As the stripers hunt on the incoming tide, we will be hunting for them on the fly rod, predominantly sight fishing. This is arguably the most rewarding and satisfying fishing we will be doing on the trip, and the boys are more than amped to get after it. During the time off the water we will be hosting our annual Kettle Pond Fishing Derby, playing games of soccer and ultimate frisbee, enjoying the famous Cape Cod sunsets, evening trips to get ice cream, and relaxing on the peaceful beaches. 



Good times and tight lines,

Max, Leo, and Jack 

Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions was started in 2010 as a graduate thesis for my Master's Degree in Environmental Conservation Education at NYU. The operating premise was simple - by coupling amazing wilderness fly fishing camps for teens with environmental education and service learning we can help inspire future generations of fly fishing conservationists. We have been growing our unique list of trips and experiences ever since.

When it comes to choosing a summer program for your teen the options are endless. For the teen who loves to fish, be outside, and has a strong sense of adventure we have made the choice easy. We are the leader in teen fly fishing adventures and are dedicated to providing the best backcountry fly fishing experience with opportunities for teens to engage in leadership training, community service, and backcountry camping.


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Will Lillard, Founder/Director/Guide

Contact Us

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Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions
2540 King Road
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

(828) 577-8204