Colorado Rocky Mountain Adventure Update

What a few days it has been for us! We just hiked out of the backcountry on the east side of Rocky Mountain National Park. On Thursday we woke up, made up some delicious breakfast burritos, then broke camp and packed our backpacks in preparation for our hike into the backcountry. Our destination for the day was Fern Lake, a beautiful alpine lake situated 3.7 miles and a 1250 vertical foot climb from our jumping off point. Needless to say this was not a simple jaunt in the park. I am proud to report that our guys crushed this difficult hike and we reached the lake in just under four hours. After quickly setting up camp, most of the crew set about fishing and were rewarded with gorgeous greenback cutthroat trout, the state fish of Colorado and a fish that has found itself on the threatened species list due to habitat loss and invasive species. We fished nearly until dark at which point w retired to camp to feast on some chicken teriyaki stir fry. After dinner it was time to crawl into our tents and sleeping bags for some well deserved sleep. We decided to let the guys sleep in the next morning, and those who decided to rise early got to do some more fishing. After an oatmeal breakfast, we packed our day bags for a quick climb up to Odessa Lake, another alpine lake situated in a stunning cirque surrounded by soaring peaks. This lake harbors some larger fish than Fern, and we managed to land some cutthroat in the 14-15 inch range. Unfortunately such beautiful surroundings mean that we were exposed to the wind, and boy did it start blowing. Needless to say wind is not very conducive to fly fishing, so we retreated down to the more protected Fern Lake. It was a good call as we spent the rest of the day reeling in hundreds of greenbacks. We capped off the evening with some of Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions famous backcountry burritos before hitting the hay. Today we woke up a bit earlier, had breakfast, then broke down camp and headed back towards civilization. The hike out was a breeze with lighter packs and nothing but downhill, not to mention the motivation of a hot shower. The guys crushed the hike out in under 2 hours and we ate our lunches at the trailhead before piling into the van to drive through RMNP. Even though it is a road, Trail Ridge Road through the park is not to be missed. A majority of the road is above timberline and offers stunning views of some of the parks highest peaks as well as the impressive Never Summer range to the west. This afternoon we will be showering, doing laundry, and resupplying for the last few days of the trip. Tomorrow we will be doing our service project then prepping for our day of float fishing by getting used to the much bigger water of the Colorado River. Look for the next update on July 3 when we head to the airport, and until then… Tight Lines!


Charlie Parr

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

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

(828) 577-8204