Custom Montana Road Trip Update 1


Hey Y’all!,

The Road Trip is off to a great start! We are having an awesome time getting to know this squad and showing them around southwest Montana! Everyone arrived midday Tuesday and we quickly set up camp near the Madison in Ennis after a visit to Fin & Feather in Bozeman for flies and licenses. After a few intense games of Can Jam and some intrasquad wiffle ball with the Yellowstone expedition, we had dinner and strategized our next day of fishing.

Yesterday we decided to spend the day on the Madison at the famous Three Dollar Bridge. We got there fairly early and split into groups of 3 to explore upriver and downriver. The fishing was good, everyone hooked several trout and whitefish, and a few nice 16-19” trout were landed. The trout on the Madison are strong and smart, and while some of the larger ones got away, the group batting average was north of .500 for the first day. Once it got hot, we drove to Cliff Lake, a beautiful turquoise blue glacial lake that had some of the clearest water we’ve ever seen. After a swim, we went back to camp to grab fishing gear and dinner. We hit an evening caddis hatch back at three dollar, and some very nice fish were landed! The group took a little longer to fall asleep than expected, so we slept in a bit the next day and headed to a smaller creek near Ennis.  While the water was significantly smaller, the fish were not! We landed 5-6 browns over 20”, and I witnessed one of the largest rainbows I’ve ever seen straighten a hook next to the net after a battle of over 4 minutes. If we hadn’t landed a 20+ brown shortly after, I might have been losing sleep tonight. It felt wrong to have such a great day and not celebrate in some way, so we stopped for ice cream at a local homemade ice cream spot in the old mining town of Virginia City on our way back. Depending on how late dinner is, we may hit another evening hatch on the Madison.

Given today’s success, it seems foolish to not try to repeat at the same creek tomorrow. Hopefully, we can have some of the same luck we had today and everyone can catch an 18+“ wild trout. After that, we will fish the Madison again to prepare the kids for their float on the 11th. This trip is flying by! On the final night, we will have our banquet dinner in Bozeman and spend the night in the pools at Bozeman Hot Springs. Talk to y’all in a few days!

Tight lines,
Ethan, Connor, and Mack

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