Minnesota Canoe Expedition - Update 2

Hi families,

We have been tearing up the rivers these past couple days! Three days in and 30 river miles down with countless fish in the net and a few in the fryer. Our western trips are pretty packed with wildlife, but it's arguably even better here! We’ve spotted bald eagles, white tails crossing the river, a wolf carcass, momma black bear with two cubs, and strutting turkeys. The boys have been nearly as excited about these sightings as they have been about the fishing.

On Monday, we floated the St Croix with a drift boat, two rafts, and three kayaks for five miles. Fishing was on and off with high water, but it was a good learning experience for the boys to get ready for the rest of the week. It gave us a chance to practice casts, try different techniques, and tie on a lot of flies. While the fishing might have been a little slow, smallmouth bass, pike, and the elusive musky all made an appearance on our first outing! After pulling out of the Croix we headed back to our Minnesota basecamp where the group worked together to cook up a big stir fry. It was delicious! We sat around the campfire, caught up on stories from the day and roasted marshmallows for dessert. The guys were clearly worn out, but you could still feel the excitement about the day and the days ahead.

We woke up early for a 12 mile float down the Snake River, a tributary to the St Croix. Notably smaller than the Croix, it had some very fun class I and II rapids. The fishing was epic! Cast after cast, the boys reeled in quality fish and we were able to bag two walleye and a catfish for dinner that night. A handful of guys put the rods away to take in the scenery and wildlife after getting their fill of top water and streamer eats. We were greeted with a wailing downpour when we got back to camp. Undettered, the boys cooked some excellent fish and beef tacos under a tarp shelter. We ended the day with full stomachs and smallmouth on our minds.

Today we woke up early with a plan to run the Snake once more. Some of the boys looked forward to running the whitewater sections with style, surfing waves with all the fishing gear and rods in tow. Weather today has been the best it has been all week, which is a nice change from the soaking rain. Again the fishing was lights out with multiple PB’s making it to the net. The float was peaceful at the end of the day and the mosquitos were not quite as bad as they have been. We are looking forward to our last day fishing tomorrow on the Kettle and then we will head back to Minneapolis and sneak in some urban carp fishing before preparing for their flights back home. It's awesome watching a group of guys come together, get to know each other, and connect. Looking forward to what is to come.


Tight lines,


Minnesota crew

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