RMNP Greenback Cutthroat

Our Rocky Mountain Explorer trip returned from our first backcountry section. We were treated to some awesome fishing and great weather!

Ready to hit the trail!

Ready to hit the trail!" />

After a 4 mile hike in we set up camp for three nights on the banks of Fern Lake. After setting up our tents and a quick lunch we set out on the lake with our fly rods in hand. Within the first five minutes of fishing the lake we were catching beautiful Greenback Cutthroat. During our first afternoon of fishing the lake we had all caught one of these rare beauties. Luckily for us the afternoon storms blew over our head without a drop of rain, so we ate a early dinner of buffalo chicken mac & cheese and set back out for some evening fishing. After dinner mayflies were hatching in epic numbers. The fish had so many natural flies to choose from that “matching the hatch” with our flies was of utmost importance. After trying several different mayfly imitations we managed to find some flies that fooled the picky fish and in turn catch some more fish.

On our second day at the lake we were blessed with another rain free day of fishing and catching. Everybody caught multiple fish in the morning, afternoon and again during the evening hatch. We filled up on backcountry pizzas for dinner and popcorn for desert then got to bed early in preparation for our last full day in the backcountry.photo-17

On day three we got up early and made a short but steep .6mile hike up to Odessa Lake. The numbers were not as high up at Odessa but the scenery was breathtaking and the fish we did catch were slightly larger then in the lower Fern Lake. We fished Odessa through lunch and started our hike back down to camp for a afternoon snack and of course more fishing. Unfortunately our good luck with the weather finally came to and end and we had our first rain of the trip. The rain cleared up in time for our backcountry burrito dinner and some delicious no bake cherry cheese cake.

J and Xavier with one of the fish caught during our evening session.

J and Xavier with one of the fish caught during our evening session." />

This morning we woke up early to clouds but no rain. We set about breaking down our camp and hit the trail before 9am. On the way back down to the van we stopped and fished the river that was in much better shape then on our hike in. We caught some nice fish in the river and still managed to be back at the van by lunch.

Now we are sitting in town doing some laundry, taking showers, and preparing for our day of service with the Rocky Mountain National Parks trail crew tomorrow morning. We will send another update before we hit the trails again on Thursday.




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