Rocky Mountain Expedition Update

The Rocky Mountain Expedition I just finished their first backcountry, and everyone had a blast!


Before going into Rocky Mountain National Park for 3 nights, we spent a full day fishing around Grand Lake on the Colorado River. Every kid caught fish and got to practice their casting and knot tying skills as well. The night before our hike we had a big dinner of spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. The following morning we packed our backpacking packs and headed to the East Inlet trailhead to start our hike.


We hiked a couple miles into the East Inlet meadow and fished there for a bit before eating lunch. From there we hiked a couple more miles to our first campsite named “Cat’s Lair”. Half of our group stayed there for the night and fished for small Cutthroat trout in a tributary of East Inlet named Paradise Creek. The other half of the group went to a slightly further campsite named “Slickrock” and fished the nearby Lone Pine Lake. That night we all ate dehydrated meals that consisted of Chicken Alfredo, which everyone enjoyed as well as Three Bean Chili.


The following day the group from Cat’s Lair hiked past Slickrock to a campsite named “Solitaire” which is near Lake Verna. From there the two groups met up and both fished on Lake Verna. Every kid caught their fair share of Brook Trout and we even kept a few to add to our dinner that night. For dinner we had Buffalo Mac n’ Cheese with canned chicken and fresh brook trout. After dinner we planned out the following day which consisted of a large day hike to the top of the East Inlet drainage.


To reach the top of the drainage we had to hike past multiple lakes named Spirit Lake, Fourth Lake, and finally Fifth Lake. Waiting for us at Fifth Lake were large native Colorado River Cutthroat Trout. These fish are known to be some of the most beautiful of all the trout species. Each one of the campers managed to wrangle in at least one of these fish, which left many of them grinning ear to ear. Then we headed back down to camp while fishing each of the lakes on our way there. For dinner that night we made a stir fry and shared stories from the amazing day we all experienced.


The next morning we packed up our campsites and headed back to the trailhead. With light packs and the excitement for ice cream and showers, the hike back was a breeze. After setting up camp at Stillwater Campground, we headed towards Granby, CO for showers and laundry at the luxurious River Run RV Resort. Then we headed back to Stillwater to enjoy a much deserved dinner of greek salad and bratwurst with peppers and onions.


Next on the agenda is a day of fishing the Colorado River near Hot Sulphur Springs, CO followed by backcountry prep for our next adventure into the North Inlet of Grand Lake. We will be spending four nights on our next backcountry and all of the kids are excited for more chances at native Cutthroats. Following the North Inlet backcountry we will be heading to Buena Vista, CO to fish on the Arkansas River for a few days. Wish us luck and safe travels!

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