West Elk Expedition Update #1

We got a well needed nights rest after a full day of travelTuesday and rose with the sun to head to our next front country campsite deep in the Gunnison Country. On the way there we got fishing licenses and any fishing essentials that caught our eye.  The drive to the campsite left everyone in the van speechless due to the endless rolling hills painted with yellows, oranges, and purples from the wildflowers native to Colorado. And as we approached the campsite; snow-capped mountains started to bust through the horizon. When we finally arrived at our campsite we all set up our tents quickly and scurried to the river to try to lure out the wild browns that inhabit the winding mountain creek. Everyone was ecstatic to see the trout aggressively take the dry flies we had suspended on the waters surface. All the excitement of the fishing made the burgers taste even better at dinner. 

The next morning we all got up early to pack our backpacks for the days hike to our backcountry campsite. The trail to our campsite followed the river through the desert canyon, sage, and willows. The lower part of the river that we hiked to gets far less fishing pressure than the upper section we fished. Due to this the fish were very eager to take flies, and the guys were hooking into them in no time.

The next two days were spent hiking the hills around and through the canyon to fish an even more remote section of water that held fish who have probably never seen a human, much less artificial flies. The hikes were aided by the stunning visuals of the vibrant wildflowers that lit up the green hills. 

After a fantastic first backcountry we hiked out of the canyon in the morning, ate lunch, and went to the Gunnison recreation center for a shower, swim, and water slide session. After doing our laundry, we headed up the Taylor Canyon to our new campsite. 

In the following days we will be doing our service project and fishing the world famous Taylor River for trophy trout as well as some top secret locations around the mountain town of Crested Butte.

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