Yellowstone Expedition 1 - final update

Hi all,

We made it! Since our last update, the boys have been soaking up the sun and their last few days of fishing before airport day. We have been located at headquarters in Ennis Montana, fishing the world famous Madison River. Despite tougher fishing conditions and high water temperatures, the floats were still successful. All boats were able to catch a handful of fish under the blazing hot Montana sun, primarily on grasshopper patterns. Everyone was excited to catch a variety of different trout species on the Madison, with big Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout being the main targets (can’t forget about the highly sought after Mountain Whitefish…). 

Campers who did not float the Madison waded a section called Three Dollar, higher up the river. The experience required different tactics than we have used most of the trip. Instead of throwing big dry flies, campers used nymph rigs. They were quite successful, catching many fish, including a dozen 18 inch brown and rainbow trout. The variety in species was also a fun experience, after a trip full of Yellowstone cutthroat. 

After fishing, the crew spent the evenings at basecamp, playing ping pong, foosball, tying flies, cleaning gear, and enjoying each others’ company. On our final night, we enjoyed the traditional banquet of steaks, potatoes, corn, and salad.

Overall, the trip was a great success. We enjoyed some of the best fishing conditions we’ve ever experienced for the Yellowstone Expedition. Higher flows meant we got to fish salomonflies, green drakes, and other hatches that normally occur earlier in the year. Colder water means happier, hungrier fish, and we reaped the rewards. In addition, the crew was fantastic. Campers got along very well, and good group chemistry allowed us to accomplish more than I’ve seen in previous trips. For example, on day 3 we woke up early and hiked 12 miles to access the unfished side of the Yellowstone river, when we easily could have driven up and fished the side with the road. This crew worked hard, and it paid off.

Thanks for entrusting us with your kids over the last 17 days. We hope we are sending them home full of fishy tales to share with their friends and family. 



Ed, Cole, and Burke


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

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Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions
2540 King Road
Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

(828) 577-8204