Yellowstone Expedition Update III

The past few days, since exiting the snake river and heart lake backcountries have been like a tour of America's most famous trout water. In just the last few days the Yellowstone Expedition has fished the upper Yellowstone, the upper Madison, and the Gallatin River, and we are not done yet. 

After exiting the backcountry both groups reconvened of the on the Yellowstone. The Yellowstone provided the group a chance to experience technical site fishing for huge lake run cutthroat. Everyone spotted and had shots at fish, gaining valuable experience. These fish are not easy to catch, and it certainly is not a numbers game. But the group was able to grind out some absolutely huge fish. 

Following the Yellowstone, the groups packed up camp and moved to the banks of the Madison River. From our campsite that sat steps from the West Fork of the Madison and about 100yds from its confluence with the Madison River, our group had perfect access to some of the best wade fishing the Madison has to offer. The Madison is arguably the most famous river in the country and for good reason. Thanks to Montana's, at the time controversial, decision to stop stocking trout in rivers with naturally reproducing fish, the Madison is a healthy river full of wild brown and rainbow trout. The days were hot but we were rewarded with blanket Caddis hatches in the evening, where everyone caught multiple fish including some fine Madison river specimens. 

This morning, after a breakfast of sausage and eggs, the groups fished the Gallatin finding willing brown and rainbow trout. The Gallatin is a perfect river for our group to work on "reading water". Smaller and steeper then the Madison, the Gallatin is just as loaded with fish. When a fly is presented in the right way in the right spot you have a great chance at getting a strike. This instant feedback has been a game changer for our participants and resulted in some greatly improved anglers.

Starting this afternoon the groups will again split into two. This afternoon the first of our two groups will be preparing for their backcountry hike into Slough creek. Slough is considered by many to be the gem of Yellowstone and should offer all of the kids stellar fishing. With all our backcountry systems dialed from the snake river and heart lake, and our fishing skilles honed from the Yellowstone, Madison, and Gallatin, Slough looks to be an epic. 

In the meantime, our second group will continue to explore Montana rivers while waiting their turn to go into Slough. 



Pat, Oliver, Stefan, Yantis, and the kids.

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