Student Fishing Programs – Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions//Travel


Think of Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions as “Outward Bound goes fly fishing.” LFFE specializes in fly fishing trips for middle and high school students to wilderness areas from Colorado to Maine, and even international destinations.

Their trips feature excellent fishing in beautiful, remote areas, but they offer much more than that. LFFE expeditions are a combination of fly fishing, wilderness trekking, environmental education, and community service. They engender independence, responsibility, leadership, teamwork, environmental ethic, backcountry skills, and of course, fly fishing proficiency.

Most importantly, LFFE trips are a TON of fun. Backcountry hiking/fishing trips are recipes for camaraderie and friendships that simply cannot be replicated in another setting. Most LFFE students return every year until graduating — and many of them return to help lead trips after that!

LFFE’s founder Will Lillard is a fly fishing guide with a Masters degree in Environmental Conservation Education. He has recruited a team of trip leaders who each have extensive experience working with and educating youths, wilderness skills and training, and are excellent fly fishermen. Both male and female students are welcome; female students are always accompanied by female trip leaders. (LFFE also offers a girls-only expedition in Rocky Mountain National Park; see below).

Fly fishing adventures with LFFE include community service such as working to clean up trash along rivers, planting native plants in riparian buffer zones, or building fences that keep cattle from trampling spawning beds. By actively participating in the conservation of the watersheds they fly fish, students learn what it means to be a steward of our natural resources.

LFFE not only leads its charges to remote locations safely, it also provides fly fishing instruction to all skill levels. From basic beginner lessons on grass and easy fishing scenarios on wide open pools, to more advanced instruction and chances at large, difficult-to-catch fish, LFFE provides guidance that is just right for any young angler. Considering that such instruction takes place on some of America’s most famous waters, there is no better way to take the next step as an angler.

We cannot think of a better summertime adventure for teens! More detail on each LFFE trip follows; please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.


Head deep into the most famous national park in the U.S. and fish some of Yellowstone’s most fabled waters, including the Yellowstone River, Lamar River, and Soda Butte Creek. The highlight of the trip, however, is the trek into Slough Creek to chase some of the biggest cutthroat in the park. This backcountry section of river lies between 4 and 9 miles from the nearest road, and only gets fished by the most adventurous anglers.

The trip leaders are Will Lillard himself and Tee Clarkson. Tee runs his own youth fishing camps in his home state of Virginia, and is who introduced us to LFFE. Two more perfect leaders for this trip probably do not exist. The students we sent with Will and Tee last summer loved it so much they are headed back for a two week Yellowstone Adventure this summer!


July 6 — Arrive in Bozeman. Drive to Mammoth Campground. After dinner fishing on the Gardner River.
July 7 — Move Camp to Pebble Creek Campground. Fish Soda Butte Creek.
July 8 — Fish the Lamar River.
July 9 — Enter Slough Creek Backcountry. Fish Slough Creek.
July 10 — Fish Slough Creek. Hike out of the Backcountry.
July 11 — Float fishing on the Yellowstone River. Bozeman Hot Springs. Banquet dinner in Bozeman.
July 12 — Depart Bozeman

Cost: $2,495 (includes everything but airfare to Bozeman and certain gear)


Rocky Mountain National Park is one of the best locations to catch two of Colorado’s native trout — the greenback cutthroat and Colorado River cutthroat — in the park’s countless smaller streams and lakes. Its rugged peaks also provide spectacular scenery. The Colorado River’s headwaters are located in RMNP, and the LFFE Expeditions to the park include a full day float trip on the Colorado.

LFFE offers five different trips in the summer of 2020 to RMNP:

June 26 – July 3: Colorado Adventure for 7th to 10th graders. $2,650

July 5 – 12: Colorado Adventure for 7th to 10th graders. $2,650

July 5 – 21: Colorado Rocky Mountain Expedition for 9th graders to entering college freshmen. $3,975

July 14 – 23: Colorado Rocky Mountain Girls Expedition for girls 9th grade to entering college freshmen. $2,855

August 11 – 20: Colorado Rocky Mountain Expedition for 9th-entering college freshmen. $2,855

The itinerary for each of those trips is similar but varies slightly due to the different length of each trip; the following sample itinerary is representative:

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1 — Arrive in Denver. Drive to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Day 2 — Fly fishing instruction in RMNP.
Days 3-6 — Backpack into and fish the RMNP wilderness.
Day 7 — Community service along the Colorado River.
Day 8 — Full day float fishing trip on the Colorado River.
Day 9 — Pool time at Silverthorne Rec Center. Final banquet at the Historic Mint in Silverthorne.
Day 10 — Depart from Denver


The Maine backcountry is some of the most unique and beautiful wilderness in the United States. These LFFE trips explore the Rangeley Lakes region and nearby rivers, an area that is further north than Toronto, and roughly at the same latitude as Montreal! Students can expect complete solitude amidst abundant northern wildlife, and outrageous fishing.

The Maine fishing is characterized by species diversity, each of which requires a different fishing style. Therefore, this may be the best trip in the LFFE lineup to acquire a broad range of fly fishing skills: present dries to trophy brook trout in their native habitat, nymph for landlocked salmon, and throw streamers to smallmouth bass and even northern pike. Maine trips are also a great way to experience a gorgeous part of the country that most anglers overlook.

LFFE offers two different Maine trips in the summer of 2020:

June 18 – July 1: Maine Woods Adventure for 7th to 10th graders. $3,925

June 18 – July 1: Maine Advanced Expedition for 9th to 12th graders. $3,925

Sample Itinerary:

Day 1 — Arrive in Boston and head to western Massachusetts.
Days 2-3 — Fly fishing instruction while smallmouth bass fishing.
Days 4-5 — Fishing for northern pike.
Days 6-9 — Three night canoe trip on Kennebec River for smallmouth, landlocked salmon, and brook trout.
Days 10-12 — Travel by boat up the Rapid River to a traditional Maine sporting camp and fish for trophy brook trout.
Day 13 — Return to Massachusetts. Banquet dinner.
Day 14 — Depart from Boston

LFFE trips fill up quickly; in fact there are a number of trips not listed above that are already full with a waiting list. For more information or to reserve your student’s spot, please contact:

Schuyler Marshall
Tailwaters Travel
[email protected]