Colorado West Elk Expedition

Big Mountains, Big Fish, and Big Adventure

The snow capped 14,000 foot mountains, and high alpine valleys of south-central Colorado provide the backdrop for the fly fishing adventure of a lifetime. After one day of fly fishing school at our front country campsite, we will head into the remote backcountry near Gunnison Colorado.  With an abundance of brilliantly colored, big and wild cutthroat, rainbow, brown and brook trout, this area is a favorite of Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions for good reason. After leaving the backcountry we will volunteer with the Gunnison chapter of Trout Unlimited and the Crested Butte Land Trust to help conserve this pristine paradise. With our service work done we head back into the wilderness with the assistance of pack horses for 5 days chasing monster cutthroat among Colorado’s highest peaks.  Upon exiting the backcountry, we will float fish the world famous Arkansas River with expert local guides, and then top it all off with a steak dinner.  Whether this is your first time fishing and camping, or you are an experienced angler and backpacker, this trip will create memories that will last a lifetime.

2018 Trip Details

Dates: 7/21-8/6 Duration: 17 Days Tuition: $3,895 Arrive/Depart: Denver, CO Grades: Entering 10th - Entering Freshman Year of College Community Service Hours: 10

West Elk Highlights

•Catch trophy-sized wild trout in in high alpine lakes
•Explore the backcountry with the support of pack horses
•Volunteer with Trout Unlimited
•Fish and raft the world famous Arkansas River
•Climb a 14,000 ft mountain
•Catch a fish on a fly you tied

Day 1:  Arrive in Denver, drive to our first front-country campsite.

Day 2:  Fly fishing instruction and preparation for our first backcountry trip.

Day 3-7:  First backpacking/fly fishing trip into the Colorado wilderness.

Day 8:  Community service project with the Gunnison chapter of Trout Unlimited and fly fishing private water.

Day 9: Front-country fly fishing and preparation for second backcountry trip.

Day 10-14:  Second backpacking/fly fishing trip into the Colorado Wilderness.

Day 15:  Full day float fishing trip with local guides on the Arkansas River.

Day 16:  Pool time at the Silverthorne Rec Center and the final banquet at The Historic Mint in Silverthorne.

Day 17:  Depart from Denver.

Species: Brown Trout, Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brook Tout.

Water: Top Secret small streams and lakes, the Arkansas River.

Are you ready to enroll? Click on the Enroll Now tab at the top right of the page or give us a call to get started.

Do you have more questions? Give us a call at (828) 577- 8204, or send us an email at and we will be happy to answer all your questions. If you are looking for more information click on the Request Information tab at the top right of our homepage and we will give you a call and  email you some more info.

Do I need to have fly fishing experience? 

No experience necessary. No matter your skill level your guides will work with you to make you a skilled fly fisherman or woman.

Do I need my own fishing equipment?

Students are responsible for their own fly rod, reel, line, and a few other personal fishing items. Please contact us for a full packing list. Don’t have your own? Not a problem. We have top quality Orvis rods and reels available to rent.

What other equipment will I need?

We will send you a full packing list if you are interested in signing up for one of our Adventure Academies. Group gear like tents, stoves, etc are all provided by LFFE. Personal gear such as sleeping bags and backpacks are all available to rent.


We have put together a list of all that you will need for a successful and comfortable expedition. We offer a rental program for most of the big ticket items like fly rods, reels, sleeping bags, etc..

Here is a link to download the complete Packing List Colorado West Elk Expedition. If you are interested in renting some or all of the big ticket items on the packing list click here to download the Equipment Rental Form.

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What is Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions?

Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions specializes in teen fly fishing summer camps. Our teen fly fishing summer camps are not an ordinary lodge based kids fly fishing camps. At Lillard Fly Fishing Expeditions we combine a teen adventure camp, youth fly fishing school, service learning, and community service to create our unique Teen Fly Fishing Adventure Academies. Our kids and teen fly fishing camps travel to the premier wilderness fly fishing and backcountry fly fishing locations throughout North America. Join us on an adventure of a lifetime. Become an experienced fly fisherman or woman while hiking, camping and fishing at our North Carolina Teen Fly Fishing Academy in the Smoky and Blue Ridge Mountains. Or explore Rocky Mountain fly fishing opportunities on one of our Colorado or Wyoming fly fishing expeditions. If you are looking for an ordinary teen summer tour, teen summer camp, or teen adventure you have come to the wrong place. If you are looking to learn new skills while on the adventure of a lifetime, try one of our youth/teen fly fishing summer camps or allow us to design a  custom adventure for your family, group, or school.