Bud Lilly

Bud Lilly died on January 4th at the age of 91. Bud was a Montana fly fishing icon, a legend in the fly fishing industry, and he was deeply involved in the beginning of Trout Unlimited in Montana. I met Bud in 1977. He and his wife Pat were friends of my mother and father-in-law Bob and Lois Foukal, and Bob, who was also involved in the early days of Montana TU, introduced me to Bud. When I started my fly shop in Bozeman in 1978, Bud offered advice and support. Over the years, we worked on many conservation and fly fishing related projects together. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from Bud including his belief that a guided fishing trip needed to be much more than racking up a body count of trout. Bud believed that a guided trip should provide the client with “the total Montana experience.” It was great advice, and I still follow it today. Bud introduced me to the Bozeman based Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation which was being set up to offer therapeutic fly fishing programs for disabled, post-911 veterans. I joined the WQW Board, helped start WQW and worked as the volunteer director of fly fishing operation for several years. In my role with WQW, I relied on Bud for lots of advice. The WQW program has grown into one of the finest therapeutic fly fishing programs for disabled veterans in the entire country, and he had a lot to do with WQW success. The last time I talked with Bud was at the Tom McGuane lecture at the Montana State University Library Trout and Salmonid Collection event in July. While his eyesight was deteriorating from macular degeneration, he was still as sharp and witty as ever. All of us who love to fly fish for trout in the waters of Montana owe Bud a debt of gratitude. Rest in Peace Bud!

By Dave Kumliien.