BUD LILLY: A Trout’s Best Friend

Department Memoriam


August 13,1925 January 4, 2017

Through my work at MSU, I had the good fortune to become acquainted with Bud Lilly. A resident of nearby Three Forks, Montana, Bud was a world-renowned icon of fishing and conservation who enriched untold lives during his own lifetime. Bud’s personal campaigns for catch-and-release fishing, healthy fisheries, water quality, the environment, and teaching others helped create a better world for all us.

Sadly, the world lost Bud Lilly on January 4, 2017.  He leaves behind his wife and partner Esther, their family, and a world filled with friends and admirers. An accomplished angler, fly tier, guide, and founder of Bud Lilly’s Fly Shop in West Yellowstone, Bud was a legend in the angling world.

He was active in countless conservation efforts and is a member of the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame. 

Inspired by Bud’s influence and passion, people from around the country have donated materials and money to help create and expand MSU Library’s world-class Trout and Salmonid Collection.  Established in 2001 under Bud’s guidance, the Collection houses personal archival materials as well as audio, video, art, and printed works related to trout and salmon.  With materials from around the world, topics range from angling, science, conservation and research to poetry, art and literature. Researchers and students come from near and far to access the information they seek.

MSU Library recently enhanced its Web site by adding an on-line feature called the Oral History of Angling.  Since there’s not space to properly honor Bud here in this column, I encourage you to visit Bud’s recorded conversations with MSU librarian James Thull at www.lib.montana.edu/trout/oral-histories

To say that Bud has been a generous contributor to the Trout and Salmonid Collection at Montana State University would be an understatement, as the Collection would not exist without his efforts and guidance. Thank you, Bud!

Bud Lilly portrait
Bud Lilly portrait


CFRE -  

 Life Member

MSU Alumni Association

Director of Development

Montana State University Alumni Foundation 

Leave a Comment Here

Your comment will not appear until we have reviewed and approved it.