Utah Cutthroat Slam
Utah is home to four species of native cutthroat trout the Yellowstone, Bonneville, Bear River, and Colorado River. These four species live across Utah in their native ranges. By registering on the https://www.utahcutthroatslam.org website and paying a registration fee you are good to go. The website provides maps and info what drainages you can find each species. After consulting with fellow WVAngler member Jeff Creamer and a few awesome friends along the way I put a plan of travel and fishing in order and prepared to become the second person from WV to accomplish the task of the slam. Utah is not a state that comes to mind when a lot think of fly fishing destinations but the variety and areas to fish are phenomenal, not to mention they have one of the best fly shops in the country in Fly Fish Food. After mapping some locations and going through the Utah Cutthroat Slam website a plan was mapped out. I started first with the Bear River Cutthroat around Logan which has became one of my favorite Utah cities that offers some amazing food one of my favorite restaurants Sabores and their peanut butter burger. The drive down Logan Canyon is amazing the sites are incredible. I hit the upper section of the river and lost several little cutthroat but finally in a pool I had a Bear River Cutthroat Trout in hand and the slam was started. Next stop was the Raft Mountains and in search of a Yellowstone Cutthroat. These streams were some of the most challenging waters I have ever fished in my entire life. The stream was ditch like with vegetation all around. The thought of actually finding a trout in these conditions yet alone land one had me worried. First few pools nothing and spirts was getting low then I found a nice pool. There wasn't many in this creek but the next thing I knew was fish on. No picture of this one or the next one so the slam couldn't be completed. I decided to camp out on the stream rest it and give it a shot in the morning hoping to be able to cross the Yellowstone off the list but morning brought no fish. Deciding Arizona was still the destination I decided to keep moving. Next stop up was the Bonneville just outside Salt Lake City. After being in bumper to bumper traffic it was nice to hit the stream and be out of the concrete jungle but strange to fish for wild trout so close to such a major city. I had been warned this stream was tight and bow and arrow casts and short rods were the go to which I was prepared for as I had been using my Vandallia Rodworks 6'6" 3wt bamboo rod made by Phil Smith in WV. In no time I was into a Bonneville Trout. This stream was a different experience bikers flying on the downhill, families cooking out, just people all over and even a $3 access fee to the area. I decided I'd give a shot at the Colorado after a fast rain storm but knew I didn't have a ton of time cause I had to move on. Fished a little bit with nothing so I was sitting at 2 of the 4 native cutthroat for the challenge. After another month I got the truck packed up and headed back out to complete the challenge. First stop was the Yellowstone and looking for redemption. I hit the same spots I had moved fish earlier but nothing in this small stream. After talking to a friend I decided to move to another stream and give it a shot there in hopes of crossing this off the check list. The first spot I noticed several fish but it was a such a tight window and they were spooky. Moving up I ended up crawling up to locations combat style and after drifting through very small sections I managed a few fish. After a couple pictures I was back in the truck headed to chase some Colorado Cutthroat and listen to some WVU football on the way. With the go to fly in hand and more time on my hand my hopes were high but glancing at the radar I need thunderstorm warning and wasn't feeling great about my chances since this location was well off the beaten path. I decided to wait it out at the top of the mountain then give it a go. The go to fly paid off and in no time my Colorado was in hand and the challenge was complete. Utah offers so many different opportunities for native fish in about any type of water you can imagine was truly and awesome trip and challenge.