Fishing challenges have caught my attention the last year or so and I have looked into several challenges in the west including the Western Native Trout Challenge. After looking at countless maps ,several informational websites, and the help of several friends Scott Hunter for Wyoming and Jeff Creamer for the Utah challenge. I had my goal set really high to accomplish the Wyoming and Utah Cutthroat Challenges. After a long solo roadtrip and using great directions I pulled into the East Fork of the Wind. The water looked in great shape and no one was around. I had my mind made up I was going to complete this challenge using just my Blue Halo 3wt fly rod. On some streams it would be a little under gunned but my heart fully is with a 3wt I could own 20 different 3wt rods and still need another, they just have a feel when in your hand and the full flex just makes the rod come to life. I quickly strung up a chubby and hoped for some top water action. The wind was pretty tough and nothing was happened quickly tied on a dropper and found fish fast and often. With the first day and the first fish the Yellowstone Cutthroat under my belt I felt pretty confident I could complete this challenge still.
After Scott calling in and giving me unreal directions for another spot just off the Snake River I was on the water again. Not the biggest fan of bears and after seeing several sign my head was on just a little bit of a swivel. Went with the hopper dropper again at first and moved nothing new water is always a challenge but you just look for the holding spots like you would in any stream. So I finally go back to my trusty favorite fly the classic woolybugger and wham a trout hookup in no time so I am feeling good well the feel went away fast after a long distance release. After a little longer on the stream and I am feeling this may not be possible my unicorn could be the fine spotted snake river cutthroat trout. After sleeping on it and doing some sight seeing the morning I decided to try some headwater stream but road work didn't allow for that so the morning was in disarray. Found another stream and again no cooperative trout. After a few miles on some of the Wyoming back country roads I finally end up on North Cottonwood Creek and found an easy pull off. Strung up the dropper hopper ring and had a fish on top water in no time. A nice Colorado River Cutthroat trout so now we have 2 out of 4 challenge fish so maybe we have at least a shot to complete this part of the journey. Fished a little longer down the stretch and several more chunky little fish took the dropper before we packed up and headed to our next destination.
After an awesome scenic trip over the pass I end up on the upper stretch of the Greys River. Again since it has been working and I found some nice runs I am thinking dropper hopper rig again and we are in good shape. Moved one fish but not really a lot of action. So tried another spot that had some good structure and a deep pool so again when all else fails went back to the old reliable black woolybugger and hoping the dream would stay alive. After a few casts wham and this time there was no long distance release a snake river cutthroat was in the net and we are finally at 3 out of 4 so the challenge is still achievable. After some more fishing and more snake river cutts back into the car and onto another stream to try and finish this challenge.
It was getting late and I considered giving Salt Creek a shot before dark but slide into the campsite and hoped for better luck in the morning. The sun was out the hope was holding on so walked up to the little trib with a yellow humpy and a nice beaver pond and the Bonneville were more than eager to take the fly with one in hand the challenge of 4 native Wyoming Cutthroat trout was complete and another 4 new fish to add to the species list.
With some hope still alive I decided to hop into the car and try another state and hopefully another milestone. So packed up and went south into Utah. The water was running good in the Logan River and I threw all I could think of at several different spots but for me this day the Bear River Cutthroat were not willing so the drive into Logan and over a Guy Fieri approved peanut butter burger decisions had to be made stay on course head through Utah and push on or head back to Wyoming and enjoy some more fish and views of the Snake River area. I headed back north to enjoy more of the awesome state of Wyoming. Challenges are awesome but sometimes the biggest challenge is the ones we give ourselves. Until next time Utah will still be calling looking forward to marking another challenge off the list!