SALT LAKE CITY — Anglers across Utah and the country have embraced a program created by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Trout Unlimited to educate people about the value of native fish and encourage them to explore new waters across the state, while also supporting cutthroat trout conservation efforts.
The Utah Cutthroat Slam launched in 2016 at the Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo. Now during the third anniversary of the fishing challenge, representatives from Trout Unlimited and the Division of Wildlife will be back at the expo April 12-13 to answer questions about how to participate in the Slam.
Utah is home to four cutthroat trout species, the only native sport fish in the state. The goal of the Slam is to catch each of the four native Utah cutthroat trout–Bonneville, Colorado River, Bear River and Yellowstone — in their historic range.
There is no time limit requirement to complete the Slam. Anglers have a day, a month, a year or a lifetime to catch each of the fish. However, participants must register for the Slam before they start their attempt. Registration costs $20 for adults and $10 for youth, and anglers can register on the DWR website. All but $1 of the registration cost is dedicated to conservation projects throughout the state.
Anglers are required to submit pictures of each of the fish they caught during their adventure and report the date and location of the place the trout was landed. A list of some of the best places to catch each species, and a map showing their native range, is available at www.utahcutthroatslam.org. Pictures of every fish caught for the completion are also available on the site.
Anglers who successfully catch all four of Utah's native trout will receive a medallion, donated by the Utah State Council of Trout Unlimited, and TU chapters across Utah. Participants who finish the Slam will also receive a certificate of completion.
As of April 1, 1,648 people have registered for the Slam, and 377 medallions have been sent to anglers who completed the challenge. People from 40 states, including Hawaii, have registered for the Slam. Anglers ranging in age from 3 to 84 years old have earned their completion certificate.
"We are really proud of the response. By all accounts, it has been wildly successful," said Paul Burnett, Trout Unlimited's Utah Water and Habitat lead. "Anglers should also be proud of the contributions they have made. Just by signing up, they have helped raise more than $30,000 to help fund native cutthroat trout conservation."
More than a dozen conservation or education projects have received funding so far, benefitting all four varieties of cutthroat in Utah–including Bonneville cutthroat trout, the state fish.
"We have enjoyed seeing Utahns and anglers who visit the state get excited about the Cutthroat Slam over the years," said Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Director Mike Fowlks. "While fishing is always a good chance to get out and enjoy Utah's beautiful outdoors, having a goal and receiving some recognition after reaching that goal can definitely add to the fishing experience. We hope anglers continue to have fun with this challenge year after year."
Along with registering for the fishing challenge, people can also follow the Utah Cutthroat Slam on social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, to see other people's catches.
The Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo is being held April 12-13 at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy. Tickets are $10 at the door. Youth 14 and under are free with a paying adult.