Utah launches Cutthroat Slam

A new program might take you to places in Utah you've never fished before. In the process, you'll also learn about cutthroat trout, the only trout that's native to Utah.

Yellowstone cutthroat trout are among four cutthroat trout that live in Utah. If you register in the Cutthroat Trout Slam — and catch all four — you'll receive a medallion, a certificate and recognition on a special website.

Yellowstone cutthroat trout are among four cutthroat trout that live in Utah. If you register in the Cutthroat Trout Slam — and catch all four — you'll receive a medallion, a certificate and recognition on a special website.

Photo courtesy of Utah Division of Wildlife Resources

The state's Cutthroat Slam is underway. If you register for the program and catch all four of Utah's cutthroat trout — Bear River, Bonneville, Colorado River and Yellowstone — you'll receive a medallion and a certificate. And photos of the cutthroats you catch will be available, for everyone to see, at UtahCutthroatSlam.org.

Paul Birdsey, cold water sport fisheries coordinator for the Division of Wildlife Resources, is excited about the program. "The Cutthroat Slam provides an added incentive to visit some pristine waters in Utah — waters you may have never fished before — to catch the only trout native to the state," he says.

Birdsey says the program also provides an incentive to learn more about cutthroat trout. "The cutthroats you learn about include the Bonneville," he says. "Bonneville cutthroat trout are Utah's state fish."

Birdsey says most Utahns aren't aware that cutthroat trout were the only trout settlers found when they arrived in 1847. "All of the other trout anglers catch in Utah," he says, "including brook, brown and rainbow trout, were brought here from other places."

You can register for the Utah Cutthroat Slam — and learn more about it — at www.UtahCutthroatSlam.org.

A partnership between the DWR and Trout Unlimited made the program possible.

"The state of Utah is a hugely important partner in our work to recover native trout," says Chris Wood, president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. "The Utah Cutthroat Slam will simultaneously allow us to raise important resources for this work while also providing a ton of fun for anglers. What's not to like?"

DWR Director Greg Sheehan says the Cutthroat Slam is a great example of what can happen when a state wildlife agency and a conservation organization join forces. "I'm really excited to partner with TU," Sheehan says. "And we're very interested in partnering with other conservation organizations to provide Utah's anglers with even more slams. "

The Utah Cutthroat Slam officially launched on April 1. By April 3, Kirk Nichols, one of the first anglers to register in the program, had already caught the first cutthroat caught by a program participant, a Colorado River cutthroat. You can watch Nichols catch the fish online.

"The Utah Cutthroat Slam caught my attention because, ever since 4th grade Utah Geography classes, I have been curious about how any fish, especially trout, arrived in this isolated region of desert playas and mountain ranges," Nichols says. "The archaic Snake, the Green and the Colorado rivers sent fingers into where the Great Basin is now. Yet only one species of trout was captured by the isolation of the Great Basin, the cutthroat."

Brett Prettyman, Intermountain communications director for TU, says Trout Unlimited's support for the Utah Cutthroat Slam came from both the national and local level. "The Utah Council and all eight local chapters of TU, representing more than 1,500 members, contributed money to help purchase the medallions that will be handed out to successful anglers who complete the slam requirements," Prettyman says.

In addition to www.UtahCutthroatSlam.org, you can learn more about the Slam by watching a video on the DWR's YouTube channel.