A couple years ago, I wrote about how fun it was to complete the new Utah Cutthroat Slam, and I also scored the Wyoming Cutt-Slam way back in ’04. These programs are fun, educational, and even raise money for conservation. Other states–such as Nevada, California, and Arizona–have similar programs, and anglers from around the country have enjoyed the challenges provided by each.
But there’s never been anything like the Western Native Trout Challenge, launched today by the Western Native Trout Initiative. Although there are 21 species of native trout and char across the participating states, low populations exclude three, which means anglers can attempt to catch 18 different species across 12 states. There are three levels of achievement:
The Western Native Trout Challenge website has all the relevant info: rules, list of species, maps showing the range of each, and more! The participating states are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming–which means that completing the challenge will take you to the most beautiful parts of the American West. The state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the 12 states are partnering on the effort, along with the USDA Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management, and Trout Unlimited.
I am already making plans to start my “Master Caster” campaign this summer. It might take a few years, but I am bound and determined to get their–and have plenty of adventures along the way.