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Local anglers complete Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam by Larry Myhre

Reprinted from the Sioux City Journal

Last summer was a milestone of sorts for two local fly anglers. They spent 10 days in the western part of Wyoming fishing for three subspecies of cutthroat trout in their native drainages.

Most of their time was spent high in the mountain ranges of the Bridger Teton National Forest fishing headwater streams where pure strains of Colorado, Snake River and Bonneville cutthroat swim.

For years fish management programs have threatened the cutthroats through the introduction of non-native trout, including browns, rainbows and lake trout.

Today’s fish management is changing.

In an effort to develop more appreciation and support of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s cutthroat management efforts, the department has initiated a fisherman’s recognition program. Titled the Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam Program, it recognizes anglers who have caught each of the four subspecies in their native range within the state.

“The first I heard about the program was when I was visiting the Dakota Angler Fly Shop in Rapid City and saw the certificate on the wall,” says Robert Gillespie.

Gillespie, Sioux City, was on his way to Montana to fish the Yellowstone River with his fishing partner Charlie Thoman, Dakota Dunes. After learning more about the program, they decided to document their catch of the Yellowstone subspecies and plan a trip to Wyoming the next year to catch the other three.

It was, they both agree, a wonderful and challenging time.

“It was the best trip ever,” Gillespie says. “I’d never fished the Bridger Teton National Forest. The scenery is gorgeous, and we both like fishing smaller streams.”

Thoman agreed.

“It was fantastic,” he says. “It was the best fishing experience I’ve ever had.”

But it wasn’t easy.

The cutthroat were finicky, and weather sometimes threw them a curve. [Read more…]