Utah Cutthroat Slam Program
Photo: Kris Millgate

Slam dunk

Utah's new cutthroat slam program has netted $10k for stream restoration

My time on earth is split evenly between two states. Utah and Idaho. Two decades in each. I was born in one and I’ll die in the other. Based on the stellar home water I have now, I’m content staying in Idaho. That is until I have lunch with Brett Prettyman. He’s Trout Unlimited’s Intermountain communications director. We both have roots in Utah media and remained friends as our careers evolved. We meet for lunch on the six-month anniversary of his pet project: Utah Cutthroat Slam.

salmon river - idaho
Photo: BLM

A day on the water

Connecting on Idaho's Salmon River

Verlon Herndon showed up at the put-in on the Salmon River wearing a hat with earflaps, a growth of dark stubble, and a faded vest with his name and phone number Magic Markered on the back. A haze of sleep deprivation clung to him like a scratchy cowl, although he was trying hard to shake it off with pulls from an oversized travel mug. It was as clear as the Idaho sky that the new was off Verlon, and off his driftboat, too.

cutthroat trout in bag
Cutthroat trout are backpacked in bags of water to high mountain lakes in Idaho (photo: Kris Millgate).

Fish packers

Backpacking trout to high mountain lakes

I threw up this morning and I have a fever. I feel like hell on this hike, but I’m not confessing my condition. We are backpacking fish to a high mountain lake in Idaho and I don’t want to miss out on what’s at the top.
​“These high elevation lakes are pretty spectacular. Lots of rocky bluffs and real pretty water,” says Dan Garren, Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional fisheries manager. “Most of these are hard to get to so when you finally see one, it’s really nice. You change from hustle, hustle, get there to yes, we made it.”

yellowstone cutthroat
Fly fisherman Todd Lanning shows off a native Yellowstone cutthroat trout caught on the Yellowstone River (courtesy Todd Lanning).

Cutting for cutthroat

Yellowstone throws net wide to save native fish

The message comes in via text: “Millgate, get up here. We gotta fish. The Yellowstone is like it used to be.”

Canadian Rocky Mountain trout stream
Photo: Chad Shmukler

In love with a river

Will you be my girlfriend? Check 'yes' or 'no'

Affinity for place is hardly an angler’s monopoly—everyone with a pulse has favorite destinations that require frequent visits, if for no other reason to ensure that all remains intact, both with the locations, and with the visitor.


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