3 new conservation projects funded by Utah Cutthroat Slam to benefit native trout in Utah
Salt Lake City — Three new conservation projects geared toward helping Utah's native cutthroat trout were recently selected for this year, funded by the Utah Cutthroat Slam.
The projects were selected by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Trout Unlimited — the organizations that started the Utah Cutthroat Slam. Launched in April 2016, the slam is a fishing challenge that requires participants to catch Utah's four native cutthroat trout subspecies in their native ranges. Roughly $19 of each $20 registration fee goes toward conservation projects for the native species.
The three projects being funded this year are:
- Fish Creek riparian restoration: This project will continue restoring vegetation along the river in this area, which was burned by the destructive Twitchell Canyon Fire in 2010. Bonneville cutthroat trout are native to this area, and the DWR is partnering with Fishlake National Forest and the local grazing permittee in the area to plant vegetation along the river where it has not grown back since the fire.
- Supplemental stocking and sampling of Bonneville cutthroat trout in Red Cedar Creek: Bonneville cutthroat trout have already been stocked in this native range area; however, the DWR typically works to restock cutthroat trout in an area for three to five years, until the species is naturally reproducing on its own. The area is difficult to access, and these funds will help biologists get to the creek to stock and sample fish to assess the Bonneville cutthroat population there.
- Bear River cutthroat trout mural: As part of an ongoing project with the Utah Wildlife Walls, a Bonneville cutthroat trout mural was painted in Sugar House and a Colorado River cutthroat trout mural was painted in Vernal (each in these subspecies' native ranges). This project will help partially fund a new Bear River cutthroat trout mural in Logan. These murals have provided important conservation outreach about these native species for many Utahns in their communities.
"Prior to our recent restoration efforts, cutthroat trout had experienced a significant reduction in their native ranges in the state, with the Colorado River cutthroat trout reduced by almost 90%," DWR Sportfish Coordinator Trina Hedrick said. "In the last 30 years, we have increased the range of each of our subspecies and are working to stabilize the species throughout the state into the future. The Utah Cutthroat Slam helps fund projects that continue our restoration efforts for cutthroat trout. Anglers should consider participating in this fun challenge because their registration fee goes directly toward the conservation of cutthroat trout and helps us create better angling opportunities for this important species throughout Utah."
To date, 4,928 people have registered for the slam, and the program has generated more than $91,800 for cutthroat trout restoration and outreach in Utah. There have been 1,310 completions of the slam, with a record 245 completions taking place in 2023. Participants who complete the slam receive a certificate and commemorative medallion. New cutthroat medallions will be released in the coming years to highlight each of the native cutthroat trout species. A new medallion featuring a Colorado River cutthroat trout was released in 2022, and the newest medallion featuring a Yellowstone cutthroat trout was released in 2023.
"The success of the Utah Cutthroat Slam is truly a testament to the partnership between our organizations," Trout Unlimited Utah Director Jordan Nielson said. "The money generated through this program helps fund important conservation projects that directly benefit native cutthroat trout and promote fishing and conservation. We are so excited to see this program continue to grow and help with cutthroat trout restoration in Utah."
Anyone interested in participating in the Utah Cutthroat Slam can register on the website and can also visit their booth at the Wasatch Intermountain Fly Tying and Fly Fishing Expo from March 15–16 at the Mountain America Expo Center in Sandy.