Riverton angler Matt LeClair is the 1,000th to complete the Wyoming Cutt-Slam challenge
(Riverton, Wyo.) – When Riverton angler Matt LeClair submitted his paperwork after completing the requirements for Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam he had no idea that his entry would be the one to achieve the milestone of the 1,000th angler for this 17-year-old Game and Fish program.
LeClair who has been fishing all his life, and fly fishing for the last four years, caught all of his “Cutt-Slam” fish this summer on several fishing trips culminating with his catch of a Snake River cutthroat from the Hoback River.
In recognition of that milestone, fly fishing equipment manufacturer The Orvis Company has donated a complete fly rod, reel and line combo to the person who achieves that accomplishment. In addition, the Game and Fish will give LeClair a Cutt-Slam shirt and patch.
To complete the Cutt-Slam, anglers need to catch Wyoming’s four subspecies of cutthroat trout in their native range in Wyoming. The four subspecies are the Yellowstone, Snake River, Bonneville and Colorado River cutthroat trout. All who achieve this accomplishment receive a certificate listing the name of the angler, color artwork of the four subspecies and notation on the date and location of each catch.
LeClair said going after his Cutt-Slam was a great experience. “I was able to see new country and fish different waters than the ones I normally fish,” the Riverton native said. “It involved a bit of driving to get to the various streams I fished, but it was well worth it. The country was beautiful and I caught a lot of fish everywhere I went.”
In addition to his Snake River cutthroat from the Hoback River, LeClair also fished the Ham’s Fork River for his Colorado River cutthroat, Hobble Creek for his Bonneville and the Wiggin’s Fork for his Yellowstone cutthroat. LeClair said all of his fish were caught on a size-14 parachute Purple Haze dry fly.
“Reaching this milestone in the program is a tribute to our native trout,” said Mark Fowden, chief of the Fisheries Division. “Although the 1,000th angler was also a Wyoming native, this program has attracted fly fishing enthusiasts from all over the country. We thank Orvis for their help promoting the program.”
Through its 17 years, the Cutt-Slam has become very popular. The program has been featured on television shows, fly fishing magazines and numerous newsletters of fly fishing groups. Typically most entries are received in late summer and fall when fishing conditions in high mountain streams are usually very good. This year is no exception — more than 40 entries have already been received and the Game and Fish anticipates many additional applications in the next few months.
The Cutt-Slam was the idea of the late Pinedale/Green River Fisheries Supervisor Ron Remmick who wanted to draw attention to the management efforts being done on behalf of the cutthroat. He looked at ways to profile Wyoming’s four cutthroat subspecies and the Cutt-Slam was born.
“And most certainly, this milestone is a wonderful tribute to Ron,” Fowden added. “His legacy as an innovative and stalwart fish manager lives on through the Cutt-Slam program.”
One of the key components of the Cutt-Slam is that each of the fish must be caught in their native range in Wyoming. Over the years, several of the cutthroat subspecies have been stocked in waters outside of their native drainages. Cutthroat caught in these waters do not meet the Cutt-Slam’s native range requirement. A map showing the native range of the different drainages where the four subspecies can be found is on the Game and Fish website wgfd.wyo.gov. Click on “Fish and Fishing” then scroll down to the Cutt-Slam program. In addition to the map, a Cutt-Slam application is provided. Also listed are phone numbers of the Game and Fish offices where anglers can contact biologists responsible for fisheries management in each drainage.
Anglers completing the slam have come from 44 states, the District of Columbia and several foreign countries. To qualify, an angler needs to provide a photograph of each fish and information on the date of catch and water where it was caught. There is no minimum size requirement. Releasing fish is encouraged and may be required depending on the regulations for different waters.
(Stock photo of a Yellowstone cutthroat trout from here.)