Like many anglers, there is a certain thrill to catching trout or salmon in its native environment. Where no artificial influence of introduction has been made by man. Where you escape the crowds to witness the headwaters just the way God made it...giving the feeling as if you are seeing the world as Lewis and Clark saw it for the first time.
My friend (and current WV NLC Rep) Chris inspired me into this cult religion of native trout maniacs. I believe the only three subspecies of native cutthroat left for him to catch are the Coastal, Whitehorse Basin, and the Alvord. There aren't many anglers like him who take their annual angling trips each year to go to a different part of the world just to catch 5" trout in their native habitat. Not many at all. But there are some. Hopefully those people will discover this group.
Sure there are always debates raging whether a certain subspecies is really taxonomically seperate or if a certain subspecies is pure or even exists. This is a good place for those debates. However, for the sake of THIS DISCUSSION lets just keep it to what species, watersheds, states...however you keep count...that you have caught native trout in including those YOU consider native. We can split hairs in a separate topic.
I'm nowhere near my friend Chris on the life list. Not even in the ballpark.
- Westslope Cutt - MT
- Redside Rainbow (Deschutes) - OR
- Colorado River Cutt - CO
- Rio Grande Cutt - CO
- Greenback Cutt - CO
- Brook Trout - NC, TN, VA, WV, MD, PA
I've also caught golden trout in MT, arctic grayling in MT & CO, kokanee salmon, and others...but not in historic native streams so they're not included.
In my home state of West Virginia, I estimate that I have caught native brook trout in 200-300 different streams. I used to keep a list by the year and would easily get to 60+ each year since I like to have brookie marathon days where I try to catch native trout in as many different tributaries within a watershed in a single day as possible. Sometimes hiking a mile or two, catch a fish on first cast, then hump it back out to the car to get to the next trailhead.
The hashtag of choice here can easily be #PSYCHO
But I prefer #EcoAngling. The Ecology of these populations and how their genotypes have remained (somewhat?) intact is a story of its own for each fragmented quilt patch. I can't get enough of that story!
So what's YOUR life list?