Your Salmonid Life List

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 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?



said on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
I haven't kept track, but that's a great idea — I'm going to start doing so.
said on Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013
Hey Philip, I agree with Brennan. This is a great "lister" idea. My son and I keep a journal of places we fished and what we caught. Adding the native trout in a historically correct stream intrigues the science and conservation side of me. Birders have their lists, why not anglers? Now to get sponsors for my "Big Year" on the fly! TU is helping rehabilitate a stream that runs into SLC, UT that will have native cutthroat and will be restored to the way the pioneers found it. This is a 3-5 year project. So when your ready to add Utah to your list, give us (Stonefly Society) a call. Project Info -
said on Friday, July 5th, 2013

Thanks guys.

Doug, I will def be heading to Utah for native cutt marathon (cuttslam) at some point. One of my old best friends from High School went on to work for USF&WS in Alaska for a few years out of college and is now in Salt Lake City. In addition to my friend Chris who has already fished Utah a few times I'm already getting pressure from both of these guys to pay Utah a visit soon.

said on Thursday, July 11th, 2013

I love this topic! I could talk about species and locations forever!

The nice thing about many of the species/sub-species is they were caught with a 6' 1wt bamboo built by Phil himself. I also hope to add 3-4 more states to my brookie list later this year when Phil and I attend the TU National Meeting.

Here's my current list:

Brook Trout  
- Native (WV, NY, PA, MD, VA, NC, TN)
- Introduced (MT, WY, CO, UT, CA)
Bull Trout
- Native (ID)

Greenback Cutthroat
- Native (CO)
Colorado River Cutthroat
- Native (CO, WY, UT)
Rio Grande Cutthroat
- Native (CO)
Yellowstone Cutthroat
- Native (WY)
Snake River Cutthroat
- Native (WY)
- Introduced (CO)
Bonneville Cutthroat
- Native (WY)
Westslope Cutthroat
- Native (ID)
Lahontan Cutthroat
- Native (CA)
- Introduced (OR, NV)
Paiute Cutthroat
- Native (CA)

Apache & Gila Trout
Apache Trout
- Native (AZ)
Gila Trout
- Native (NM)

Rainbow and Redband Trout
Columbia Basin Redband
- Native (ID)
McCloud River Redband
- Native (CA)
Goose Lake Redband
- Native (CA)
Warner Lakes Redband
- Native (CA)
Catlow Valley Redband
- Native (OR)
Harney-Mahleur Basin Redband
- Native (OR)
California Golden Trout
- Native (CA)
Little Kern Golden Trout
- Native (CA)
Kern River Rainbow
- Native (CA)

Arctic Grayling
- Introduced (CO, WY)
Landlocked Sockeye Salmon (Kokanee)
- Introduced (CO)
Brown Trout
- Introduced (WV, NY, PA, MD, VA, NC, TN, MT, WY, CO, UT, CA)
Mountain Whitefish
- Native (MT, WY)

On My Radar
Coastal Cutthroat
- Native (CA)
Whitehorse Basin Cutthroat
- Native (OR)
Alvord Cutthroat
- Native (OR)
Chewaucan Basin Redband
- Native (OR)
Fort Rock Basin Redband
- Native (OR)
Klamath Basin Redband
- Native (OR)



said on Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

Chris, you're an inspiration. At least to me. When I was growing up, being in the east, and just learning to fly fish as a teenager I used to look with wonder at the pages of fly fishing catalogs at the photos of brown trout on western rivers. Surely those places have special places in our hearts as evidenced by their attention and their ability to grow our sport. For some reason though, like a flat rock I've skipped right across that water and into those little pockets on the other side. I think the pursuit of native species is the game of choice for me. Thanks for inspiring me and others.


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