Tired… dragging… whipped… and ultimately satisfied, after hiking up and down throughout the Colorado high country for the past three days with the hope of accomplishing one of my longest-standing fly fishing goals: The Colorado Cutt Slam. Three species of native cutthroat trout–the Colorado River strain, greenback cutthroats, and Rio Grande cutthroats, in three consecutive days. (This is a greenback.)
Mission accomplished. Fishing with my buddy Chris Hunt of Trout Unlimited, (check out his blog on out trip) we first bagged a bunch of Colorado River cutties fishing the Roan Plateau, north of Rifle. Then we got our greenbacks fishing the alpine heights around Leadville. Today we completed the slam by catching Rio Grande cutthroats in the La Garita mountains of southern Colorado.
Truthfully, we didn’t hook a fish over a foot long. But there is something undeniably special about catching native species in wild environs. All on dry flies.
Sometimes (at least for me) it isn’t about how big, or how many… it’s about, what, where, and how. And the lesson learned on this odyssey was twofold: first, the treasures of solitude and eager trout are there for the asking if you’re willing to hike, bushwhack, and sweat a bit; second, these fish still hang in a very fragile balance, and it’s up to us to keep them. I’ll have a lot more coming on this topic, including some killer underwater video I took of cutthroats in their habitat.
So what is your angling goal? What’s your mission? And why? Whatever it is… I wish you luck. It feels good when you achieve it.