Slam reaches record number of yearly completions & Releases new medallion

A Utah Cutthroat Slam Press Release

The Utah Cutthroat Slam saw a record number of completions in 2023 and is releasing the newest medallion for anglers who complete the fishing challenge.

Proudly displaying all the Utah Cutthroat Slam medallions – Photo courtesy of Aaron Smith

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and Utah Trout Unlimited launched the slam in 2016 as a challenge for anglers to catch the four subspecies of cutthroat trout that are native to Utah in their native ranges, as well as a way to raise funds for cutthroat trout conservation. The original medallion was awarded to the first 1,000 anglers to complete the slam, a milestone that was reached in September 2022. Last year, the partners of the slam announced a new series of four medallions — one for each of the cutthroat trout subspecies — that anglers could earn when completing the slam.

From left to right, the front face of the Yellowstone Cutthroat medallion, the back face of the Original medallion, and the front of the Colorado River Cutthroat medallion – Photo courtesy of Aaron Loomis

“This has been a banner year for the Utah Cutthroat Slam with the release of another new medallion and a record 245 completions this year,” Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Sportfish Coordinator Trina Hedrick said. “To date, there have been more than 1,302 completions of the slam, and we are grateful to the many anglers who participate and help fund cutthroat trout restoration and outreach in Utah. We also appreciate our partners Utah Trout Unlimited, and others involved in these efforts.”

Aaron Smith releasing his Colorado River cutthroat – Photo courtesy of Aaron Loomis

The first species-specific medallion displayed a Colorado River cutthroat trout in full color designed specifically for the Utah Cutthroat Slam by artist Tim Johnson. That medallion was awarded for the next 250 completions, which only took a mere 14 months to reach. The second medallion in the series highlights the Yellowstone cutthroat trout, again featuring original art by Johnson. The Yellowstone medallion will be awarded until 1,500 slam completions are reached.

The Yellowstone and Colorado River cutthroat subspecies medallions, artwork from Tim Johnson – Photo courtesy of Aaron Smith

“I hope when participants receive a medallion for completing this angling journey and see my artwork on it, they will feel a little of what they felt when they met that fish in the water and that they feel proud to have contributed directly to native cutthroat trout restoration,” Johnson said.

A Colorado River cutthroat with its matching Slam medallion – Photo courtesy of Aaron Loomis

The new Yellowstone cutthroat trout medallion — like last year’s Colorado River cutthroat trout medallion — drove up interest in the Utah Cutthroat Slam, and more people completed the slam in 2023 than in any other single year since the slam began. More than 240 people completed the slam in 2023 and another 50 have already completed the slam in an effort to earn the newly released Yellowstone medallion. Currently, the Utah Cutthroat Slam has garnered nearly 4,900 registered anglers, raised more than $91,000 for native cutthroat trout conservation work and outreach, and anglers from all but two states have signed up for the slam.

The medallions take an icy plunge for this beautiful shot – Photo courtesy of Aaron Smith

“When we started the slam with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, we knew people would be interested in the program, but the response has been amazing and beyond our wildest expectations,” said Brett Prettyman, Utah Cutthroat Slam Program Director for Utah Trout Unlimited. “It is very rewarding to know we are getting people out on the water to fish for native subspecies while generating money to support cutthroat trout restoration work around the state. It’s a win-win situation for anglers and the fish.”

A Bonneville cutthroat caught for the Slam by Hayden Cook – Photo courtesy of Aaron Smith

Anyone interested in participating in the Utah Cutthroat Slam can learn more and register on the website.

Admiring the newest Yellowstone cutthroat medallion – Photo courtesy of Aaron Smith
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