Kentucky trio completes famous Wyoming Cut Slam hunting challenge
Cheney, Wyoming. – As a resident of Springfield, Kentucky, and a subscriber to “Wyoming Wildlife,” Walter Montgomery read a story in the magazine stating that no one from Kentucky had completed the Cutt-Slam in Wyoming – a fishing challenge by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department that hunts the four subspecies Local trout. Once Montgomery read that, it became clear what he had to do.
“Challenge accepted. I’m coming whether I can convince anyone else to go or not.”
Montgomery and two of his friends from Louisville, Kentucky, Steve Couric and Michael Broome, traveled to western Wyoming this summer and completed the Cutt-Slam tournament. The three documented their catches from the Colorado River, Snake River, Bonneville and Yellowstone. The trio was in Wyoming for about nine days, and Montgomery said they drove 4,022 miles round-trip.
Prior to 2023, Kentucky was one of two states without a resident to complete the Cutt-Slam in Wyoming. The only state now is Rhode Island.
“It’s been an absolutely epic and wonderful journey,” Montgomery said.
The adventure took the three anglers to the Pinedale area where they fished the Colorado River from Horse Creek. They caught the Snake River cutthroat from Grays River, the Bonneville from the Smiths Fork River and finished the trip by capturing the Yellowstone cutthroat from Soda Butte Creek near Yellowstone National Park.
Montgomery said he caught seven fish during the entire trip, and there were times when the three anglers got stressed as they moved from creek to creek looking for the killer strike.
“If you’re the last person to get the fish, the pressure just keeps getting higher and higher. It’s happened to me once, and twice to Steve,” Montgomery said.
The final stage of the tournament proved to be the toughest as it took the trio nearly three days to catch Yellowstone. A summer rainstorm and a lot of other hunters in the area didn’t help their cause.
Couric said going after the four cutthroat species was fun and challenging, but he enjoyed going after Bonneville the most because of a unique set of circumstances.
“When we were on the Smiths Fork River, beavers had dammed much of it. We were fishing in all these beaver ponds, and it was a challenge for me.”
All three are members of the Derby City Fly Fishers, a fly fishing club in the Louisville area. Koric said they talked to the club about their Wyoming adventure.
“All the cutthroat fish were amazing and elegant, and the scenery and the areas we were in were absolutely beautiful,” Koric said. “We talked to our hunting club in hopes of stimulating some additional interest in people going out there and doing it.”
For the sixth year in a row, more than 100 anglers achieved the Wyoming Cutt-Slam Championship by catching and documenting the four local subspecies of cutthroat trout. In 2023, 168 anglers have accomplished the feat, bringing the total number of anglers to 2,380 since the Cutt-Slam’s inception in 1996.
Other Wyoming Game and Fish Management hunting challenges continue to grow in popularity.
The Master Angler program was created in 2019 and rewards anglers who catch specific game fish species of specific lengths. Last year, 965 anglers earned the Master Angler title, bringing the total to 5,113 since 2019. Of that total there were 289 Trophy Anglers and 44 Ultimate Anglers. The Trophy Angler Award is given to those who catch five species of game fish to a qualifying length. Ultimate Angler is a 10 species of game fish with qualifying length. Brayden Baker, a 15-year-old from Lander, joins the Ultimate Angler Club in 2023.
People can learn more about the different fishing challenges by visiting the Game and Fish website.