New Native Trout Challenge Kicks Off in 12 Western States

Deep in the West, under a secret rock, in a cool stream, lies a prize worth finding. Anglers of all levels are invited to participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge and put the lure of the West on their bucket list. In addition to earning bragging rights at the Expert, Advanced and Master Levels, participants will help the Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) conserve 21 species of native trout, forever.

The 12 states where these native trout can be found are Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The state fish and wildlife agencies in each of the twelve states are partnering on the effort, along with USDA Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited.

“The Nevada Department of Wildlife is very excited about the opportunity to partner with WNTI in this exciting new program” said NDOW’s Chief of Fisheries, Jon Sjöberg.  “The Western Native Fish Challenge complements and enhances NDOW’s own Native Fish Slam program and will help anglers better understand and appreciate the importance and conservation of native trout species both in Nevada and throughout the western United States.  We want anglers to get outdoors and experience these wonderful fish and landscapes, and this is another amazing way to do that”.

Native trout are the embodiment of the West. The wild rivers, the alpine lakes, and the trickling arroyos — the fiber of Western geography — are the habitat for the redband, the cutthroat, and the Gila. The landscape and lore of the West is that of the trout.

The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of 12 Western states, at their own pace. There are three levels of achievement: Participants who catch six trout species across four states will earn “Expert Caster” rewards. Those who catch 12 trout species across eight states will earn “Advanced Caster” rewards. And those who catch 18 species across all 12 states will not only enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, they will be designated as a “Master Caster” with rewards to match.

Get guidance on which fish to catch and maps on where to find them by signing up each participant at $25 per adult (free for 17 and under) for the program. Sign up at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org The vast majority (92%) of the fee will help save native trout across the West for generations to come.

The Western Native Trout Initiative (WNTI) is a program of the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and a nationally recognized partnership under the National Fish Habitat Partnership program that works cooperatively across 12 Western states to conserve 21 native trout and char species across their historic range. Since its inception in 2006, WNTI has directed more than $29 million in federal, public and private funds to serve 139 priority native trout conservation projects. WNTI and partners have removed 87 barriers to fish passage, reconnected or improved 1,130 miles of native trout habitat and put in place 30 protective fish barriers to conserve important native trout populations.