Kentucky trio completes Wyoming Cutt-Slam

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Walter Montgomery and two friends from Louisville, Kentucky, Steve Kuric and Michael Broome drove to western Wyoming this summer and completed the Cutt-Slam.

Wyo4News staff, [email protected] [PRESS RELEASE]

January 19, 2024 — As a resident of Springfield, Kentucky, and subscriber to Wyoming Wildlife, Walter Montgomery read a story in the magazine that stated no one from Kentucky had completed Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam — a fishing challenge by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to catch the four native subspecies of cutthroat trout. Once Montgomery read that, it was clear what he had to do.

“Challenge accepted. I’m coming whether I can get anybody else to go or not,” he said. Montgomery and two friends from Louisville, Kentucky, Steve Kuric and Michael Broome drove to western Wyoming this summer and completed the Cutt-Slam. All three documented their catches of Colorado River, Snake River, Bonneville, and Yellowstone cutthroat. The trio was in Wyoming for about nine days, and Montgomery said he drove 4,022 miles round-trip.

Prior to 2023, Kentucky was one of two states without a resident who completed Wyoming’s Cutt-Slam. The only state now is Rhode Island. “It was an epic trip and absolutely wonderful,” Montgomery said.

The adventure took the three anglers to the Pinedale area, where they caught the Colorado River cutthroat from Horse Creek. They caught the Snake River cutthroat from the Greys River, the Bonneville from the Smiths Fork River, and ended the journey by catching 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 pressure set in for all three anglers as they moved from stream to stream in quest of the slam. “If you were the last person to get your fish, the pressure mounted higher and higher. It happened to me once and twice for Steve,” Montgomery said.

The final leg of the slam proved to be the most difficult as it took nearly three days for the trio to catch a Yellowstone cutthroat. A summer rainstorm and a lot of other anglers in the area didn’t help their cause.

Kuric said going after all four cutthroat species was fun and challenging, but he enjoyed going after the Bonneville the most due to a unique set of circumstances. “Where we were on the Smiths Fork River, a lot of it was dammed up by beavers. We were fishing in all these beaver ponds, and that was challenging to me,” he said.

All three are members of Derby City Fly Fishers, a fly-fishing club in the Louisville area. Kuric said they gave a talk to the club about their Wyoming adventure. “All the cutthroats were spectacular and neat fish to catch, and the scenery and areas we were at were absolutely beautiful,” Kuric said. “We gave a talk to our fishing club to hopefully stimulate some additional interest in people going out there and taking that on.”

For the sixth consecutive year, more than 100 anglers accomplished the Wyoming Cutt-Slam by catching and documenting the state’s four native subspecies of cutthroat trout. In 2023, 168 anglers accomplished the feat, which brings the total number of anglers to 2,380 since Cutt-Slam’s inception in 1996.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s other fishing challenges continue to grow in popularity. The Master Angler program was created in 2019 and awards anglers for catching certain species of game fish of specific lengths. Last year, 965 anglers achieved Master Angler status, which brings the total to 5,113 since 2019. Among that total were 289 Trophy Anglers and 44 Ultimate Anglers. Trophy Angler is given to those who catch five species of game fish at a qualifying length. Ultimate Angler is ten game fish species at a qualifying length. Brayden Baker, a 15-year-old from Lander, joined the Ultimate Angler Club in 2023.

Learn more about the various fishing challenges by visiting the Game and Fish website.