Idaho anglers of all skill levels are invited to participate in the Western Native Trout Challenge and earn bragging rights while helping the Western Native Trout Initiative conserve 21 species of native trout.
“No one appreciates the beauty and value of wild, native trout more than anglers,” said Jim Fredericks, Chief of Fisheries for Idaho Fish and Game. “The Western Native Trout Challenge is a great way to highlight the diversity of trout species we have in Idaho and encourage anglers to explore and appreciate the beauty of the habitats they live in.”
The Western Native Trout Challenge invites anglers to help celebrate this legacy by catching native trout and char in each of the 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 also be designated as a “Master Caster” with rewards to match.
Idaho and 11 other states where these native trout can be found, such as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming are partnering in the effort, along with the U.S. Forest Service, the federal Bureau of Land Management and Trout Unlimited.
Anglers can get details on which fish to catch and where to find them by registering at WesternNativeTroutChallenge.org. Registration is $25 per adult and free for anglers 17 and under. The vast majority (92 percent) of the fee will go toward helping conserve native trout populations for future generations to also enjoy.
“We’re thrilled to be launching this fun way to support native trout conservation across the West,” said WNTI Coordinator Therese Thompson. “For every $25 program registration fee, $23 will go directly back to conservation projects that are helping native trout populations thrive. We want anglers to learn about these unique species and where they can go to catch them. In addition, catching the selected species helps conserve them by promoting angling and fishing license sales for native trout species, which also supports conservation efforts. It’s a wonderful way to help conserve these beautiful species, in beautiful places, at your own pace.”