The Challenge: Catch, photograph, and release 6 different qualifying species of trout from their historic California drainages.* For more information: Heritage Trout Challenge

Trip 1:

Upon learning about the California Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Heritage Trout Challenge I was eager to hit the road to take part in the challenge. I had already caught countless of Coastal rainbows in my years living in California so I only needed 5 more species to complete the challenge.

The second fish I wanted to catch was the California Golden trout so one weekend in November of 2013 I headed to Inyo National Forest. While I caught a golden that trip it would later turn that it wouldn’t qualify for the HTC as I didn’t catch it in the fish’s historic drainage – a good learning experience.

California Golden Trout

California Golden

Trip 2:

Fast forward to October 2014, I hit the road again for a longer expedition. On this trip I would travel all over northern California in search of 5 species: McCloud River redband, Eagle Lake rainbow, Goose Lake redband, Warner Lakes redband, and coastal cutthroat. That outing I caught all but the Warner Lakes redband – it was a bit late in the day to seek out that species.

Trip 3:

A month later I was back on the road to go for the Little Kern golden, Kern River rainbow, and a qualifying California golden. That trip was a complete success as I caught all three. I completed the challenge!

The Certificate:

HTC Certificate

HTC Certificate


Trip 4:

I had 3 remaining species to catch in order to have landed all 11 Heritage trout. On July 3, 2017 I caught a Lahontan cutthroat. Only 2 species to go!

Trip 5:

On August 12, 2017 I headed north to catch the Warner Lakes redband. Caught 2 that day, along with another Goose Lake redband. Only the Paiute cutthroat remains… but might be some time before I’ll be angling for that species as efforts are underway to rejuvenate the population in their historic watershed.


*Thank you to the California Department of Fish & Wildlife who not only created this program but also directed me to where some of these qualifying trout reside!