California's Heritage Trout Challenge

by Gary Heffley

Attention dedicated trout anglers! Looking for unique angling experiences without the expense of traveling out of state?  Take on the California Heritage Trout Challenge, where the pursuit will take anglers into some of the most beautiful regions of the state, often where few anglers venture. Following the documentation parameters set forth by the CDFW program, landing any six of the qualifying species will complete the challenge.  Successful anglers will receive an attractive certificate (suitable for framing) detailing your personal accomplishment. For some California trout anglers completion of the challenge is a crowning lifetime angling accomplishment.

To qualify, anglers must document the successful catch of six of the following trout: Coastal Cutthroat, Lahonton Cutthroat, Pauite Cutthroat Trout, Little Kern River Golden Trout, California Golden Trout, Coastal Rainbow, Kern River Rainbow, Eagle Lake Rainbow, McCloud River Redband, Goose Lake Redband or Warner Lake Rainbow.

Heritage trout have been identified as sub-species native to specific watersheds and drainages within the state, and while some species have been transplanted to other waters within the state, only those native trout landed within their recognized native drainage qualify for the challenge. Golden Trout are stocked into many High Sierra lakes, but to qualify, must be taken in the recognized drainage only. Eagle Lake Rainbows are stocked throughout the state including into Eagle Lake itself, but again, only native trout landed in the Eagle Lake drainage qualify.

Many of the Heritage Trout waters are not directly accessible by vehicle and can be reached only by hiking or packing into pristine wilderness areas. The effort will be as rewarding as the challenge itself.

For specific qualifying waters to seek each of these trout, visit the California Heritage Trout Challenge link on the CDFW website. It should be noted that the Silver Creek drainage that is home to the Pauite Cutthroat is currently closed to all angling as the watershed is the subject of major stream and fishery restoration.

Gary Heffley has been a valued contributor to MyOutdoorBuddy for over 10 years serving as manager, sales representative and reporter for much of Northern California. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves to fish and write about his adventures. He has a long history in the Sporting Goods field and uses that extensive experience to impart his wisdom in his writing. 

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