In Utah, the Yellowstone Cutthroat is found in the far North-West region of the State, in one river drainage only, the Raft River drainage. Most of this drainage can be found in the Sawtooth National Forest in Utah. The creeks in this drainage are small and brush covered, very technical and improvised fishing are a must to catch the fish in these mountains.
That road will lead you the State line with Idaho at the foot of these mountains. After crossing the State line there is a dirt road that turns off of the main road and follows the State line for a while. After taking a turn on the road and entering Utah these mountains loom in front of you. The road journeys through land that is remote and yet man has etched his place amid it and there is proof everywhere of how difficult that can be.
Farmland follows the road, interspersed are houses that have either fallen apart, have begun to fall apart; and the occasional new house. The houses that have fallen apart far outweigh the others, yet man continues to chisel his existence into this rugged world.
At first I decided to fish One-Mile Creek. The stream immediately gets small. A large step easily clears the stream, making walking up it easily. After fishing for about an hour and a half, fishing One-Mile Creek was fruitless. Deciding to drive further up the Canyon, I quickly ran into snow. Looking at the gas gauge, I should have listened to the sign that sad there were no services for so many miles. At that point I wasn't sure if I would have enough gas to travel up Sawmill Canyon and still make it back to Snowville, while at that moment I still had enough to get back to Snowville if there were no other adventures.
Once I was back to the Sawtooth Forest, Sawmill Canyon was the next destination. The creek in Sawmill Canyon, while still small, was bigger than One-Mile Creek. The road follows the creek, staying on the ridge instead of in the valley so it becomes a small hike down to the creek. This creek is a lot more overgrown and requires dapping as the primary technique, very few places allow for any type of casting.
Looking ahead there was one more little eddie that was going to be the place. After casting into that, I would turn around and head home. Making my way up to the target, I looked down and saw a very small eddie, too small for anything. Oh well, I'll toss in my fly and at least say I tried. Immediately there was a hit on the small orange stimulator but I missed the hook-up. Knowing that there was a fish in that spot, I backed up on the hillside and sat for a minute or two, trying to gather myself for what was probably the only chance I would get again.
I crouched down and made my way into casting range and tossed the stimulator back in. A quick hit and the hook was set. While small, I had my first fish of the Utah Cutthroat Slam in my hand, the elusive Yellowstone Cutthroat. I released the fish back into its home and turned around. Ecstatic in the half-light of the evening.