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Alliance angler is first Nebraska Trout Slam recipient

Justin Powell
Justin Powell of Alliance holds a rainbow trout he caught at Nine Mile Creek near Minatare this week. (NEBRASKAland/Justin Haag)

ALLIANCE, Neb. — The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has its first official Trout Slam angler.

Justin Powell of Alliance was the first to meet the requirements of the new program, in which successful entries catch one of each purebred species of trout found in Nebraska – rainbows, browns, cutthroats and brooks.

Although Powell has caught all four species in one day in the past, it took him two this time. He caught the fish in the Pine Ridge and North Platte Valley over a two-day period in early February, about a week after the Commission announced the program.

Powell, a native of Scottsbluff who first pursued Panhandle trout with spinning gear in his youth and began fly-fishing in recent years, encourages anyone who is interested in stream fishing but has not done so to get out and give it a try.

“Until you get out there, you don’t realize how many trout are in our streams and the diversity of them,” he said. “There are actually pretty big trout, too. I’ve seen some over 20s (inches) that I haven’t had the privilege of catching, but they’re in there.”

Anglers who complete the Trout Slam receive a certificate and pin to recognize the achievement. Daryl Bauer, Commission fisheries outreach program manager, said anglers have submitted several applications with one or two species, but that Powell is the only one to complete the entire slam so far.

Those who would like to learn more about the program and submit their entries may visit outdoornebraska.org/troutslam.

About Justin Haag

Justin Haag has served the Commission as a public information officer in the Panhandle since 2013. His duties include serving as regional editor for NEBRASKAland Magazine. Haag was raised in southwestern Nebraska, where he developed a love for fishing, hunting and other outdoor pursuits. After earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Chadron State College in 1996, he worked four years as an editor and reporter at newspapers in Chadron and McCook. Prior to joining the Commission in 2013, he worked 12 years as a communicator at Chadron State, serving as the institution’s media and public relations coordinator the last five. He and his wife, Cricket, live in Chadron, and have two children.

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