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South Jordan Journal

South Jordan residents get to the water on Free Fishing Day

Oct 24, 2019 04:07PM ● By Libby Allnatt

Dallen Ormond and his son, Cade, take part in Free Fishing Day. (Libby Allnatt/City Journals)

By Libby Allnatt  |  [email protected]

South Jordan community members braved the chance of rain to reel in some fun on Free Fishing Day. 

The event on Sept. 28, hosted by the city of South Jordan, was one of many activities happening as part of the Get to the River Festival, a monthlong celebration of the Jordan River and its surrounding areas across several cities and counties. 

Natalie Domino, special event coordinator for the city of South Jordan, said the purposes of the September festival were “to get people to the river to show what they can do, to have fun, to help clean it up and to educate people.”

Domino said the ponds are stocked with fish on a regular basis by the Division of Wildlife Resources.

Free Fishing Days have been held before on a statewide scale by The Division of Wildlife Resources, including this past summer on June 8. The cost of a fishing permit varies, from $5 for a 365-day license for a 12- to 13-year-old resident, to $33 per year for an adult multi-year permit, according to the Utah Fishing 2019 Guidebook.

The ponds on Sept. 28 contained catfish and rainbow trout. Poles were provided, and no fishing license was required to take part in the activities, making Free Fishing Day an event that welcomed everyone, including families and children, rather than avid fishers only. 

On the cloudy fall day, visitors lined the edges of the ponds waiting for bites on their poles, some celebrating and snapping photographs with the fish they caught.

For some young visitors, the event was their first experience with the sport. 

South Jordan resident Scott Randle visited Free Fishing Day with his son Wyatt, 4, who was fishing for the first time.

They caught a large rainbow trout in one of the ponds, “a big guy,” and planned to take it home to cook. 

Randle said his wife heard about this particular event via social media.

“It’s about keeping it clean, conservation and respecting the outdoors,” Randle said of the importance of residents learning about the waters.

The fun went beyond the waters with education-focused activities around the ponds. Visitors could learn information and participate in games at a Loveland Living Planet Aquarium stand, where a model of a Utah landscape helped demonstrate the importance of wetland soil and its role in preventing flooding. 

Domino said the festival’s Free Fishing Day, which was also held in 2017, serves to give people a taste of an activity they might not know about otherwise and to educate people about the wildlife around them. 

“A lot of people don’t know about the fishing ponds,” Domino said. “It’s like hey, this really fun thing is here, and it’s something you can enjoy all year around.”