OGDEN — Ogden’s urban anglers have 600 new fish waiting for them in Fort Buenaventura’s pond.
On Thursday, the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources dropped hundreds of rainbow trout into the pond nearby the park’s visitor center. The trout are former broodstock from a state hatchery and clock in at an average length of 17 inches.
Broodstock are used for breeding purposes and when their production levels drop, the DWR will take them to community fisheries like the pond to live out the rest of their lives.
“These’ll be harvested within the year,” said Cody Edwards, the DWR’s assistant aquatic program manager for the northern region. “Once the word gets out, there’ll be a ton of people here.”
The trout made their way to Ogden from the J. Perry Egan Hatchery in Bicknell, a four-hour journey, in water tanks on the back of a semi-trailer truck. When the truck arrived at Fort Buenaventura, it backed in close to the pond and DWR workers attached a chute to the first tank on the truck. Once the water started draining out the chute, the fun began.
Trout flew out of the chute in three and fours, airborne for the briefest moments, before they landed with a splash in the pond. As the water lowered in the tank, DWR workers would push any remaining trout out through the chute with a broom.
The fish recovered quickly from their transfer, swimming away from shore and moving deeper into the pond, where many could be seen surfacing throughout the afternoon.
Adding such large fish to community ponds provides an easy opportunity for people who can’t get to larger bodies of water to get a trophy-sized fish or to get younger anglers excited about the sport, Edwards said.
The Fort Buenaventura pond has a limit of two fish daily and anglers 12 and older must have a license. Other fish in the pond include catfish, bluegill, largemouth bass and common carp.
A community fishery
The trout stocking marks Fort Buenaventura pond’s second summer as a community fishery. In 2018, Weber County and the DWR partnered together to bring new life to the pond by dredging it and adding more habitat features.
Kent Sorenson, assistant habitat manager for the DWR’s northern region, said before the work on the pond began, there was “no fishing and nothing good to look at.”
The water was only about a foot and half deep, which wasn’t an ideal environment for lots of fish, so the county and DWR had to remove nearly 900 dump truck loads of sediment and silt from the pond. That increased the depth to around 4-6 feet on average and around 8-9 feet in some areas.
Around 120 submerged habitat structures were added to the pond floor and both organizations cleaned up the shoreline, keeping some natural habitats like overhanging trees around and adding some rocky points both for the fish and anglers. The project cost an estimated $30,000.
“If nothing else, it shows the strength of partnerships. The county couldn’t have with[out the] DWR and the DWR couldn’t have done it without the county,” Sorenson said. “We had knowhow and funding resources on one side, and the equipment and enthusiasm to get project done on the other side. We came up with a project that was way better than anything of us could’ve done individually.”
Weber County director of parks and recreation Todd Ferrario said the DWR has been a “phenomenal” partner to work with and that the public response to the refreshed pond has been stellar.
“It’s been enjoyed by thousands,” Ferrario said. “It’s really nice to see moms, dads, grandpas bring their littles one out here.”
Sorenson praised the work being done at Fort Buenaventura, including other recent additions like the disc golf course and the outdoor archery range.
“It’s just a really nice amenity to the Weber County Park system. It’s getting to be the crown jewel,” he said. “(The pond) is part of a one-stop source recreation area.”