Salt Lake City residents Karl Jones and Antonio Camarena had similar things to say later that evening as they tried their luck at Bountiful Lake, located just west of the Legacy Highway in a scenic wetlands complex.
"This is the closest one to my home," said Jones. "It's 10 minutes to get to the one here. I just started coming here. I looked online. There is lots of space."
Camarena said he comes to this spot about 20 minutes from his home almost every weekend in hopes of catching a trout or two. He said most of the anglers who use it are friendly.
I spent a recent rainy spring day driving from one end of Davis County to the other visiting the eight ponds. In an era where nearly everyone has something bad to say about government, I came away from the experience blown away. Though each of the eight urban fisheries had a unique personality, they were for the most part inviting. They are the kind of places where a family can hang out enjoying the scenery, feeding ducks, walking or biking a trail, enjoying a picnic, learning a bit about nature and, of course, fishing.
It was difficult to determine the popularity of the eight ponds on what was a mostly rainy day.
My suspicion, based on experiences with some of Salt Lake County's urban fishing areas, is that the catching isn't always great unless you happen to try your luck the day after a hatchery truck has planted some catchable rainbow trout. In all cases, there is a two-fish limit that encourages anglers to exercise catch-and-release techniques. The idea seems to be more about having a close-to-home place for an outdoor experience where there is a chance of catching something.
I would rate the Jensen Nature Park Pond in Syracuse as the best of the bunch. It is located on the edge of Great Salt Lake wetlands, a fact that brings many migratory birds to its shore. Amenities such as a fish-cleaning station, covered picnic tables, a bridge over part of the water, lawn, benches and rest rooms made this scenic spot impressive. It was part of a larger trail system, including one paved trail that was nearly two miles long one way.
Except for the Kaysville Ponds located adjacent to busy and noisy Interstate 15, these ponds are surprisingly serene. They remind me of a couple of the little ponds that used to be located near the Mill Creek home where I grew up. Some of them were downright idyllic. Farmington Pond, for example, is at the mouth of the canyon and offers great views of the valley below, especially the Lagoon theme park. While the Bountiful Lake is located next to a landfill and adjacent to the Legacy Highway, they offer surprising beauty, especially at sunset when the vegetation surrounding the area can turn golden.
They are the kind of places where kids can ride their bikes from home carrying a cheap rod, a hook or two and some worms and spend the afternoon. Many are adjacent to playgrounds, picnic areas and trails that provide choices for family members who may not wish to fish.
The idea behind these urban fisheries is simple. Give folks a close-to-home place to fish. From the looks of things, that formula has been successful.
Twitter @tribtomwharton Davis County Urban Fisheries
Bountiful Pond: Located on frontage road west of Legacy Highway. Take 500 South exit, head west and then north. Fish found at this 50-acre pond include largemouth bass, bluegill, bullhead, channel catfish, walleye, yellow perch, white bass and carp. Facilities include restrooms, picnic areas, trail system and fishing piers. It is wheelchair accessible.
Clinton Pond: This 4-acre facility is located at 2414 N. 3000 West in a mix of suburban homes and farmland in the town of Clinton. Hours are sunrise to 10 p.m. Expect to catch rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel cats. A nice grassy area and trail surrounds the pond, with benches interspersed around the water. It has wheelchair access.
Farmington Pond: Located just west of the mouth of Farmington Canyon on the road leading into the canyon, this scenic four-acre pond offers anglers rainbow, channel cats, bluegill and largemouth bass. It is closed in the winter. A fishing pier, cleaning station, trail system, picnic tables and rest rooms make this a popular family spot. It is wheelchair accessible.
Holmes Creek Reservoir: Located in east Layton just west of U.S. 89 and to the south of Gentile Street, this 35-acre pond offers anglers largemouth bass, black crappie, bluegill and channel catfish. There are no facilities here and access requires a steep walk from a few parking pullouts. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Jensen Nature Park Pond: This hard-to-find Syracuse Pond is worth seeking out for its beauty and facilities. To reach it, take the Antelope Drive exit No. 335 off I-15, take the highway west to 2000 West, turn left (south) to Bluff Road, then left (east) to 1300 West. Anglers can catch rainbow trout, largemouth bass, bluegill and yellow perch. Facilities include wheelchair access, a fish cleaning station, covered picnic areas, trails and restrooms.
Kaysville Ponds: Located just west of Kaysville's Main Street and part of the Utah State Botanical Gardens facility, there are four main ponds here. The complex is located at 50 W. between 550 and 900 South. Anglers can expect to catch rainbow trout, channel cats, largemouth bass and bluegill. Facilities include rest rooms, a cleaning station, picnic areas, trail system, a pier and benches. Wheelchair access is not available, though it might be possible to get a wheelchair on to a pier near the main parking area.
Maybey Pond: This 3.8-acre pond is located in the middle of an older subdivision and industrial area and adjacent to a youth center in Clearfield. Anglers can catch rainbow trout, black crappie, largemouth bass, bluegill and channel cats. There is a fishing pier, that could be wheelchair accessible though with a bit of effort and a grassy park area with a couple of picnic tables.
Steed Pond: Located at 300 N. 1000 West in Clearfield adjacent to a large city park, this 2.5-acre pond yields largemouth bass, bluegill, channel catfish, rainbow trout and carp. Facilities are limited to a few benches, though the adjacent Steed Park offers many nice amenities. It is not wheelchair accessible.
Source: Utah Division of Wildlife Resources