Ogden River Restoration Project

My good friend over at FishGear, Tyler Skeen has been involved with the Ogden River Restoration.  There have been many articles and new stories about this project and we wanted to share.  Check out the video on this article to see the 22 inch rainbow trout they are putting in this river.  I didn’t know their were fish that big in the Ogden River.  Also with the upcoming Fly Fishing Film tour stop in Ogden there will be money raised and given to this project.  We will be giving away tickets to this showing on our blog so stay tuned if you want FREE tickets.


Below is the article taken from the Connect2utah.com site


The Ogden River runs right through the middle of the city. This river has had over 100 years of abuse and neglect and now the city and a host of others are doing something about it.

It was one year ago that Ogden City announced their plans for the Ogden River Restoration Project. The river from Gibson Avenue to Washington Boulevard was not a place you would find many fisherman, let alone families. Abandoned houses, litter and industrial waste kept most people from enjoying this river. But since last January a lot has changed.

“We found trash dated back to the 1870’s,” said engineer Crystal Young, Ogden River Restoration Project. “This is a good example of how the river has been filled by urban development in past practices. And so you can see all of this concrete and cars and trash has filled this native bank and buried these trees and built these banks up to where I’m standing now. All of this is going to be excavated down to the tree level and pulled back as you can see upstream in sections we’ve completed.”

The river bank and the riparian zone has been restored to its more natural state. Thousands of tons of debris has been removed.

They’ve taken out five to seven whole cars, about 14,000 tons of concrete, several car parts, thousands of tons of scrap metal, lots and lots of tires, about 250 cubic yards of shattered glass.

“Up near the brewery, it was a layer about six feet deep,” said Clint Ormond.

But this project is much more than just removing the garbage. Over four thousand tons of boulders have been placed on the river edge to stabilize the banks and put into the river to create habitat for fish. 40 thousand new plants will be planted and these storm water returns have been built to filter the cities storm drains.

“As the storm water drains in here, the plants and the pond itself will capture the garbage and the sediment from the streets. Keep a lot of the salt and oils captured in these ponds and keep it out of the river,” Clint said.

“We’ve tried to make aspects all along this project for everybody. We’ve got some great backdrops here. We’d like to see people playing in the river, fishing, taking pictures. We want to give a little piece of nature right in downtown,” Justin Anderson, Ogden City Engineer.

Fishermen say the restoration project is making a world of difference.

Lee Salazar has been fishing the Ogden river since he was a boy, “Not too bad. Shoot I’ll take them home and fillet them. My wife has been telling me go get me some fish.”

Lee says he’s seen rapid improvements.

“Two months ago, there was beat up houses that people had burned and it looks beautiful now. Compared to the way it used to look, I love it.”

The Ogden River has a good population of brown trout. But last fall, the DWR stocked this portion of the river with thousands of 10 to 12 inch rainbow trout and just last December.

The DWR released an additional 600 18-22 inch rainbow trout some pushing five pounds.

“We have been stocking for a number of years the upper reach of the Ogden River where there is better habitat than there was down here historically. But ever since Ogden City and the other partners have implemented this large scale restoration project there’s actually habitat here in the lower reaches,” said Ben Nadolski, DWR Aquatics Biologist.

“The difference is transformational Adam, it’s a night and day difference. It’s actually transforming a river back into a river,” Nadolski said.

“And those fish is what we want to promote. Hopefully someday we can even call this a Blue Ribbon Fisher. That would be a goal somewhere in the future where we can sustain that growth. We love this river and we are setting it up, it’s expensive, it’s costing a lot of money,” said Bob Geier, Ogden City River Coordinator.

Funding for the $5M restoration project has come from, Ogden city, the DWR, the Utah Water Quality Board, Trout Unlimited and others. But they still need 1.5 million dollars to complete the project and you can help. To donate, contact the United Way of Northern Utah and designate your donation to the Ogden River Restoration Project.

“The community deserves a place that they can connect with nature again and have a place where they can come and recreate in the outdoors,” said Chrystal. “I just think it’s going to be the greatest community asset to Ogden.”

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6 Responses to “Ogden River Restoration Project”

  1. kglissmeyer Says:

    The Ogden River I consider my original “Home Water”. I grew up fishing it and learning its secrets. For years I fished the canyon stretch with spinners and single-egg setups and caught a lot of fish. Later, after returning to my flyfishing roots I loved to fish the lower river starting at Wall Avenue downriver. We would park in the Lady’s of Lace parking lot and fish down. We’d always pick up a good brown our two from behind submerged shopping carts, tires and refrigerators. Glad to see this taking place, but very saddened to see the DWR polluting the brown trout population by planting so many rainbows. I love the bows as much as anyone, but if you are going to such an effort and expense to restore this gem of a river, then lean towards the browns that have been there for years.



  2. Larry Tullis Says:

    I agree that some action was called for on the Ogden River in downtown Ogden, such as trash removal and habitat improvement, but what I have seen was a complete and rather ugly restyling of the river, and forgive my ignorance, but I don’t think it was for the better!

    I’m not sure why so many trees were removed. Afterwards the bare ground was covered in erosion cloth and then more small trees were replanted right where they were cut down Most of the boulders mentioned in the article were put down like rip-rap to stabilize banks or to create ugly wing dams and weird back eddies, not to provide natural character to the river or better holes for the trout. It looks now more like a water park than a place to “connect with nature”.

    The wild browns were quite plentiful before and often of a generous size for an urban fishery before the ravages of the rebuilding occurred. The fish were chased out of many holes by the construction and I’m sure the fish and game planted the other fish to make up for the lack of resident fish in the reconstructed water.

    I don’t believe than man can design a better river than God can…only be a good steward. I’m hoping that the floods this year will put some nature back into a very unnatural looking river corridor but I’m afraid that it will take many years to return to anything resembling nature.

    It may not be a popular view but I needed to say something. Thanks for letting me vent.


    Big Hoss Reply:

    great points…. you can vent here anytime.


    Ogden Boy Reply:

    I understand your resentment of man trying to design a river compared to god’s natural creation. However, I doubt this river was originally designed with all this Gartner they took out of it. So while agree with your original point, I disagree with your inability to see good in the final outcome; which is to restore Ogden’s natural beauty. Though this looks too man made now, this is better than the garbage and filth which was once here.



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