Fly Fishing Parley's Creek in the Late 1940's

Fly Fishing Parley’s Creek in the Late 1940’s

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You might be asking, where the heck is Parley’s Creek? Well, this little gem was where I spent many hours fishing. I grew up in our family home, just north of the Salt Lake Country Club Golf Course. During the winter we built ski jumps on the hills of the golf course and in the summer I fished in the creek.

Parley’s Creek flowed out of Mountain Dell Reservoir, down the canyon and past Suicide Rock into the valley below. Legend has it that Suicide Rock was so named because an Indian princess had jumped to her death in early times. Before the I-15 and I-215 freeways were constructed, the stream was very inviting to youngsters like myself.  We had a swimming hole and the fishing was quite good.

Parley’s Creek held an abundance of cutthroat trout up to 14 inches long, but it was also brushy and difficult to fish. That is probably why not many adults fished there. The stream flowed through the private property of the country club and down into the old prison farm. In my youth the Utah State Penitentiary was located where Sugar House Park is today. I mostly fished the creek along the golf course. Occasionally I’d fish the prison farm where I might catch a brown trout.

My dad helped me build a shorter creek rod to use in the brushy conditions. It was only about five feet long and I would “poke” it through the brush to fish. I’d often use a live grasshopper without weight and drift it down the current. To my knowledge, grasshopper flies had yet to be invented. With this method I could catch a half-dozen fish in an afternoon and probably find as many golf balls.

It’s too bad there aren’t many streams more suitable for kids to fish. It used to be that McLeod Creek, the small stream running north out of Park City was called “kids creek” down to where it crossed Highway 224. Perhaps we should encourage young fly fishermen to explore this creek in hopes of bringing neighborhood fishing back to the forefront.

Jan Peterson