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Man remembers catching fish on State Street during 1983 flooding

Posted at 9:26 PM, May 31, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Forty years ago, State Street in Salt Lake City was transformed into a river as the community grappled with the challenge of excessive water.

One story from that time period adds a new twist to the concept of "gone fishing."

Alma Allred, the man in a well-known photo with a trout on State Street, remembered his experience during the unprecedented flooding event.

When managing numerous downtown parking facilities, Allred vividly recalled the disruption caused by the flooding.

"We couldn't get cars into the garages because there were rivers going around all of them," said Allred.

While Allred wasn't the one who actually caught the trout, he had his eyes set on it.

"While I'm standing there looking at this gravel and this river coming down State Street, here comes this rainbow trout," Allred recounted.

Unfortunately, the person standing next to him reached it first. "He had to go to school, and I wanted the fish!" Allred exclaimed.

Yet, like all fish stories, Allred struggled to find anyone who would believe him. Determined to capture evidence, he had a realization.

“I'm right next to the newspaper agency. I'm sure somebody there has a camera," he thought.

Allred managed to find someone to take a photo of him with the fish, and the next day, the Salt Lake Tribune featured the story on its front page.

News of the astonishing catch went beyond local outlets, prompting calls from national sports agencies seeking to verify the authenticity of the tale.

"I had a neighbor who called me the next day too. He was in New Jersey, and it was on the front page of the newspaper there," Allred recalled.

Surprised by the attention, Allred intended to mount the trout initially, but due to its small size, he and his family ended up eating it. "It wasn't bad," he quipped.

What stood out most to him was the camaraderie and community spirit displayed during the crisis.

"I was really astonished at the camaraderie and the community spirit that was there to stop the flooding," he said. "I think there could have been a lot more damage than what we saw."

So, the next time you venture out in search of your next big catch, consider looking a little closer to home.

In the heart of downtown, it seems you can catch more than just a cab. As Alma Allred's story demonstrates, sometimes the most unexpected moments become the stuff of legend.