Camping: Willard Bay
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is a popular warm water recreation area. While a great majority
of Utah’s lakes are colder trout holding reservoirs, Willard
Bay is a warm water walleye/catfish/wiper fishery. Willard is
located 15 miles North of Ogden and is 9900 acres in size. There
are two parks/marinas, the South and North parks.
The North is
more developed and features two campgrounds,
areas, two beaches and many shore fishing opportunities. The
two campgrounds in the North park are Willowcreek and Cottonwood.
The Willowcreek Campground is probably the more private of the two
campgrounds, the campsites are more tree sheltered and spread
out than its neighboring campground. The Willowcreek
also has a creek running through the campground and hiking
trails following its banks.
park has one campground and more limited facilities. If I
came from Salt Lake City to launch a boat the South park would
be my choice, if I came to camp I’d go to the North.
The walleyes are
easiest to fish for in the spring, they become active in April
and May, then the action tails off as summer takes over. If
walleyes are your targeted species try trolling or drifting
crawler harnesses or crankbaits near the West and North dykes.
Wipers are a
hybrid cross combining a white bass with a striped bass. This
combination yields a football shaped fish that fights like a
banshee. Wipers were first planted in Willard Bay in 1994.
Willard Bay had an overwhelming population of shad minnows
before the wipers were introduced, they’ve become fat and
plentiful gorging on this biomass. You’ll quite often catch
wipers while trolling for walleyes, they’ll readily hit
crankbaits. Another easy way to find them is look for a shad
boil. The wipers will corral and chase schools of shad until
they’re jumping out of the water to escape. Find one of these
boils and toss shad imitating crankbaits past and through the
boil. The North marina is a common spot to find these boils on a
Catfish are another frequently pursued Willard Bay species. This is
another fish you shouldn’t be surprised if you catch while
trolling. The catfish in Willard Bay don’t seem to be adverse
to pursuing live prey. They can also be caught by still fishing,
this technique can be very productive at nighttime. Find a
shallower flat near deeper water, anchor and throw out a pungent
type bait. Cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or just plain old
night crawlers will all lure in any nearby fish. You’ll catch
quite a few small catfish but there are some good sized ones out
With the ending
of the Utah drought I would imagine the crappie numbers and size
should increase. Crappie need submerged brush and shoreline
features to allow the young to grow. Expect to see
some good crappie fishing in the future.
Bay Group Area
Bay State Park
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Guide to Non-Typical Catfish Fishing Techniques Part III
the Cracks for Crappie
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