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Camping: Willard Bay 

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Willard Bay 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, two group 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 Campground also has a creek running through the campground and hiking trails following its banks.

The South 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 summer evening.

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 there. 

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.

Nearby Area:

Antelope Island

Farmington Canyon

South Fork


Willard Bay Group Area

Willard Bay State Park



cover   Utah Atlas and Gazetteer
by DeLorme (Editor)

Book Description
Rely on the Utah Atlas & Gazetteer for the utmost in trip planning and 
backcountry access. Contains topographic maps with unbeatable 
detail, plus gazetteer information on great places to go and things to do. 
Scale equals 1:250,000 or 1"=4 miles. Contour Interval is 300'. Each 
page covers 37 miles... Read more

Utah's National Parks: Hiking, Camping, and Vacationing in Utah's Canyon Country: Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, Canyonlands

Utah Camping: The Complete Guide to more than 400 Campgrounds (Foghorn Outdoors)

Camping Utah (Camping)

Utah Camping Guide : The essential handbook for ...

Backcountry Adventures: Utah: The Ultimate Guide to the Utah Backcountry for Anyone With a Sport Utility Vehicle

Backcountry Moab - Where The Tours Don't Go

Exploring Canyonlands and Arches National Parks 

Hiking and Exploring Utah's San Rafael Swell

Utah Underground: Guide to Real Fun

Travel Smart: Utah

Hidden Salt Lake City and Beyond: Including Park City, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird

Get the 2005 Trailer Life Directory for 50% off the cover! 



A Guide to Non-Typical Catfish Fishing Techniques Part III

Fishing the Cracks for Crappie


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