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How's Willard?

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Re: [TubeDude] How's Willard? In reply to
Willard used to be my go-to place. It was not only the closest lake, but I almost always did well there. Not lately, though.

The last two or three years, I got skunked more often than not. I went to the places where they ought to be, used what they ought to want, and fished hard. Nada. I simply cannot find the fish. I'm a bit less range limited than TD in my kayak, but nowhere near as mobile as if I had a boat. But from either marina, I have what should be fish factories within reach. Nothing there.

The low water years were very, very hard on many Willard species, crappie in particular. With the water down, there is simply no shallow cover in which fish can spawn. Whole year classes of fish get lost.



Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult
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Re: [Access-Denied] How's Willard? In reply to
I can only tell you that he water level has been higher this year than in several of the past years. Driving by it on the way to Bear River it still looks to be about 80% full.
Personally, I've been on Willard 9 times this year about equally split from north to south launchings. Last trip, the wife caught 1 8" Perch, and 1 20" Cat.
I have taken home the little black and white kitty all 9 trips. Frown
I am nowhere near as good at Willard as many others on this forum, but the last 2 years it has been almost as many skunks as trips. Before that I would almost always catch and release more than a limit of Wiper, some days take home a 3 species limit.
I am waiting for the post Labor Day cool down of both temp and number of power squadron boats.
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Re: [TubeDude] How's Willard? In reply to
Who's that young whippersnapper? Maybe Willard will come back with a few good water years. Sounds to me the bad management on Willard was Mother Nature, is that a fair assessment?

Thanks

Randy

"The only bad day fishing is the day you don't go"
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Re: [fish_fanatic] How's Willard? In reply to
DWR gets blamed for a lot of the vicissitudes of Utah fishing...even though they are usually not at fault as much as the fluctuations of nature and a desert environment. As I have said in DWR's defense many times...you can't manage the unmanageable.


There is probably no other lake anywhere that receives more study and attention than Willard. But the whims of mother nature and the water users conspire to make water levels a roller coaster ride for the fish. That knocks the heck out of spawning and recruitment some years...for which anglers feel the pain for several years thereafter.


Wipers have been a tough problem too. DWR tries to maintain a balance between available forage (shad) and predators (wipers and walleyes). At best it is a guessing game...subject to the whims of Mama Nature the following year when the balance goes out of whack. When it does, the predators either get skinny from lack of food or they overfeed on overabundant forage and anglers are sore at DWR because they can't catch the complacent fish.


As thoroughly as DWR studies and tries to manage Willard they are hampered by a lack of a crystal ball and/or a magic wand. They can only make educated guesses as to what needs to be done each year and then wait to see how close or how far off their predictions were.


An original...from my book of famous quotations nobody has ever heard before: HISTORY IS NEVER WRONG.


That "young whippersnapper" is moi...about 10 years ago. Here is another pic from about age 4. You will note that my hair color is the same as when I was much younger.




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Re: [TubeDude] How's Willard? In reply to
The dude is good and right on. Look at other waters that have had years of struggle. Yuba believe or not had some great productive years, as did Echo, Schofield, even Starvation has had its glory days.
None of our waters are exempt from evolving. Many influences can not always be controlled. Weather is only one factor.
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Re: [doitall5000] How's Willard? In reply to
I think your right on, also I think Anglers could do more than they do by releasing the bigger fish. I read an article on Walleye and it is incredible how many eggs a fish can have per pound of body weight. I personally release any Walleye over 24 inches just my way of pitching in. A picture lasts longer and is environmentally friendly. I really think that the DNR should put some assets into educating fisherman on the impact of killing the bigger fish. I have overall had a tough year on Starvation for I have not caught a Walleye over 24 inches. I personally would like them to have some type of slot to help out. I also would like them possibly to have maybe one or two years of no limit on Walleye under 20 inches. But the fact is I am not a Biologist and really don't understand the proper way to get the results that i would like to see. I complained about Strawberry for a long time but after seeing the results that they have achieved I became a believer. Bottom line I would like the DNR to try something like that on Starvation, i just have seen too many big Walleye killed and personally I think it is a shame.

Thanks

Randy

"The only bad day fishing is the day you don't go"
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Re: [fish_fanatic] How's Willard? In reply to
The biggest walleyes killed on Willard are not from the walleye specialists who fish them post spawn and in the fall. They leave the inlet open to fishing and snaggers rape the big females with big treble hooks.


DWR arguments against closing the inlet during the spawn is that it gives "average" anglers a chance to catch walleye...and spawning in the channel does not usually produce viable fry since the bottom is mud and not well aerated. Most natural spawning in Willard takes place around the rock dikes.


I don't begrudge anyone catching and keeping walleye...even larger ones...while using sporting tactics during normal feeding periods. I just resent the hell out of the happy harvesters that treat Willard as their private fish market and catch and kill as many fish as they can...by any means...legal or otherwise. So what if the big females will not spawn successfully and produce viable fry? At least they would remain in the lake for "sportsmen" to pursue by legal walleye fishing methods.


As far as Starvation, having an abundance of small wallies is nothing new. Before perch showed up all the walleye and smallmouth were stunted. They had eaten up the hordes of chubs that used to fill the lake and were out of food. There were even contracts issued for netting out the small walleyes. But when perch showed up, the predators ate well and prospered. Now, after several years of low perch populations the walleyes are struggling to get past the teen-incher stage. Some are getting by on crawdads and a few stray perchlets, but no more 30 fish days with limits over 20".


Unless Starvy suddenly starts producing larger quantities of edible sized forage fish, there is not likely to be a solution. Slot limits don't mean much when few fish are growing beyond the slots.

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