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Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19

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Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19
Went fishing yesterday at Utah Lake. Tried to bump my catfish score. Not to be. Just tired out this old guy. When the alarm went off this morning for a trip to Willard my body said to bag it and go back to sleep. Lucky for me my inner angler won out and I got up and went.

Glassy calm and 38 degrees air temp at the north marina at 7 am. Water temp 52...rising a whole degree by noon. Water level still high and good clarity. All systems go.

Took plastics and crappie rigs today but never got them wet. Started and stayed with fligs and small chub minnows. If it ain't fixed don't broke it...or however that goes.

Kitties started early. Got several even before the sun broke over the mountains. Some on a chartreuse perch whirly flig. Most on a small silver with blue back tailed flig. There were some bait balls in both shallow water and out in deeper water. and some had bigger fishies hanging out with or around them. Those shad-munchers liked my little blueback flig with a bitty minnow sweetener.

About mid morning I had a bite that I suspected might not be a catfish. The severely bent rod, the screeching reel and the fish making a wide sweep out to deeper water aroused my suspicions. After about 10 minutes of careful battling I was able to slip my (inadequate) net under a 24 inch wiper that weighed 6.4 pounds. What a hog! Made the trip for this old guy, I tell ya.

That wiper took the same blueback flig and minnow setup I had been using with success for the kitties. I just know that if there were more wipers available I would be catching more on fligs. Used to catch the heck out of them on the small plastics I threw for crappies. Oh well.

Had decided to make a short day of it. After a full day yesterday, my gas tank was running low...and I had people to do and things to see...or whatever. I did manage to rassle in about 10 cats for the morning...of which I kept 5 to fry. As with my last trip I got to play with several smaller "teen-inchers". They all got a kiss and were sent back to grow another year or two before a return match.

An absolutely purtiful morning. Fall colors and flat water. Oh yeah, and some fish too. Anyone who might ask for more than that just ain't properly grateful for blessings received.

(This post was edited by TubeDude on Oct 16, 2019, 1:29 PM)
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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Very nice, I love the wiper fights, glad it was more than an NBC day. Congrats J
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Re: [SkunkedAgain] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Thanks. I savored every moment. With those smaller flig hooks I wasn't sure how well it might be hooked and I played it pretty carefully. Good thing too. When I scooped it into my net I could see it was only holding by a small thread of flesh.


On another note...the fish cleaning station is now closed. But it should be open again by 4th of July next year. (unpaid political comment)

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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Great job,!! Was "moby" hanging around that big school of bait?
How do you freeze those small chubs, do they get kinda mushy?
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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Wow, that is a very nice wiper, it had been eating good that's for sure, not many of those big guys left I bet. Two days in a row, you deserve a week off after doing back to back trips.Wink


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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Pat -

Congrats on the Hog! Thanks for showing us the set-up. I spent 4 hours in the afternoon today in the same area you were and I was using fligs. I got totally skunked. I have a fish finder now and saw the same movie you were seeing. There were a lot of sizeable fish in my screen but they weren't interested in offerings.

I might need to try those larger fligs and get some chubs.

Are you dragging those along the bottom at paint drying speed using your motor or are you doing a cast and retrieve? Are you doing a start and stop, or rod lift?

Some of my fligs were sweetened with worm and some with gulp minnow. I was dragging them along the bottom at about 0.9 mph. I had a smiley blade on one.

Are the late-spawn shad starting to die off and hit the bottom yet? Or has this not started yet?

Thx. Trent
(This post was edited by Optimizer on Oct 17, 2019, 9:36 PM)
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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Congrats! Maybe I'm wrong, but thats the most revved up about catching a fish that I've read from you.
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Re: [doitall5000] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
doitall5000 wrote:
Great job,!! Was "moby" hanging around that big school of bait?
How do you freeze those small chubs, do they get kinda mushy?

Yes, the wiper came from 12 feet of water...in an area with several bait balls.


I package the small chubs about 25 to 30 per package and freeze them in just enough water to be able to squeeze out all the air bubbles. Larger chubs tend to remain a firmer but the small ones do get a bit soft. However, I fish them by running the hook up through their heads and they stay on the hook pretty well...well enough to have a high hookup percentage. I don't miss many strikes but if I do I usually have to reel in and replace a missing bait. That's why I put more small ones in a "trip bag" than I do larger ones.
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Re: [Optimizer] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Optimizer wrote:
Pat -

Congrats on the Hog! Thanks for showing us the set-up. I spent 4 hours in the afternoon today in the same area you were and I was using fligs. I got totally skunked. I have a fish finder now and saw the same movie you were seeing. There were a lot of sizeable fish in my screen but they weren't interested in offerings.

I might need to try those larger fligs and get some chubs or LBGQE-whatever minnows.
I was using a small size 1 hook tailed flig. Not the big ones. And I tried several baits...including perch meat and crawlers. Even tried larger chubs and pieces of larger chubs. Only got one catfish on a half of a larger minnow...on a flig.

Are you dragging those along the bottom at paint drying speed using your motor or are you doing a cast and retrieve? Are you doing a start and stop, or rod lift?
Some of my bites came while just slowly kicking along with my fins. Most came while using the electric and doing somewhere under .5 mph. I got a new Minnkota Endura Max...which allows a full range of trolling speeds while using a minimum of battery power. Love it. I keep both rods in my rod tree holder and periodically rock the tube a little to create some motion on the fligs. But most of my bites came on slow and steady.

Some of my fligs were sweetened with worm and some with gulp minnow. I was dragging them along the bottom at about 0.9 mph. I had a smiley blade on one.

Are the late-spawn shad starting to die off and hit the bottom yet? Or has this not started yet?
I didn't see any evidence of a shad dieoff yet...like gulls and terns hitting the surface a lot. But the water temp has now dropped below 55 and it won't be long until the smallest late hatching shad begin to die and sink to the bottom. That generally happens a lot in November. And that is when using a blue/silver flig with a small minnow gets a lot of votes.

Thx. Trent
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Re: [EyLayo] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
EyLayo wrote:
Congrats! Maybe I'm wrong, but thats the most revved up about catching a fish that I've read from you.
You might be right. Hate to admit it but I'm probably a bit jaded. I have had the good fortune to have experienced a lot of good fishing over the years. And I have had some outstanding trips on Willard...with 30 or more wipers in a day. So it takes something good to make my excitement needle move off center line.


That wiper did it. It was my biggest wiper from Willard, it hit hard and fought well and it came on modest tackle while fishing from my tube...not while trolling at mach 3 with heavy gear. I have caught bigger wipers in other states...and stripers up to almost 50 pounds. But that wiper was special.


All that being said, I ain't a fish snob. I love all species of all sizes. And even though I don't get all gushy about it, I even enjoy my everlovin' kitties. Heck, I can still have fun catching bluegill if they are around and wanna play. Like they say about other things..."They are all good...some better than others."
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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Niiiice. Never caught a wiper yet, so any size would do me.

Would you mind sharing where, how and when you catch the chub babies? I've been planning to get up to Lower Fish Creek to get some of the bigger ones, but have been too busy fishing for cats to stop and sharpen the saw or however that saying goes.

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"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [catchinon] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
There is an old saying "I'd rather be lucky than good." That was the case with the small minnows. My regular chub spot has had it's ups and downs with the drought the past few years and has not been too productive. But I received a tip from a fellow BFTer who was doing some hunt scouting and found a small trickle with a bunch of minnows in it. Of course I followed up on it and was able to score a few bags of the little chublets. A return trip a couple of weeks later found my spot dried up and no minnows to be had.


The creeks below Scofield and Lost Creek both hold numbers of chubs. But since big chubs eat little chubs, the little ones either grow fast or disappear into the larger ones. Howsomever, the larger ones make great bait for cats...whole or pieces. And if you just want to sweeten a small jig, try filleting the big ones before freezing and using small pieces of fillet on fligs and jigs.



There are small creeks and ponds all over Utah that often have populations of chubs, shiners or fathead minnows...all legal and effective. The shiners usually suffer softness after freezing and fathead minnows are generally not as effective as chubs. At least that is my experience doing side by side comparisons on the same waters the same day.


What you have probably already deduced is that minnow dunkers are kinda secretive. They ain't include to provide GPS numbers for their fave minnowing spots. And for good reason. The place I had been using since the 1970s was still producing after I moved back to Utah in 2004. But shortly after that someone on the board posted it...along with detailed directions on how to get there...and for a while it was hit heavily.


Since then it goes up and down with varying water levels...and annual visits from pelicans and cormorants. Sometimes you can make a decent haul. Other times you don't get enough to make it worth the drive. And I have learned the hard way that "loose lips sink chubs"...or however that goes. On almost every occasion I have taken someone there to show them...in spite of protestations of secrecy...my next visit either finds others cleaning out the chubs or evidence of heavy visitation...like empty worm containers and other trash, etc.

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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
I bet that wiper put a big ol smile on your face when it took off on a deep run. They are a special kinda fighter. I was reading about your chub minnow search. I agree Lost Creek used to be a good place to check creeks and such, but lately, I have not seen em and i drew a blank trying to get some carp minnows too. Guess it will be cut bait perch kinda next year for me.


Yukon the cowboy-pirate, acting crew-chief of Adventures with Cookie and the Cowboy

REMEMBER: Keep the lid on the worms, always share your jerky, and wave when you see the pirate crew.
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Re: [Cowboypirate] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Dunno if they are still there, but had some intel a couple of weeks ago about a bunch of carp minnows. The little inlet creek on the east side of Echo...about halfway between Coalville and the State Park. It is not running but there is a hole at the inlet full of carp minnows...and a bunch of baby perch (not legal to net). Carp minnows work well in a lot of places.


Also, haven't tried it for a few years but Grantsville Reservoir used to have some big hordes of carp minnows along the shoreline on the south side during the first part of November. Attaching a couple of pictures from 11-13-08.



And yes, the wiper put a smile on my old kisser. Had to stop at the urgent care center on the way home and have it removed. (Grinning)

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Re: [wiperhunter2] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
wiperhunter2 wrote:
Wow, that is a very nice wiper, it had been eating good that's for sure, not many of those big guys left I bet. Two days in a row, you deserve a week off after doing back to back trips.Wink
Yep. That pig not only had a few shad in it's tummy but also big gobs of visceral fat. Hope the newest plantings take off soon. Been a shortage of wipers overall...but an occasional big one helps dull the pain.


I fished two days in a row because some doofus ordered some lousy weather for a few days. Better to overdo it for a couple of days than to have to wait a week for the next trip. That is from my book of famous quotations nobody has ever heard of.


Hey, I gotta get you guys some of those long-body whirly fligs. Perfect for slow trolling. The little propeller blades start kicking at .1 mph.
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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Speaking of fligs and such. If you needed an area to do the "teach wannabes the art of fligs making". I am happy to volunteer my garage to a group. Can fire up the smoker and Dutch ovens and feed attendees- that's another hobby of mine. I live in the Morgan area


Yukon the cowboy-pirate, acting crew-chief of Adventures with Cookie and the Cowboy

REMEMBER: Keep the lid on the worms, always share your jerky, and wave when you see the pirate crew.
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Re: [Cowboypirate] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Sounds doable. I threw out the offer to do a show and tell. But I ain't gonna beg anyone to attend. My suggestion is that you present it on the board as a possible for anyone who wants to attend...and it would be reasonable for either the northerners or even folks from Salt Lake.


If you can get a few folks to agree on a date and time, I will make it work for my schedule. I got 7 day weekends ya know. Usually midweek evenings work best for most folks, but during the "off" season for fishing we could even do a Saturday...unless the ice is on and the fish are on fire.


By the way, thanks for your offer.

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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Well done Pat. They put up a pretty good tug. Nice way to add some variety to your willard cattin.
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Re: [fish_fear_me2] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Thanks. I'm all about variety. Most of my Willard trips are hoping for ABC...anything but catfish. But most turn out NBC...nothing but catfish. Good thing I am an equal opportunity kinda fisherman. If I can't be with the fish I love (or want), I love the ones that will at least play with me. No pride at all.


Have you been getting out at all?

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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
wiperhunter2 wrote:
Hey, I gotta get you guys some of those long-body whirly fligs. Perfect for slow trolling. The little propeller blades start kicking at .1 mph.
Are those long-body whirly fligs different than the ones we got from you the last time we meet you at the North marina?


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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
Gettin along, Havent been out a lot this year. Sad when things get to where ya aint got time to fish. Better make some time pretty soon.
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Re: [wiperhunter2] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
"Are those long-body whirly fligs different than the ones we got from you the last time we meet you at the North marina?"

I didn't remember exactly what you got. But I suspect they are about the same. The first batch I made were on 3/0 hooks. The last batch were on slightly smaller 1/0 hooks...and wired slightly different. But the look and action should be about the same. The question is have you tried them?

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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
No, I haven't, you gave them to Ira, so I never got one, I did however use one of the older, short ones, on Tues, with the prop in the back. That is what I used to catch the last three cats I caught that day.


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Re: [TubeDude] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
TubeDude wrote:
wiperhunter2 wrote:
Wow, that is a very nice wiper, it had been eating good that's for sure, not many of those big guys left I bet. Two days in a row, you deserve a week off after doing back to back trips.Wink
Yep. That pig not only had a few shad in it's tummy but also big gobs of visceral fat. Hope the newest plantings take off soon. Been a shortage of wipers overall...but an occasional big one helps dull the pain.


I fished two days in a row because some doofus ordered some lousy weather for a few days. Better to overdo it for a couple of days than to have to wait a week for the next trip. That is from my book of famous quotations nobody has ever heard of.


Hey, I gotta get you guys some of those long-body whirly fligs. Perfect for slow trolling. The little propeller blades start kicking at .1 mph.
ya knows you can catch and release them big whipers
may help a bit with the shortages
and maybe take a little better photo then dead fish on crete with a quantification device
cause that brings me pain
"I find i have had my reward
in the doing of the thing"
-Buzz Holmstrom
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Re: [fishskibum] Wunnerful Willard 10-16-19 In reply to
"ya knows you can catch and release them big whipers
may help a bit with the shortages
and maybe take a little better photo then dead fish on crete with a quantification device
cause that brings me pain"


Wow. A first post from an elitist fly-flinger and all you got to offer is a suggestion for catch and release. Typical. And I might be more susceptible to your suggestions if you knew how to spell and use proper sentence structure. Not impressed.

It is patently clear you know less about wipers than fly fishing. That fish is likely in its last year of life and would probably die during the winter...as have most of the other fish in that year class. Secondly, there is no reason to NOT harvest wipers. They are sterile hybrids put in Willard for the sole purposes of controlling shad and providing anglers with a superb fishery. No argument for future propagation OR future angling potential.

I have caught and released hundreds of wipers in the past... even when they were more abundant. I have even caught a lot of them on flies...which I also tie myself...and build fly rods, etc.

You are welcome here but only if you post useful information and not pop in only to criticize others.

(This post was edited by TubeDude on Oct 19, 2019, 7:50 AM)
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