Willard Bay State Park 

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12" Perch

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While Walleye do have a good sense of smell, it doesn't seem to be an
important factor in feeding behavior. In murky water a vibrating bait is much more effective than a bait that emits odors.

Walleye are opportunistic feeders and will eat just about any fish they can catch. Throughout much of the U.S. perch is their main food but they will also eat shad (Gizzard shad in Utah), trout, crappie, bluegill and other fish. They also readily eat crayfish, frogs, leeches, snails, mice and even small ducks.

Fishing success for walleye is highly influenced by the baitfish spawn. In the
spring when few baitfish are present fishing is generally good (except during the spawn, when walleye don't feed much). If the baitfish have a good spawn then by early summer there will be an abundance of small fish for the walleye to eat. 

When baitfish are plentiful fishing success for walleye slows and will
remain slow until the baitfish numbers are reduced, generally by late summer or early fall. If the baitfish spawn is poor, walleye success will remain good throughout the summer and will be excellent by fall.


As a sport fish, hybrids (Wipers) are probably best known for their rapid growth and fighting ability. They can

attain weights of six to seven pounds by three years of age and 18 to 20 pounds by eight to nine years of age. Hybrids (Wipers) are a valuable part of our Utah fishing: they grow fast, fight hard, and take the sport of fishing to another level! In Utah they fit perfectly into the ecological system, especially in lakes with large Gizzard shad populations but with little suitable habitat for striped bass and white bass.

Wipers mirror the habits of and prefer areas within lakes and streams in common with striped bass and white

bass, typically traveling in large schools in open water. In the spring, schools are smaller and the road trip is on, as they head for the spawning grounds. Hybrids (Wipers) begin to get a little more active as the water temperature rises;  bait seems to be the best from the banks, although trolling with a white or mirror crankbait in 12 to 15 ft water produces a good catch. As June and July roll around, it is slabbing time, look for them off deep creek channels on the slopes. Live bait is at its peak. 
Then comes the fall! My favorite time, the schools have become very large, and the feed is on for the winter. Early morning and evenings you can find Wipers on top, running through weary schools of gizzard shad, like a freight train through a small town. When winter comes, Wipers seem to turn into loners, hugging the bottom. 

Natural Food Sources: Gizzard Shad, minnows, crustaceans, and insects. 


Perch are popular sport fish species. They put up a fight, and they are good

eating. They can be caught with a variety of methods, including float fishing, and lure fishing. 

The best way is to use a small hook and cast into the weeds just before the drop off. When fishing with bait, the angler will want to have adisgorger; perch are notorious for swallowing the hook, and will need aid of a disgorger or forceps for unhooking. In many parts of the world, they are also a favorite species among ice fishermen. 

They will take a variety of baits, including minnows, worms, maggots, pieces of raw bacon, and soft

shell crayfish, but seem to prefer small fish, night crawlers, maggots, and lures. 

Fly fishing for perch using patterns that imitate small fry or invertebrates can be successful. The record weight for this fish in Britain is 6 lb 3 oz (2.81 kg), and in America 6 lb 4 oz (2.83 kg).

Perch grow to around 5 lb (2.3 kg) or more, but the most common fish to be caught are around 1 lb (0.45 kg) or less, and anything over 2 lb (0.91 kg) is considered a prize catch.

Willard Bay 

  • Location: Box Elder County
  • Directions: Traveling north on I 15, take the exit just north of Smith & Edwards and go west following the signs or go to the Willard exit and go west.
  • Type: Fishing
  • Size: 9,900 acres
  • Elevation: 4,223 feet
  • Hours: Open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Likely catch: Channel Catfish, Black Crappie, Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Wiper

Willard Bay is a freshwater reservoir located 12 miles northwest of Ogden on the flood plains of the Great Salt
Lake. An earth filled dike and natural shoreline make up the 20-mile enclosures. The dike is officially named the Arthur V. Watkins Dam, for a former U.S. Senator from Utah who was essential in getting the Weber Basin Project passed through congress in 1949. The area
had a need for a reservoir to store surplus water from the Ogden and Weber rivers that could later be pumped out and used on farmlands.

Design and construction of the dam was completed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. The reservoir is operated

by the Weber Basin Water Conservancy District and recreation activities are administered by the Utah State Parks and Recreation.

Willard Bay State Park consists of two separate marinas next to Willard Bay.

Recently renovated, the park offers state-of-the-art day-use and camping facilities, boat launch ramps, and group-use areas.

Opened to the public as a state park in 1966.
Park Elevation: 4,200 feet

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