Willard Bay wipers, walleye and crappie

Welcome to KSL Outdoors, I’m Adam Eakle. And I’m Tonya Kieffer. Hey Tonya, we are here at Willard today where biologists are taking walleye eggs, sterilizing them, taking them to Red Fleet so they have a sterile population there. First time ever. First time ever the DWR has put this much effort into making walleye sterile for the entire state of Utah. It’s not just going to be in the Red Fleet area. Today we are going to go out and catch a few different species to re-stock Red Fleet and yeah I’m excited. One of those is crappie and somebody says she’s going to fish today. I told her I’m going to catch today. I have song for I love some crappie.
We’re headed out to meet Travis Reginek. Travis lives in my neighborhood and has been fishing Willard since the late nineties.
“Me and the fellows all have this thing” We turn the crappie music off and find Travis and his buddy Jeff catching crappie just outside the North Marina.
They should be great stockers for Red Fleet. Oh yeah good looking fish.
A bobber and a small jig seems to be the ticket.
We’ll tell you more about the crappie and the plan biologists have for these fish later, but Travis wanted to get Tonya on his boat to target some wipers and maybe an eye.
So what we are doing is fishing with homemade planner boards. With some releases that we fish with.
and we’ll sail those out a long ways and that way we can run multiple fishing rods at the same time.
We are going to try trolling some glass shads, some perch colors and purple colors and the main target is trying to catch some wipers today. It’s real critical to keep track how much line you are letting out. I use a couple of different lines pieced together so I know where I am or you can buy a typical line counter reel and that will do the same thing. But I had a bunch of reels, so I just use multiple colored lines.
Then what I do is I
Clip a line on here and then just send this out.
The force of the lure and the speed we are going automatically pulls it out to a forty five degree angle towards our planner board.
You can troll anywhere between, two miles per hour to almost three point five miles per hour depending on what that day. The speed changes daily and the lure color seems to change daily.
Wiper! We’ve got a wiper! That’s a wiper for sure.
That’s definitely a fish. I don’t know what Adam is doing but he probably should get his competition gear on.
That’s shallow so that should be a wiper for us.
little wiper. Yee haw!
Way to go.
Nice sized fish.
We’ve got a fish. Here reel. it’s on! keep tension, keep tension. The fish almost pulled me in. Slow down one second. There you go, alright good work.
My advice is if you don’t catch them, try different lures, try different depths. Let more line out and just don’t stay in one spot. If you don’t have a GPS fish finder on your boat. I would throw a bouy when you do get into some fish. And typically they’ll stay in that same spot and you’ll be able to catch them throughout the day. It’s a walleye.
Woo fish #2 Walleye. Still not the target species necessarily. but I’ll take it.
You’ve got a fish on that pole I think. Get up here, get up here. We’ve got a fish on.
Hey I saw that. You saw nothing. I don’t know what you are talking about.
Poor Adam.
That’s a walleye. Once the mouth comes to the surface, that’s a walleye not a wiper for sure. Oh! Adam Eakle! Alright the only complaint. We’ve got to get you a Camp Chef. You can’t be cooking on that little guy. What is that. I don’t if I can fit a Camp Chef, but I’m pretty sure I can figure a way out. Oh they’ve got small ones. We’ll get you one. Nothing better than catching wipers and then eating wipers fish tacos. Did you like them? Best fish tacos ever. They were pretty good weren’t they. You know I thought we had worked up a pretty good appetite and I turned around the chef himself was cooking. I thought ok, I’ll just stay. You guys don’t have to kick me off or anything. Hey more fishing, less eating coming up but first tonight Burt Brothers quiz question.
The wiper is a hybrid cross between a female striped bass and a male white bass. Wipers are pound for pound, one of the hardest fighting freshwater fish found in Utah. They also make fine table fare and are great for biologists in that they can introduce wipers to a fishery without the risk of the wipers becoming overly abundanct because they don’t reproduce. Our Burt Brothers quiz question tonight is. Can you name all the waters in Utah that have had wipers introduced? The answer, the fisheries, when KSL Outdoors, powered by Ford returns to Willard.
KSL Outdoors is also brought to you by Fish Tech Outfitters, Utah State Parks, Burt Brothers, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Evanston Wyoming, and Camp Chef.

Welcome back to KSL Outdoor, I’m Adam Eakle, back here at Willard Bay. Hey in a moment, we switch species and try and help the division try and catch some crappie to head to Red Fleet. That in a moment, but first tonight’s answer to our Burt Brothers quiz question.
Can you name all the waters in Utah that have had wipers introduced? and here’s the answer. Willard is by far the most recognized place to catch wipers, but you may also find them in Good Ski Lake, the Bountiful Pond, Canyon View Park, Newcastle, Otter Creek, Piute, Minersville, Huntington North, Bullock Draw, Cottonwood, East Canyon, Mona, and Red Fleet Reservoirs. The DWR has also stocked many community ponds and has plans to stock many other community ponds throughout the state this summer to compliment to those fisheries as well as Settlement Canyon Reservoir to help with the growing chub population.
Here he is. there he is. Finally. Feels like a crappie.
Crappie fishing is also good at Willard as the crappie are in the midst of their spawn. Biologists are using this annual opportunity as a way to move Willard Bay crappie to a reservoir in North Eastern Utah called Red Fleet Reservoir.
Willard has got plenty of them. We’ve actually had a pretty strong population the last several years.
It’s only going to be about 200 fish so we really are not going to make a dent in the population, but one thing I want to get out there is I encourage anglers to come out and take advantage of the crappie that we have.
To give you some background, around 2008 illegally introduced walleye were discovered at Red Fleet Reservoir. The walleye were able to escape Red Fleet and make their way into the Green River. The Green River is home to four endangered, native Utah fish species. To ensure more walleye didn’t enter the system, and threaten those endangered fish, the DWR decided to kill off all of the fish in Red Fleet with a rotenone treatment back in October and reset the entire fishery.
How do you think crappie will do in Red Fleet? We are hoping they will do good. The reason we are putting them there is we don’t have a crappie fishery in the Uintah basin.
They’ll serve two purposes in Red Fleet, they’ll provide forage for the walleye and wipers that are going to be there. They’ll also provide a sport opportunity for the angling public and we are hoping that they do well there.
How are you catching the crappie today? (Chris Penne, DWR Asst. Aquatics Program Manager) Right now we are doing two different things. The main one we are using is something we call trap nets. The nets that we put perpendicular to shore. The fish just swim into and then get held in.
There’s a few crappie.
All we need to do is untie a knot and dump those fish right into a holding pen or live well.
We need a lot more.
The other method the DWR used to capture crappie was anglers. About a dozen showed up to help.
Why do this George? Why help out? Because they need the help and we are creating another fishery and as an angler I’m going to benefit from that along with everybody else.
Say good bye to Fish Lake.
Yellow Perch is another species biologists want to put into Red Fleet. So, this past March dozens of DWR personnel, and volunteers went to Fish Lake to catch one thousand perch to move to Red Fleet.
We have a lot of perch here. They are fairly easy to catch. We’ve had these fish tested and we know they are disease free and so that means we can transfer them to any other place in the state legally. It’s a great way to help out fish lake as well. We have a lot of perch here and they can do some damage to some other fish species in this lake. so the more we can take out of here the better for all the other fish and the perch as well.
The Red Fleet process. It began as a big struggle. It was highly controversial and there was probably 80% of the people did not want to see a treatment there. Unfortunately there is somethings we just have to do as a division and this was one of them. Treat the reservoir, remove the downstream invasion from walleye and turn it back into something else that we can manage and it’s acceptable by the Fish and Wildlife Service and something we can build on in the future.
In addition to crappie and perch. Red Fleet has also been stocked with cutthroat, rainbow, and tiger trout. As well as wipers, mountain whitefish and fat head minnows. Biologists didn’t give up on walleye in Red Fleet, that story just ahead, but first over to George for tonight’s Fish Tech Fish Report.
Hey George Sommer here with Fish Tech Outfitters. We are doing a tip on crappie fishing at Willard Bay. We’ve got the tips, the techniques and the lures to get you into some really nice crappie. To start with we’ve got one of the lures that was hot today. This is a Maniac minnow. We’ve got a bunch of others out here. One of the things I wanted to show you is just a simple red and white bobber. We’ve got a little black and chartreuse tube, eleven feet between them, trolled behind the boat about thirty feet. Maybe a little further behind the boat and the crappie were whacking it. There is a bunch of other things you can use, more Maniac minnows, different colors, other grubs as well. Again, that black and chartruese tube was working good and a white tube will work. You typically don’t need anything other than a crappie nibble. This is an important key to catching crappie. It seemed to work for us today. Another important key was the speed. Just like spinner rigging for walleye about 1.8 to 2.2 mph seemed to be the ticket to pick them up. Depth, thirteen feet, the fish were suspended, usually we found about seven to eight feet. It could be shallower or deeper, depending on the time of day, but get out and catch some crappie. So for tips and techniques like these and many others, stop in to Fish Tech Outfitters, now for tonight’s Fishing Line.

It’s an exciting time for us and I think an exciting time for Utah’s walleye anglers.
Welcome back to Willard Bay where biologists are ecstatic about a new program that will not only help out the walleye fishery here at Willard, but also other walleye waters in the state.
What we are doing is we are actually spawning walleye for the first time. We undertook just some small experiments last year. But this time it’s the big time and we are really tickled with the results.
So right now what we are doing is we are collecting female and male walleye.
the process is basically we set the nets in the afternoon. We set about ten nets, each are 400 feet long. We let those fish overnight and then we go and empty them first thing in the morning.
How many do you got?
and after that we generally go in and electro fish the reservoirs inlet and collect us some males. Now the males are a little bit smaller than the females. So while they are out there in the lake they are just not getting captured in our nets right now.
We are actually doing the spawning on site here.
So when the fish get down here what we do is we actually sort them out.
We take basically all the fish that are ripe.
and strip the eggs out of them.
And then after that once we get a pool of five females, what we do is then we strip some sperm from a couple of males on top of that. And then we add water which activates the sperm and fertilizes the eggs.
Here is where it gets interesting. Remember when we told you the fishery at Red Fleet Reservoir had been killed off because of the illegal introduction of walleye? Well biologists have decided to put these walleye eggs back into Red Fleet. Sounds crazy right, well it isn’t. What biologists are doing is they are making these walleye eggs sterile. Here’s how they do it.
As soon as the eggs are fertilized, they are put into this pressure chamber and held under ninety five hundred psi, for ten minutes.
This pressure sterlizes these eggs. Meaning these walleye will not be able to spawn. Biologists will then be able to control walleye numbers at Red Fleet through stocking and angler pressure.
We are still going to provide an opportunity but in this case we’ll have a sterile fish in there and we’ll use them to control numbers. And then if they do escape downstream and get into the green river. They won’t be able to reproduce and continue to hurt the endangered fish species in the Green River.
The DWR also installed a fish screen below Red Fleet Reservoir as a precautionary measure that will capture any sterile walleye if they happen to escape the reservoir.
We set ourselves a goal of obtaining about 8 million eggs.
Right now we are sitting at about 25 million eggs that we’ve collected and so we’ve done fantastic. Exceeded expectations.
The program has been a huge success. Earlier this month,
seven hundred and fifty thousand sterile walleye fry were released into Red Fleet Reservoir with a goal of around five million for the year.
and then the ones that go back into Willard, which is our brood reservoir. They are going to be 100% fertile.
Willard this month has already received nearly one million of those fertile walleye fry.
Fry that aren’t placed in Willard or Red Fleet will be stocked into other waters in Utah that have walleye, including Deer Creek, Yuba and Big Sandwash reservoirs. Some of the fry will also be donated to Idaho to help them with their walleye management efforts.
This is pretty big news for all walleye angler in Utah.
Time to take a closer look at one of the species in Red Fleet in tonight’s Utah Field Guide.
Native to much of North America, East of the Rockies the yellow perch is a relative new comer to the waters of Utah but is now found in many lakes statewide.
Young yellow perch eat zooplankton whereas adults eat larger invertebrates such as: insects, snails, and small fish.
This species spawns in the spring and is fairly unique in that, females lay their eggs in long gelatinous strands, usually floating or hanging from vegetation or some other structure.
If successful thousands of young can be produced and it’s these young fish that provide the food base for much larger predators like bass, tiger musky, wipers and even other walleye.
Perch will often stunt due to over-crowding unless significant numbers are removed from the system through predation, or angling.
For more information on yellow perch or any other critter found in Utah, check out our Utah Field Guide on our outdoors page at ksltv.com.
Wow check that out, Travis is treating those guys right. They’ve got fish tacos grilling on the boat. I think I’ve got the wrong boat today, but hey the weather is beautiful, that is for sure. Get out here and enjoy some of these beautiful blue bird skies. Hey lets find out how the recreation forecast is shaping up, by turning it over Kevin back in the weather department.

Welcome back to Willard. Don’t forget to check our Outdoors calendar page for outdoor events across the state. And if you have an event on the horizon, send us a note and we’ll post it right there on our calendar page at ksltv.com.
Alright I’m eating a little crow here after eating a little wiper. She caught a little more fish than I did. You reeled in a couple of more fish. Whatever, fishing is fishing, catching is catching. I caught bigger, more fish. I’m just all about being a better fisherman is all. That’s a good wiper. It’s a pretty large wiper. Willard, the biologists are doing a great job here. The fishery is awesome. Hey let’s see if you can beat our catch of this week with your snapshot of the week.
We kick it off, right where we left off, back at Willard Bay. Boston just turned eight and is already an avid angler. From fly fishing to fishing in the high country and now Boston has another passion, Willard wipers. In three days Boston caught some monster fish, including this nice wiper.
Andy hit ice off at the Berry at the perfect time, kind of. You see, Andy had latched into this big Strawberry cutt and it started taking some line. Take a look over Andy’s shoulder, see the skim ice that had formed overnight? Well Andy had to ask his son to throw some rocks to break up the ice so Andy could land this 28 inch, 7 pound cutthroat. His personal best.
Last Spring, at Utah Lake, six year old Thomas caught this big bucketmouth all on his own. As young Thomas was holding the fish up for dad to take a picture, the fish gave Thomas the slip but gave dad just enough time for this great photo.
A few weeks ago, Talya found her first elk shed, this dandy six point. Nearby, she also found a snake. This past weekend, she went with her dad on a turkey hunt and guess what? the little stink found the matching other side. Mom and dad say to say Talya was excited is an understatement. The kid is literally flipping out!
and finally, at the ripe old age of thirteen, Jaida not only has an archery buck under belt, but now a big ol’ Tom. The first gobbler that came into view that morning left Jaida hyper ventilating without a shot. After some reassuring and calming from dad, Jaida settled in and low and behold an hour later the ol tom came back in to the decoy. This time Jaida made a perfect shot to put an end to a great father daughter hunt. Jaida was adamant that she was going to pack out her own bird. Dad said “darn straight you are.” Jaida can now strut all the way home as she just won, our snapshot of the week.

Remember submit your pictures or video, plus an explanation of your latest outdoor adventures online at KSLTV.com. The winner each week wins a commemorative, 100th anniversary National Parks cast iron dutch oven and skillet and the winner is also entered into our Ford Trucks quarterly Facebook giveaway for a Camp Chef Pellet Grill.
Whether in the backcountry or the great outdoors, Camp Chef, it’s the way to cook outdoors.
Lets see fish tacos, Tonya beat me in catching more fish. Caught some walleye, some crappie, some wiper. Old Dan even caught a few. smallmouth. Yeah you caught a smallmouth. And that wiper has got to be four pounds. Pretty close. On a ultralight rod it was a blast. I’ll bet. and hey good work by the division. Red Fleet is going to be popping in a couple of years. I thought he was telling me good work. But, yeah good work Adam, the division doing a great job. They’ve managed this water very well and hopefully Red Fleet turns out to be just as an amazing fishery as this is. Yeah so sterile walleye going into Red Fleet and it’s going to be the only black crappie in the Northeast region. That’s pretty cool. All those people from Vernal will get a chance to go and catch some tasty fish. yeah. We’ll go take some too. Hey I’m Adam Eakle, KSL Outdoors, along with Tonya Kieffer, reminding you to get out with your family, your friends and make some memories, outdoors. We’ll see you next weekend, goodnight.

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