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Brett Prettyman
Brett Prettyman writes about the outdoors, recreation and fishing for The Salt Lake Tribune

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Willard Bay fish sampling report - 2013 looks good for all species

Chris Penne, an aquatic biologist with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, sent in this report of recent sampling at Willard Bay Reservoir.

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We wrapped up our annual monitoring of Willard Bay Reservoir a few weeks ago during the rain and snow. All signs are pointing towards a bright year for Willard anglers in 2013. Catches were up for wipers, walleye, and catfish. Walleye abundance has the potential to be as high as we've seen in the past decade, with plenty of fish 18 inches and larger. While the outlook on walleye is excellent for next year, anglers should enjoy it while they can because the long-term trend currently suggests the walleye population may have peaked for at least the next few years. Wiper abundance is on the increase as well, thanks to a stocking of fingerlings in 2011 that exceeded 115,000 fish. Those wipers stocked in 2011 went in the water at 3" in length (see picture) are now averaging 15" in length. Anglers can look forward to these fish next year, as they should grow to near 20" by the end of the season. Channel catfish abundance increased a bit as well and anglers can enjoy cats averaging 18" in length, with a noticeable segment of the population now exceeding 20" in length.

Information on the pictures.

3" inch wiper fingerlings stocked into Willard Bay in 2011.

A batch of wipers caught in one gill net. Most fish are 15" in length, with older fish (top) averaging over 20"

Biologist Ben Nadolski holds a wiper.

Biologist Chris Penne, holds a wiper.

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