Fishing Time: 7:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Weather: cloudy, cold morning reaching 60 by afternoon
Moon Phase: 89% Moon
Location: Willard Bay
Water Temp: Morning = 52.8 degrees, Afternoon 55.8 degrees
Bait: Bottom bouncing worm harnesses, trolling crankbaits, casting curly tailed jigs
Who Went: JJ, MeAfter landing a few wipers last year I have been itching to get back up to Willard Bay and catch more. They are without a doubt the hardest fighting freshwater fish I have ever had on the other end of my line, so I decided to give it a try this week with the weather forecast calling for temperatures in the high 70’s, hoping the water would cooperate and warm up a few degrees to get the fish active. JJ and I headed north and arrived at the North Marina of Willard Bay around 7:00 a.m. We began the morning by joining the masses of boats and shoreline fisherman inside the harbor where the crappie are currently spawning. We watched a guy fishing from the shoreline fall in the lake, but besides that, not much more excitement fishing for crappie.
We left the marina and motored back into the northeast corner of the lake where I set up two bottom bouncing rigs with worm harnesses and two separate rods for trolling crankbaits. My thoughts were to bottom bounce two rods for walleye and troll the other two crankbait rods for wipers, killing two birds with one stone. I think we needed a bigger stone! We trolled at all speeds from 0.8 mph to 1.3 mph with no success. We tried deep diving cranks and shallow diving cranks, but no luck. We trolled all the way from the northeast corner southward through freeway bay and all the way to the island! I tried drifting and casting jigs all around the island without getting a single bite or seeing any fish on the finder. Then the bugs came out in full force and tried to make our life miserable.We relocated over to the north dike where we saw quite a few boats trolling and again tried our 4 rod set up, but still couldn’t buy a bite. The most frustrating part along the north dike was there were fish everywhere! I don’t know if they were carp, wiper or walleye, but they were there and wouldn’t touch a thing. I never saw any of the other boats land a fish either. Frustrated, I started hunting down fish with my fish finder and dropping a curly tailed jig right on their heads! Unfortunately, this only scared them away as they would quickly disappear once my jig reached them. Suddenly a wall of wind hit us with no warning and we were forced to get off the lake.We bottom bounced, trolled, casted, and jigged a wide range of depths from 12 to 23 feet with the most effective depth for seeing fish being 20-23 feet. The fish were all over in the water column with some hugging the bottom and others as high up as 5 feet below the surface. It was frustrating to say the least and I am ready for some warm weather to get these fish active. It’s approaching June and the water temps are still holding in the mid 50’s! Unfortunately I think flooding is going to hit us hard this year. We still haven’t reached runoff this year and the mountains continue to gain snowpack reaching record levels in many places. It could be scary!