(Evolution of fishing at Willard Bay)

1800 gizzard shad successfully made the trip from Nebraska to Willard Bay and are now preparing to spawn in their new home.

The shad are not considered a sport fish even though they will, grow to about 18 inches long and several pounds in weight. They are an oily fish with a strong flavor and mushy white meat that few people enjoy eating.

On the other hand, catfish and walleye consider the shad fry to be a delicacy and will grow big and fat eating the new forage fish.

Gizzard shad are prolific spawners, producing tens of thousands of eggs per fish. By fall the 1800 shad will have grown in number by hundreds of thousands of fry and the walleye and catfish will be in fish heaven with all the new food to eat. DWR officials expect to see an almost immediate improvement in the fishery at Willard and by next year Willard should be on its way back to becoming one of the most important fisheries along the Wasatch Front.

One note of caution. The DWR has put the word out that if any of the shad are transplanted into other waters, Willard Bay will be immediately poisoned and that will be the end to the gizzard shad experiment. Don't move the shad – leave them alone and let them do their thing – only in Willard Bay!