Beautiful day at Hagg Lake, 26 November 2023

I hit Hagg on Sunday the 26th for what I had hoped would be a multi-species outing but that plan did not quite work out. I started out a little late because it was really cold (temp was 27F when I got there). The drive around the lake was actually even a little treacherous due to numerous ice patches but I arrived at ramp C and was out on the water around 8:15AM. It was cold but just gorgeous out and it just stayed beautiful all day long. Hard to believe I was fishing in Oregon in November :)

I tried fishing for bass for about an hour but did not get a sniff. That was a little disappointing but I was planning on spending most of the day trolling so I just shrugged off the initial failure and decided to focus on trout. I rigged up my two trolling rods, one with my usual favorite (1/24oz roostertail with 1/2 nighcrawler) and a small plug on the other. I put 1/8oz on the droppers (just to stop line twist) and set them back 60'. After about 45 mintues with no bites I switched to 80' and that seemed to be the ticket.

I missed a few bites when I finally got my first fish on my faithful roostertail. Shortly thereafter I switched both rods to the roostertails since they are my confidence bait. After a couple more misses I caught my second fish, a nice 12" fish, and then decided to spend the rest of the day running an experiment. I added a dodger to one of the rods to have a showdown with my normal no-dodger approach.

I started trolling along, watching the rhythmic thumping of the dodger rod and just enjoying the day. I was pretty far back in the no-wake zone when the dodger rod went off and I felt the pull of a good fish. After a nice fight I got a 13.75" trout in the net. Just as soon as I got that fish in the net my other rod had a vicious strike. I picked up that rod and new it was also a really nice fish. So, I kept the first fish in the net dipped in the water while I fought the second fish close.

When I got it to the kayak I scooped it up with the first fish still in the net. I had a double! That second fish was even a bit bigger at 15" and ended up being my best of the day. So it was 1 to 1 in the dodger vs no-dodger battle.

Here is the 15 incher:

I went back to trolling and kept getting bites and ended up catching a couple more so that it was now 2 to 2 in the battle.

After making one loop without getting a bite I decided to leave the area I had been getting all my bites and fish and troll closer to the no wake boundary since that is traditionally a good area this time of year for me. That turned out to be a bust so then I decided to head up the lake around ramp A.

I did that to both check out the fishing for myself of course but also to see what the shore bite looked like since my son had said he might want to take his girlfriend fishing when she flies in from Texas in December. Well that ended up being a waste of time on both fronts. I did not see anyone catch anything on the shore and I had no bites.

At that point, I decided to head back to where I had my earlier success. I trolled through that area without a sniff so then I expanded my search a bit and ran into them again. The bite was even better than in the morning but the number of missed bites and lost fish was horrendous for some reason.

In between all the missed fish I did manage to land two more nice trout, one on the no-dodger and one on the dodger.

So, I ended the battle with 3 on the no-dodger rod and 3 on the rod with the dodger once I started the experiment (those plus the two earlier fish gave me 8 on the day). I will have to try the experiment again next time out and run it all day long.

Here is some video from the day:

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NICE man, very nice. LOVE me a dodger, 10" leader, and a worm! Typical 4" dodger is fished best with 8-12" of leader. For the proper roll of the bait.
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Usually I only use (Arrow) dodgers when fishing for kokanee and not trout. I always felt like I did better at Hagg without them. I decided to buy some dodgers/flashers from Paulina Peak tackle (they looked so pretty!). The first experiment ended in a tie, which honestly surprised me since the conditions (sunny, calm, fairly clear water) were those that I thought would favor a dodger-less approach.

One thing I did note was that when the sun got low at the end of the day I only got bites on the dodger setup. I think in the low light that dodger really drew them in. My guess at this point is that when the water is really clear the dodger may not offer an advantage but when the water gets off-color or in low light that a dodger may out fish my regular dodger-less approach. I am looking forward to continuing the experiment this fall and winter.
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