Henry Hagg Lake fishing reports

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bass

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The 19th was a beautiful day:

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Pretty calm and some bright all day long. It was also cool because there was big crew (rowing) event going on which was fun to watch.

I have to admit it took the trout a while to realize what a good angler I am. I was a little miffed at their failure to realize my superiority :) The fishing started out slow for me. In the first 4 hours I had only landed two stockers. This was my first trip of the year and the earliest I had ever tried to fish Hagg. I assumed the fish should be near the top but after not getting anything trolling with light weights I started experimenting with different depths with one of my rods. By early afternoon I had only caught the two fish, both had come on top.

I had started at ramp C and trolled my way all the way to the dam by this point. My first pass along the dam had me miss a bite on a crankbait about half way along and finally catching a fish as I reached the one end (on the shallow spinner+worm). At that point my experimental rod back to my normal setup (1/8 on dropper, 1/24oz roostertail with a trailer + 1/2 nightcrawler). From that point on the bite really picked up for me.

I ended up with 15 trout and missed a ton more. I was getting a bite every 5-10 minutes and while I missed most of them I hooked enough to make it a fun day. I even hooked with a double once (but eventually lost the second fish). Most of the fish were stockers but I did catch a handful of nicer fish:

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I could have caught far more fish than I did but I had promised to be home early with some fried chicken from the Lakestop store. Yum. What a great way to top off a beautiful day.

This past Saturday (26th) I hit Hagg again and the day was not nearly as nice. It was pretty windy starting mid morning throughout the rest of the day and chilly too. Best of all is that I forgot my thermos of piping hot coffee on the kitchen counter :( I was shivering off and on all day and I really could have used that coffee!! I was definitely a layer or two under-dressed.

Anyway, the fishing was definitely slower for me than the week prior. I am not sure if it was in part because it was more difficult to fish or whether it was the weather :) Anyway I started at ramp C again and decided to troll towards Tanner Creek arm with the idea of trolling the Eastern shore towards the dam (where I had done my best the week before). I started out with both rods having my normal setup but after not getting anything fites for the first 1/2 hour I switched one rod to a crankbait. That ended up being a fortunate move. As I trolled the point between Scoggins and Tanner that rod with the crankbait got a vicious strike and I have a good fight on my hands.

Something was trying to break one of my beloved Lamiglas kokanee rods:

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I had a hard time moving the fish at first and then it came up and made two spectacular jumps and I saw it was a nice little smallmouth in the 1.5lb range.

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I was surprised at how active that fish was (jumping twice) in the 49 degree water. After releasing that fish I resumed trolling and a little while later I had another hit on the crankbait and this time it was a decent trout about a foot long. About 10 minutes later I had another smallmouth (similar to the first). Then a bit later another nice sized trout hit the crankbait. I really felt like I had a good pattern going and was planning on busy day when the wind picked up.

Now I am not sure if the wind changed how the fish were holding or if all the chop just made it hard to sense bites but once the wind picked up I did not get another bite (as far as I could tell) for the next 5 hours or so. I tried a bunch of depths, speeds, locations but I could not scare up a bite. By that time I had ended up over towards the Western shore most of the way towards the dam. I was fishing over fairly deep water(75-90'), pretty far from shore when I started to get some bites!

I had just switched over from a roostertail to a panther martin. I am not sure if that made a difference or if I had finally just come across the winning location, but it was really nice to finally get some bites. I ended up catching 6 trout in two hours (5 on panther martin, 1 on roostertail) from that general area. While not fast fishing by any means after the previous 5 hour slump it felt like heaven. Around then the rain started misting in and I was miserably cold so I decided to troll back to ramp C. I did not get a single bite the entire way back. That may have been due in part to me being cold and trolling faster than I should have, but it just did not feel fishy to me.

By the end I was pretty wiped out from being cold all day long and while I had some success it was definitely once of my more challenging days on the water.
 

bass

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This year for Mother's day we cleverly went out to dinner on Saturday night and had a wonderful time. My wife said it would be great if I took Zach fishing on Sunday so she could spend the day uninterrupted with our daughter. Now what kind of husband would I be if I did not honor a request like that :)

Zach and I were on the water at Hagg and fishing by 8:00am. I was a little worried about the wind for the day since it was already breezy and it is never a good thing to be seeing mini-whitecaps that early in the morning. We slowly made our way down the lake towards the Scoggins arm - the plan being to spend the day in the no wake zone. It was so choppy that we had to go pretty slowly in the Coleman Crawdad to keep the chop from breaking over the bow.

We tucked into a micro-cove with the idea of having a panfish slayfest. We fished that spot hard for an hour, experimenting with lures, speeds, depths with only a couple of bites that did not stick. Usually that spot is killer and I was a quite surprised and worried that we were in for a long boring day. We moved along the bank looking for spots to tuck into out of the wind. I would make some occasional casts with a crankbait but that did not produce anything.

After a while we anchored up in a second somewhat protected spot and we fished it hard for panfish - once again with no results. Zach had lost faith and decided to curl up on the floor of boat at that point. I could feel the waves of disappointment and betrayal at having been made to wake up early cascading off of him like an avalanche. At that point I decided to pick up my spinning rod that was rigged with a 3" Senko (wacky rigged). I had gone small since the water was so clear (probably at least 6-7' of visibility). On my second cast I felt that familiar tick in the line and I set the hook into a big fish. It took off for cover and I tried to stop it. SNAP! Dang it. Zach lifted his head and said at least we got a bite - throwing down the proverbial gauntlet.

I re-rigged and tossed back out again and hooked up again. I offered the rod to Zach but jumped up and said he wanted to net the fish. Not a monster but it felt good to get the skunk off after several hours of skunkitude:

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We kept fishing that spot and I picked up a few more fish about the same size. Now Zach went back and forth between wanting to reel them and netting them. He didn't look as tired as he had just a few minutes earlier :) However he refused to hold any of the fish so I could get a picture. He is still afraid of being poked and always has me handle the fish. I need to work on that with the boy. We were almost ready to leave that spot when I made that proverbial last cast and hooked into what what would turn out to be the best fish of the day. I passed the rod to Zach but after feeling it pull hard he handed the rod back to me. After a good tussle with a bunch of jumps, that thrilled Zach, he got the net under this nice chunk.

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No monster but a solid 2lb 12oz smallmouth is always a fun catch.

We beat that spot a bit more and then continued on down the lake, now both tossing 3" senkos. We picked up a a bass here and there as we worked our way down the lake. After a bit I realized the pattern for the day was clean bottom spots in 3-7' of water with cover nearby. We started focusing on those spots and started really fishing efficiently. Most spots we stopped at had a fish or two and it was rarer to stop and at least not get a bite.

Finally we pulled into one promising spot and I made a nice cast and got an immediate bite. I set the hook and my senko came flying out of the water and we saw the fish race over and grab it again. This time when I set the hook the bare hook came flying back. I told Zach to cast into the spot and he make a perfect cast. As I was digging another senko out of the bag I saw him set the hook and start fighting a fish. He got it near the boat and it was a trout! The most amazing thing is that it jumped next to the boat and spit out my senko! Shortly thereafter I got it into the net.

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Now for the rest of the day I had to listen to Zach continually reiterate that he was the better fisherman because he caught the fish the I could not catch :)

As we made our way deeper into the arm we got more into largemouth territory. We caught only caught 3 largemouth, but they were hungry:

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Once again no monsters but fun fish:

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By this time we were solidly fishing the pattern of bare spots and skipping everything in between. Almost every time we stopped we got bites and caught fish. It seemed like the bite was getting better and better. Zach asked if he could run the boat and I said sure. It was a lot of fun having a voice controlled trolling motor/chauffeur :) He was really excited the first time he maneuvered me onto a spot and I caught a fish:

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Zach really enjoyed driving the boat and he kept pointing to far away spots saying "Let's go there next". We had caught so many fish that I did not mind at all. We kept fishing and catching until Zach said he was tired. We had the perfect end to a perfect day when I hooked up on the last cast and Zach landed the fish.

He was happy as a clam when I told him he could drive back to the ramp and dock the boat. He did great!

We ended the day with 22 bass (19 smallmouth and 3 largemouth) and the one trout that Zach caught - the one I couldn't catch:)

And of course we brought it all home at the end by bringing mom a mess of fried chicken from the Lakestop store!

Days don't get better than that!
 

TimberTodd

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The back wasn't feeling like a 90 minute drive to the coast this morning so I headed back to Hagg. I launched at Ramp C again and headed straight to Scoggins arm. I was anchored up and flipping the bug wand by 7:00. By 8:00 I had lost count of the Gills that had succumbed to the rubber leg Prince nymph. They averaged 7"-8" and were a hoot on the 4wt. I fished that spot for 2 hours, then the bite died. I moved further into the cove, but couldn't score a hit. I moved back to where I started and nailed a few more. The lake was glass today which made for some daydreaming and missed takes. At one point I looked down to find a 20" yellow racer about to join me in the yak. After steering him back towards shore I decided to move out and find the hump in the channel and toss senkos. The bass weren't having any of it so I paddled my way back to the truck. With rain in the forecast for Thursday, my plan is to spend tomorrow back in the same spot.
 

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Met a buddy at Hagg around 10:30 yesterday morning. The day turned out to be beautiful as the weather report was calling for heavy cloud cover, but we were gifted blue skies and sun. My friend caught 2 rainbows... a 10" and a 14 1/2", but had a bunch of bites as well, using power eggs. I used a 7g rainbow trout Tasmanian Devil with no luck and only had 2 bites using Chartreuse Power Bait. I landed a very nice 19" rainbow on one of those bites.

It was a fighter, as it barely gave a faint jiggle to my rod tip, before absolutely slamming the rod tip and running deep. It's my largest rainbow for the year and was also the most delicious.

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bass

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Sunday the 7th was a cool rainy day at Hagg. The wind was quite calm until 2 or 3pm and then kicked up a bit. The rain was very light with an occasional heavier spurt basically conditions were just about perfect.

I launched from boat ramp C and had my rods in the water by 8:30am. The bite was just incredible right from the start. I was trolling two rods. One had a 1/24oz green roostertail and the other had a 1/24oz pink roostertail. Both setups were fished with a 1/8oz dropper and set 50' back. I also had a trailer hook on each with a couple of inches of mono. I threaded 1/2 nightcrawler on each setup using a worm threader so that the mono is inside the worm and the trailer is sticking out the end. The other end I hook onto one of the trebles.

I had a hard time keeping two rods in the water for most of the day. More often than not I would hook a second fish while reeling in a first. I did not land many doubles but the action was the fastest I have ever had on Hagg.

Lots of nice sized fish in the 12" range:



A handful of 14" fish and my big fish of the day was 18":



It was mid-afternoon and I was at 39 fish and I had decided if I catch one more I would stop, but I ended up actually landing a double which boosted me to 41. I had no choice but to go for 50.

As I released by 49th fish my other rod just whipped down and a giant trout launched itself into the air. I picked up the rod and that is by far the biggest fish I ever had on that kokanee rod. On the next jump it through the hook, but that fish was easily 5lbs if not more. Just an absolute beast. That was a huge bummer.

I only put out one rod and in anticlimactic fashion hooked and landed my 50th fish - which was a nice 14 incher. Normally I would have thought that to be a great day ender, but the bitterness of losing the giant was still too fresh.

In retrospect (and after reading a report on another forum) I realized that both the 18" fish and the monster were hooked on the inside rod while making a big turn. In that situation, the lure will sink a lot deeper and I think that perhaps if I had run my rods deeper all day I may have ended up with a lot of big fish. Shoulda, woulda, coulda - that is fishing.

The coolest thing during the day is that it was pretty easy to figure out what the fish were feeding on (fish were busting the surface all day long). I was constantly cleaning up bluegill fryf that the trout kept yakking up into my kayak.:)



I think anyone fishing Hagg might do well to match the hatch with these little guys. I was hoping to go back out this weekend but re-injured my shoulder again during the week. I am on injured reserve for a while. I sure know what I am going to do next fall!

I hope this report helps. I am not sure how well the fish bite under the sunny skies we have right now, but I can definitely say that they go nuts all day long if we get a rainy day.

Last note, is that color did not seem to make a difference nor did the wind. When the wind kicked up the bite just continued on at about the same pace. The only place I did not catch trout was in water shallower than 12'. It seemed like the no-wake zone was pretty much paved with fish in water deeper than 12'. I did spend most of my time in 20' or more, but it seemed as long as I was in 12' or more I caught fish.
 
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bass

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I fished Henry Hagg Lake on Saturday March 16th and it was beautiful morning.

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The bite was just outright insane. The fish were incredibly active and were rising and feeding on the midges coming off all day long. I ended up with 47 landed, mostly 10" fish with a 1/2 dozen or so in the 14" range.

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and one 18" pig that was so fat it looked deformed:

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I launched at ramp A and spent the day (8:30am-4pm) between there and the dam. In the morning the fish were bunched up more tightly and in huge schools. I would troll along and both rods would go off. I hooked up doubles more often than singles. I only landed 2 doubles though because it was difficult to keep pedaling while unhooking the first fish in order to get to the second rod. I did not mind.

I was trolling my usually 1/24 oz roostertails in pink/silver and green/gold with 1/2 nightcrawler 50' back with a 1/8oz dropper. Both colors were bit hard all day long. At some point in the afternoon I decided to pull in one spinner and put on a tiny crankbait (Strike King Bitsy Minnow) in Sexy Shad which looks like a bluegill fry. The first fish I caught on this was a 14" beauty. Next was the 18" pig. I only caught 6 fish on this but 4 of the 6 were good sized.

The little crankbait got banged about as often as the spinner by the smaller fish but the hookup rate with those was very low - which is what I wanted. When the better fish hit it they hit really hard and buried the rod. Really awesome.

The bite was great all day but the end of the day was the best - fried chicken from the Lake Stop store :)

It was interesting that by the afternoon the fish had spread out as compared to the morning. You could see them dimpling about as far as my eyes could see out to the middle of the lake. In the afternoon I had fewer doubles but it seemed like I could get bit where ever I went.

The water color was nice and the morning temp on my unit read 41 and by the afternoon read 47.

That was my first day trolling with my new Outback (usually used my NuCanoe with an electric in the past) and I really like felt like it was a great platform. I will say that my legs were a bit tired after 7 1/2 hours of pedaling but its a small price to pay for a day like that.
 

troutdude

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Yet another stellar day; and a great write up. Made me feel like I was along for the ride.

BTW that 18" appears to be a newly stocked fish (not a holdover). And you're right it looks deformed. Crazy man.
 

bass

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C_run, there were plenty of boats on Hagg but the water was not super crowded. When I got to Hagg there were only a couple of boat trailers at ramp A. I was dreadfully slow getting launched and by the time I got on the water at 8:30 there were probably a dozen or more. There may have been 30-50 boats out (I am really guessing). The area I fished probably had half a dozen boats trolling in the general area at any given time. But that is not many boats for 3/4 mile stretch.

Also, if any area gets crowded there is always tons of empty water.

Hey TD, I have no idea if it was a new stocker or a holdover. It was pretty silvery which I figured would make it more likely to have wintered over. The smaller fish had stronger pink lines which I always have taken to mean more recent stockers. That was always my guess but there is certainly no science and not a lot of thought behind it. Also, I know bass can change their pigmentation in about a day or two so perhaps my whole color theory is worth even less than you paid for it :)
 

troutdude

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A telltale sign of a hold-over is different colored bands, across the caudal fin (from top to bottom). At least that's what Sherry, at the Lake Stop Grocery store, showed me several years ago. Each band equals one year of growth. Just like the rings of a tree.

If anyone knows that to be incorrect--or knows of other ways to spot a holdover--please chime in.
 

bass

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I will say that it does sound a little unbelievable but it definitely could be true.
 

troutdude

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Thanks @rogerdodger. It was worth a try. Maybe someone else can help.

@bass Sherry had just weighed an 11.32 pound 29" 'bow, at her store. Then she held it up to bright light, and pointed at it's caudal fin. All across the end of the fin, was a darker colored band versus a lighter colored band just ahead of it. Or it may have been the other way around. With that one change in band coloration--she said it meant that it was a one year holdover.

Again...I do not know if that is really correct. It's just what she told us. But I've never confirmed that with a Fisheries Biologist or anything like that.
 

bass

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Roger, the new outback is amazing. It is hard to pedal slow enough to troll at 1.3mph. So fast compared to my older outback. All the storage as well. Turns so much more sharply. Crazy big improvement.

Your videos were a huge motivation for getting it! Thanks for taking the time to make them. U can also attest that the stability was awesome in catching a 6.5' sturgeon last month. The reverse really helped me to whip that fish.
 
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