Mixed bag @ Howard Prairie & Hyatt

I went to Hyatt first, in hopes of catching some of the numerous little bass. It took me awhile to find the right lure, and after catching a nice 10" trout on a rooster tail, I began landing little bass on a curlytail jig.

I caught a total of seven largemouths in about 2 hours. The only way to fish this part of the lake without a boat is to sit on the dock on wade through the weeds. The dock at Camper's Cove was gone, so I waded out in swimming trunks and was surprised by how warm the water was.

My dad caught two bass in about 15 minutes, and he had one on that was about 2-3 pounds, but he didn't get a good hookset.


Howard Prairie was the next stop, and I headed straight for the dam. I used every lure in my tackle box, as well as worms, but the best luck came from jigs and topwaters. I caught pumpkinseed on crappie jigs and a tiny crawfish crankbait and smallmouths on larger jigs and a zara puppy.

All the fish were small, save the 2ish pound smallie I had on my first cast. These little fish would bite anything, as this picture shows. Kinda funny.

I caught a total of 25 fish that day, and kept the trout and the littl e largemouths. Note: If you fish at Hyatt, keep your limit of bass, because the fish are stunted at 8-10", because nobody keeps them!
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I spent about 45 minutes at Hyatt while in the area for business last Wednesday. I fished from a fallen tree that extended out about 10 feet from the shoreline. I primarily used a watermelon seed Zoom lizard, texas rigged on a 3/0 gamakatsu with 3/8 oz bullet weight. I casted all directions throughout the short reeds along the shoreline. I landed one 8 or 9 inch largemouth on this rig and hooked another one that felt like a 2 or 3 pounder, but after trying to wrestle him through the reeds for about 20 seconds he got off the hook. I decided after about 30 minutes to use a little 2" baby trout swim bait that I found a few years ago and threw in my tackle box. I caught another little 8 or 9 inch bass on the first cast, but didn't get any other hits after that. That may have been because I spent most of my time trying to wrestle that treble hook through the reeds before I got frustrated and then had to head back to the office.
tengu, where is a better option? I used to fish the Boat Basin before they closed that to fishing...some big largemouths spawn there. I would love to land a smallie that is larger than a pound, but I have had no such luck at Howard Prairie. Any hints you want to share?

devhow, the secret to avoiding weeds at Hyatt is to use as little weight as possible and to wade out in the water or fish from a boat. There is little chance of catching fish from shore, because you have to drage your lure through so many weeds. I use either a 3" watermelon or chartreuse curlytail grub on a 1/4 oz jig or any rapala that looks like a rainbow trout. Both work well at different times. The water doesn't go past waist level until about 20 feet from shore in most places...just far enough to wade past the weeds. Also, float tubes, boats, or a kayak work well in this lake.

Try the side by Camper's Cove and be prepared to walk. That will save you the $5-7 Day Use Fee that they charge to park by the lodge. Why pay to fish a public body of water?


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tengu, where is a better option? I used to fish the Boat Basin before they closed that to fishing...some big largemouths spawn there. I would love to land a smallie that is larger than a pound, but I have had no such luck at Howard Prairie. Any hints you want to share?
I caught a pair of nice smallies on the south side by the Willow Point CG on July 1st.
Definitely. The peak time for Howard Prairie's smallmouths is August. I have caught 40+ fish in a few hours using grasshoppers in late August. Hyatt peaks in the next few weeks here as the water warms. Both lakes are so different than they were 10 years ago...I love bass, but I miss the trout fisheries in both places. They have taken away from these formerly blue ribbon trout waters.

Still, they make a great place for catching a ton of smallish fish with a chance at some bigger ones. Howard Prairie has brown bullheads now, too.


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Just a quick update on the bass at Hyatt. Visited Hyatt yesterday and fished along the weed and willow beds. Fishing was fairly easy and I limited in less than an hour. Most fish between 8 & 10 inches. Weapon of choice a 9 ft 4 wt fly rod with a popper and a leech fly for a dropper. All the fish caught on the leech.

Nice! I'm glad you actually keep the fish. A few dozen people regularly keeping limits would get the bass population to a stable, non-stunted level in a season or two...
The limit is 5 bass of each species (Largemouth & Smallmouth). Most places don't have size restrictions, although some (like Lake of the Woods), do. The entire Klamath Basin has no limits on size or number of bass taken.

As for Stripers, I believe the limit is two per 24 hour period. Hybrids are also 2 per 24 hour period, I think. I hope that helps!
I think you could be right, Panman, but I'm not sure. I had a warden once tell me that it was per species, but re-reading the regs, I think it makes more sense as an aggregate limit. We have no limits on bass here in the Klamath Basin, so I never really had to worry about it.

I think bass have the worst-tasting flesh of any gamefish I've eaten, so I rarely keep them myself. The fillets of the tiny bass from HP & Hyatt make great cat food, though.


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A couple days ago I was up near Hyatt on business and decided to spend an hour fishing in the middle of the day before I headed back down to flat land. I was using watermelon seed Zoom lizards Texas-rigged on a 1/0 Gamakatsu worm hook and a 1/8 oz. bullet weight. I had 4 or 5 fish take my bait, but couldn't seem to set the hook on any of them. I decided I needed to be more patient and let them swim with my bait a bit longer and give them time to get more than just the tail in their mouth before trying to set the hook. Still, after letting another 3 or 4 fish swim with the lizard in mouth for 15 to 20 seconds, I was coming up with no fish when trying to set the hook. I decided to reel in and pinch off the tail of the lizard, leaving it looking more like a frog, but leaving a shorter distance between the end of the bait and the hook. Finally, I was able to set the hook and begin to reel one in. Unfortunately, after bringing him within about 15 feet of me he jumped and threw the hook. At that point I had been out for a little over an hour and had to get back down to work so my fishing came to an end. I didn't actually land any of the 9 or 10 fish I played with, but I did learn a valuable lesson about adapting and making changes as necessary.

I'm still looking for that big one!
I've had similar problems when using conventional bass lures. The baits are simply too big for the 8-12" fish. Try using a small swimbait, rapala, or curlytail jig. Those are large enough to potentially catch a decent fish, but small enough that the little guys can still fit them in their mouths.

The other thing I would recommend is wading out about 10-20 feet. Twenty feet from the shore, the water is still less than 3 1/2 feet deep. The water is warm, so you usually don't even need waders. This gets you past the grassy/weedy shoreline, and allows you to get into open water. Good luck!
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