Memorial Day weekend is when everyone and their dog heads out to “enjoy nature”. Having tried to go out during this three-day crazyfest in years past, I know that “enjoying nature” is generally defined as consuming excessive amounts of light beer, blasting country music from anything with speakers and using the outdoors as one’s personal trash heap and bathroom. So, I tried to get out to this popular spot before madness descended, and it was positively serene. Other than a few kayaks, a couple boats trolling slowly across the channels and the majority of shore fishers gathered around the dam, I had the lake to myself.
I don’t have a whole lot of experience lake fishing, but a map on Oregon Fishing Forum pointed out some good spots for bank fishing on the lake. Most of them centered around the various feeder streams. I’d also read that trout tend to cruise close to the shore until the water gets too warm, so bank fishing can be productive. Fishing in Oregon also said the best bank trout fishing is in May and June, before it gets too hot and the stockers become wary. That, and knowing Hagg lake is stocked with close to 100,000 fish, made me figure my chances were pretty good.
Last week I picked up a whole new box of trout lures in preparation: Rooster Tails, Panther Martins, small Blue Fox spinners, and a few dark-colored spoons. At the first spot on the map there was one hook up on a Rooster Tail. Then nothing else until I’d walked close to six miles and trying every single new lure I’d bought.
There is a park close to the west-end boat ramp at the mouth of one of the feeder creeks. The park itself wasn’t that interesting, but the stream leading to it was enticing. The park-side bank is covered in marshy grasses and impossible to get through, but the far bank has a couple nice spots overlooking creek mouth. There is a foot/mountain bike path that goes all the way around the lake, and I followed it up and over. From the far side, the stream was pale green, and the marshy, grassy bank reminded me of the upper Deschutes near Sunriver.
I was pushing the time limit on making it back home to pick up the baby from daycare. But all anglers know that feeling of “one more cast…okay, now just one more over there, just in case…” and this was one time it paid off. I tied on a black and brass Rooster Tail, and when I cast upstream, I got a bite. Another couple casts and hooked an eight-inch hatchery trout. Not much to write home about (although I am). Since it wasn’t worth keeping, he went back in without a photo. One of these days I’ll actually post a picture of a real fish I caught, just not today.
Today’s lesson: When lake bank fishing, look for inlets and outlets and drop-offs close to shore.