Hagg lake, 31 May 2020 - www.ifish.net
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Old 06-01-2020, 06:39 PM   #1
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Default Hagg lake, 31 May 2020

I was sick and tired of cleaning grass of my lures so I decided to skip the Willamette and hit Hagg instead. It had been a really hot week but we were on 2nd day of a cold front so I was not expecting a great day. I was tempted to bring some trout gear but I knew that if I did I would do the easy thing and just fish for trout. I made my plans to fish for bass and stuck with it.

I was surprised when I got to Hagg and saw that the water temp was ~67 degrees. The Willamette the week before had only been in the mid-50s and I figured Hagg would be a little warmer than that but I was way off.

I launched at boat ramp C and started fishing towards the Scoggins arm. On my 2nd cast I hooked a nice-sized smallmouth on a hard swimbait. I was pretty fired up since I was expecting the fish to be in a neutral to negative mood at best and not really chase hard baits very much.

Turns out that the first fish was one of those well-known liar fish. I did not catch a fish on a hard bait all day long.

After a dozen more casts I decided to pick up a wacky-rigged 3" senko and go back over the area. I caught a small smallmouth (first fish on the video). If you watch carefully you can see it puke up a decent-sized little perch right before I land it.

After that first flurry of action I probably spent an hour or so without a bite. I kept cycling through my takcle box looking for something that the bass would find appetizing. I tried a spinnerbait, a 1.5 crankbait, hard swimbait, jerkbait, soft swimbait, 3" wacky rigged senko, and a ned rig.

Eventually as I worked my way down the bank I came to a min-cove where I have done well in the past. I dropped my anchor and decided to cycle through eveything I had tied on to see if it was a problem of me not finding fish. There should be some fish in this spot.

I went through all my rods except for the ned rig without a sniff. I picked up the ned rig and on my 3rd cast to the same spot I caught a nicer smallmouth. I had probably made half a dozen casts with 5 different lures to that spot before I even picked up the ned rig.

I was amazed that all that action had not spooked that fish and that it had taken 3 casts to get it to bite. At that point I realized that the fish were in a negative/neutral mood and that if I wanted to catch something I would need to fish slowly and carefully.

So that is what I did. I alternated between the wacky rigged Senko and the ned rig and carefully combed the water. I got to another favorite spot of mine and within a handful of casts I caught my first largemouth of the year!



Decent in length but really skinny with no signs of spawning (tail looks perfect).

I kept working my way down the stretch being as quiet and stealthy as I could when I felt another pick up on the ned rig and saw my line moving out. I set the hook with a little too much pepper and POP goes the weasel.

I passed the time while re-tying by berating myself. With all that out of my system I calmed myself and carefully eased myself back to where I broke the fish off.

First cast and I start working the lure back when I seem to lose contact with it. I reel a little trying to regain contact with the ned rig when I see that the line is once again heading out towards deeper water. I set the hook firmly but definitely more controlled and I have my second largemouth of the year!



To be honest at that point I had already caught more bass than I had anticipated for the entire day (given the cold front).

I made a few more casts to the spot without a bite so I decided to change my presentation angle. First cast from a different angle and the same thing once again. While my ned rig was sitting still on the bottom a bass picked it up and started to swim into deeper water.

I once again made a good crisp hookset and this time I could feel some shoulders on the fish. She put up a good account for herself against the light spinning rod but after a short battle she was mine. She was extremely skinny and only weighted 2lbs 14oz. I really have to believe if that fish was fat she might have been pushing 3 3/4lbs but the scale doesn't lie.

In the video you can see me weight the fish and release it. As soon as I did I said "oops, in all that excitement I forgot to take a picture". At least the video is OK.

I fished that spot for a while longer without any more action. I kept working my way down the bank fishing slowly with the ned rig and picked up a little guy a ways down the bank.

For the rest of the day I only landed one more bass (another pretty decent largemouth) on a wacky rigged, weedless senko up around some shallow grass.

I hooked a few more fish but they all shook the hook.

That was it for me for the day. I only caught 7 bass but I went into the day thinking I might get skunked. Expectations make such a huge difference in how you feel about the day!

Here is some video from the day - including the stupid break off. Check those lines!

https://youtu.be/E-A72McXzCc

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Old 06-01-2020, 10:53 PM   #2
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I’ve been doing some reading on cold fronts and how Changes in barometric pressure affect bass. It seems that pressure will fluctuate up here in the NW a point north or south of 30.5. From what I’ve read, it takes a fairly significant change in pressure to stress bass. A change in pressure of 1 point is akin to the fish diving or ascending, depending on which direction the pressure changed, about 16 inches. I think cold fronts in the south where wild changes in pressure occur, have a lot more of an effect on bass.

I fished American Lake near Tacoma on Friday where it was 80+ degrees and a surface temp around 67 degrees. I then fished the same lake on Sunday with air temps around 58 to 60 and surface temps at 64 degrees after a cold rain. Barometric pressure was around 29.8 on Friday and 30.2 on Sunday.

The bite was no worse on Sunday, but it the fish were shallower. Most of the fish caught on Friday were in 18-22 FOW. On Sunday, most were caught in 13-15 FOW. Whether that was due to increased barometric pressure, or decreased sunlight, who knows.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:26 AM   #3
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Default Re: Hagg lake, 31 May 2020

Thanks for that insight Dead_Meat!

I grew up in Pittsburgh and lived in NC for a while. I agree that the cold fronts out here are not as devastating as those from the East coast but I still think that they are often disruptive.

The thing that I notice is that when in a warm and stable weather pattern this time of year that I will see a lot of fish swirling near the surface. Bluegill and other small fish. When a cold front comes through (like this last 20 degree drop) that goes away. I don't necessarily think that bass ever feel discomfort from a barometric change but I do think that there is a disruption in the food chain that produces poorer feeding conditions. I believe that this is the one of the main factors affecting bass behavior during a cold front.

I also don't understand why but it seems to me that fish bunch up more tightly in post-frontal conditions. I had my best day ever in PA in a post-front situation. I found and inside corner of a weedbed with some wood on it. I caught six bass over 4lbs including one over 6lbs. They were all on that one spot. I did not get a bite anywhere else in that lake except that one tiny spot. There were a lot of casts between fish but it seemed like every good fish in that small lake were on that one spot.

I had a similar situation, to a smaller degree, this past weekend. I cought 3 bass and broke one off from a single clean spot in the middle of a weedbed. Not as severe as an East coast cold front but there is definitely something to the fish bunching more tightly and being more neutral. Most of the bites came while the ned rig was sitting still on the bottom rather than on the drop.
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Old 06-04-2020, 11:31 AM   #4
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I swear, one day I’ll have them figured out!
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Old 06-04-2020, 12:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: Hagg lake, 31 May 2020

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dead_Meat View Post
I swear, one day I’ll have them figured out!
You have much higher hopes than I do
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