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Mid-March Henry Hagg Lake Trip Report - Next Adventure

Mid-March Henry Hagg Lake Trip Report

Unlock the Secrets: Mastering Bass Fishing at Henry Hagg Lake

If you were to take a “Best Places to Fish” poll on the Oregon Kayak Bass Fishing Facebook page, Henry Hagg Lake would likely not rank too high. Depending on the time of year, Henry Hagg Lake can be a very fickle lake. It can sometimes be very difficult to find and catch fish. I can tell you though, the lake can produce some very decent-sized Largemouth and smallmouth bass. The state record smallmouth bass came out of Henry Hagg Lake. I have spent many days on the lake only to leave the lake without catching a single fish, but I have also had days where the lake surprised me with some of the highest quality fish I have ever caught

photo of fishing kayak

In the middle of March, I was finally able to get my kayak out to Hagg Lake for my first fishing trip of the year. Henry Hagg Lake provides a close fishing location that doesn’t have the same safety concerns as other popular spots on local rivers. The water temperature was sitting between 46 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and the air temperature was supposed to peak at 72. At this time of year, the smallmouth bass start to make their way to the many lake points. This is when they start to transition from deeper water using their underwater highways where they can start feeding up on emerging crawdads in preparation for the spawn.

After getting the kayak on the water, I decided to focus on submerged stumps and river rock patches. These areas are some of smallmouth bass’s favorite spots. Where they will stop and search for food. In the rocks, they are looking for crawdads that are just waking up from the winter. At this point in the year, it is best if these areas are situated between shallow spawning flats and deeper water. These areas allow the fish to easily ascend to the shallower areas to feed, then easily descend back to the safety of the depths. It is also close to the spawning area so that when the water temperatures start to warm, they are in the vicinity of their spawning area.

Even though the beautiful weather brought out the crowds, I was able to find some fish. I used a crankbait that would dive to about 12 ft. I ran this bait slowly along the rocky bottom allowing the bait to run into rocks. This gives the bait a very erratic movement which, early in the year, can cause reaction strikes. To increase your chances of reaction strikes, don’t be afraid to rip a bait off the rocks if it gets a little stuck or stop and start the bait you retrieve. These motions can help trigger strikes you might not get otherwise.

Over about 4 hours, I worked a couple of spots with my crankbait, sometimes switching it up to other presentations to see if what the fish wanted had changed. I was able to pick up 4 fish, all on a crankbait, with my largest fish measuring in at 19.5”. This fish was so strong it bent out one of the three prongs on one of the treble hooks in the crankbait. It reminded me that Henry Hagg Lake does indeed hold bass. And if you work hard enough, and get a little lucky you can catch one of the bigger ones. 

photo of fish being measured in kayak
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