It’s a long walk up from the dock at Hogan these days. The lake is very low, approaching the low water of 2004. But wouldn’t that mean the stripers have less room to hide? Well, yes, and the same applies to the shad. And the stripers are at a 24 hour shad buffet just now. The feeding must be incredible there and the stripers are not interested in bait I offered this week. I tried mostly shad, but also some anchovy. All for a big zilch. Nada. Not even a bump. Maybe next week! (Sorry – the photo of the long ramp and low water was lost during the site transfer.)
This was my 11th trip in a row to Hogan this summer, and I finally had some better luck after two weeks of zero. The 3 1/2 lb.catfish took a large shad on the troll, as did the two four pound stripers.
The lake is now at just 643′ elevation. That is the lowest since 2004 when it was 641′. I just bought a couple of Cannon Mag 5s to replace the manual Cannons that were just killin’ me! I sure like the electrics, they are fast and easy to use – and my shoulders don’t hurt every time I go fishing. I reckon I’ll be back at Hogan next week again – it’s much nicer now that the lake lice are pretty much gone, at least they were this week!
A bit of wind early, but the day was hot and the breeze light. I thought the hotter the weather, the better the fishing – but not this day. I saw one guy reel in a small striper using a minnow, and that’s all the action I saw or heard about all day. Maybe next week.
The old dam stands higher out of the water than I recall seeing it in the past, even higher than the boat trolling along the dam. I keep thinking the shallower the better for fishing, but I guess I still haven’t got this lake figured out! (Photo of the dam was lost during the transfer.)
August 20, 2008
After eight productive trips to Hogan I suppose it was time for a skunk, although the fish seemed to do their part.
The short story: I had three good strikes that stuck long enough for me to begin working the fish to the boat. Every single one came undone within seconds. That is very frustrating – especially when I was using the exact same rigs I had used the last two weeks and reeled in five stripers. And I don’t remember a single fish coming unbuttoned the past two weeks. I’ll blame it on the unusually heavy amount of bait in the water; perhaps the fish were not striking to feed, but were hitting so lightly that the hooks just didn’t stick deeply.
Incidentally, the hooks are barbless on my new Pro-Troll rigs. I changed them to barbed hooks since this trip and I hope that will correct this problem.
I’ve never seen more bait balls than I did this trip. They were everywhere it seemed, and when I did find the stripers they were just inside the mouth of the river arm feeding on the abundant bait – which I believe are shad. I marked the bait everywhere I went. And there was a 3/4 moon this trip as well, so the stripers had been very well fed during the night and not exactly on the prowl for the anchovies I offered.
Perhaps next week, with barbed hooks, I will do better. I sure hope so…
Another Hogan Stringer!
August 13, 2008
Just since last week the ramp with two docks was closed due to low water. The ramp with the single long dock and two lanes is still open but one of those lanes is pretty muddy. The good news is the kids are going back to school now and there should be fewer lake lice to deal with.
I was on the water at 0600, and back to the ramp at 1100 to beat the crowd at the single ramp – and to avoid the afternoon lice infestation!
A feisty six pounder hit about 0800 at 30′ on the Pro-Troll RotoChip lure with an anchovy attached. He put up a grand fight; I couldn’t keep him on the right side of the boat, and struggled to keep him away from the other downrigger which still had a line attached. He insisted on staying deep and getting him up that last few feet was a real chore. But after about 10 minutes or so, I had him netted. He was a male, full of milt and made quite a mess in the boat.
The next striper hit about 0930, again on rolled anchovy in a RotoChip. He also put up a good fight, but I had him in the box in less time than the first. He weighed in at five pounds and I had a total of 11 pounds in the box.
I met Wacky D as we prepared the boats to go home and he reported seeing boils upriver. I assume the fish are in the main lake this time of year, but I guess not! He and his friend had (I think) three stripers in the boat.
I fish Hogan with my kokanee rods which are very light. They make for real sporting fights from the Hogan stripers, most of which average around four to five pounds. Those kokanee rods bend very well and that works best with downriggers. Because of the deep bend, they snap up line quickly when a fish hits, and that takes up more of the slack line which is inherent in fishing with a downrigger.
With the ramp closure and essentially one lane to launch from for now, I may be done for awhile at Hogan. I’m due for some bait fishing – and it’s a lot easier. Just sitting at anchor is a wonderful change from the busy-ness of trolling with two manual downriggers. I think I’m due for some lazy, kicked back, bait slinging…
Finally! A Stringer of Hogan Stripers!
August 6, 2008
Three beats one, and after six trips of one just fish each, this week’s catch was very satisfying. The only thing I did different was to give up the Kripple Lures which I string together myself with treble hooks. I bought four RotoChip rigs which are like RSKs (Rotary Salmon Killers) into which the bait is placed, and is already rigged with two single hooks. These rigs also have the “chip” which is supposed to put a small amount of voltage into the water to mimic scared or wounded bait fish. Well, all I know is that I tripled my catch with them this week, and will be using them for the foreseeable future.
More and more of the old dam emerges as the lake drops. The lake has dropped about 12 feet since February 1, and seems to have dropped over a foot in the last week. And those finicky stripers have less and less room to hide…
Only ONE Striper for 6th Trip in a Row!
July 30, 2008
And yeah, my sixth straight trip in a row with only one striper to show for it! The good news is that this is six trips in a row and no skunk! This little guy was just 19″ and 2½ Lbs.
I wish I’d have taken a photo of all the smoke from the Yosemite fire that is clearly visible at sunup. The lake wasn’t smokey, yet, but it’s time to try something different next week, anyway.
July 23, 2008
Another Hogan trip, another single striper. I guess a single fish jinx beats a no-fish jinx, so I’m not complaining. I had planned to bait fish this trip, just to be different, but I forgot to include weights when I loaded the boat. Maybe next week I’ll do some bait fishing. I’d sure like to overnight on Hogan again, but without the C-Dory, I just can’t bring myself to do it.
This four pounder took my rolling anchovy at 30 feet down. I had another one on, and it was a whopper, but I lost it before I got it to the boat…
July 16, 2008
Another week at Hogan = another single fish. I must have a curse on the boat that limits me to just one fish!
I left home again at 0500, when it was still dark. Yes, it’s getting noticeably darker in the mornings now. I was trolling Hogan by 0620. This nice four pound striper took my offering of rolled anchovy at 30′ during the first hour. And that was it for the day! I had three good hits during the morning – and not one of them stuck. Go figure.
I was off the water by 1100 and gave up the lake to the madding lake lice that love to stir up Hogan.
The fish are generally around the mouth, within a few hundred yards from the launch ramps. One fella claimed to have an eight pounder and a five pounder, but I didn’t see ’em. Another boat had about three stripers in the box.
The fishing is best on the hottest days, it seems, and Wednesday was not too hot as Hogan weather goes. Maybe next week will be better. And I may just bait fish for a change. I’ll post here as soon as I get home.
June 25, 2008
This week I again headed for New Hogan lake at 0500 and figured I’d be off the lake before noon – and leave the place for the lake lice. And that’s just what I did. I had two fish on, this little guy and another, bigger one that I lost.
June 19, 2008
It was time for another try at New Hogan Lake, near Valley Springs. This lake is full of stripers, most all of them 18″ to about 25″. Larger ones are there, but few are caught.
I launched at 0730 and began rolling anchovies at 20′ down and back 140′, and 30′ down and back 120 feet on the other side. This puts one anchovy just above and behind the first, giving any hesitant striper another quick temptation. It is the shallower, furthest back anchovy that usually gets the bite. The striper above took the shallow one.
There were “mini-boils” all morning, and I tossed a RattleTrap into them a few times – but with no success. Some guys fish only boils this time of year. They wait in their drifting boats ’til a boil erupts, then charge up to it and toss lures into it. It is an exciting way to catch stripers! But for me, I prefer the troll.
The striper limit on Hogan is 10 – and no size limit. The state limit is just two, with a minimum of 18″. Only two other lakes have the higher limit.
June 5, 2008
Finally! A Bit of Success at Hogan…
This time of year it takes some luck to hit the water on a relatively calm day. I had cancelled the day before due to high winds, but Thursday was considerably better. So I headed for New Hogan Lake and some striper fishing.
Every striper I’ve caught on Hogan has been between about 20″ and 28″. A couple of years ago a vacationing kid from out of state caught a 30+ pounder – so some big females are in the lake as well. The trick is to fish there when the stripers are active, and that’s not easy to predict.
The lake is well known for the “boils” of stripers feeding on shad. At any time a boil can erupt as hundreds of stripers chase shad to the surface for a feeding frenzy. I have had them erupt around my boat – and it can be exciting. Some guys will just sit around waiting for a boil, then charge up to it and cast shallow lures into the frenzy.
I prefer to catch stripers by trolling, usually in KrippleAnchovy lures which work much like RSKs, making the bait rotate as it is trolled. I use anchovies that can be purchased in nearby bait shops. I generally troll one at about 30 feet, about 125 feet back, another at 20 feet and 150 feet back. If a striper rises to the 30 foot rig and doesn’t bite, the next one comes right over the top – and most often it is the shallower anchovy that gets the bite.
I had two good hits this trip. The first took an anchovy on a rig that I’d assembled long ago. It was old, possibly damaged, and it cost me a fish. The leader broke shortly after the fight commenced. But the second hit was good and I got that fish to the boat. Both hits took place in the area known as the narrows, just off the main lake and heading upriver.
These Hogan stripers hit hard when they’re feeding. I’ve never had a lazy hit there, they all mean business when they strike! It’s a great place to fish when the stripers are in the mood to feed.
July 27, 28 2004
A New Hogan Limit in 2004 (The 10th striper wouldn’t fit!). Any summer fishing trip on New Hogan has this potential.
March 12, 2008
Hogan is a strange, hard to figure lake that lies just outside of the little foothills town of Valley Springs, a few miles east of Stockton, Ca.
Once a trout lake, stripers were planted to enhance the fishing. Whether intended or not, the stripers soon eliminated the trout. It is one of three lakes in California that has no size limit and instead of the state’s striper limit of two, ten stripers are permitted to be taken on New Hogan.
I cannot figure out what turns on the stripers. Some days they are fairly easy to entice, the next day may be a skunk. Nobody I have ever talked to seems to have an answer.
This week’s trip provided plenty of sunshine and a lovely, calm morning to troll for stripers. After four hours of no action, I reeled in and headed for home. I knew I was too early in the year for much action, but the weather made the trip worthwhile. Maybe next time…
Over the years I have posted many exciting fishing and boating stories here, but now in my seventies, it was time to sell the boat and find less demanding pastimes. All the fishing stories are still here! I will now post my travels aboard the motorhome and other activities. I hope y'all will still enjoy the fishing and boating adventures and perhaps peek in on my post-boating activities on occasion. Thanks for dropping in and I hope you enjoy your visit.