Hilltop Lake /Grant County

SARG950

Active Member
If you've coughed up the fee to fish it, PLEASE post your experience; what would you do differently on a return trip. Would you even return??

I'm really considering a visit after the readups and having floated the Yak yesterday out of Red's. I noticed they guide Hilltop but I'd opt for access only. Thanks!
 
Fished it 3 times over the years (non guided but there was 1-2 people there hosting each time). I fly fish a lot for bass (probably the best thing I’m good at consistently catching on a fly rod), so didn’t need a guide. Went through PSFC, not Red’s directly. Didn’t fish it this year, because I didn’t have time.

Here’s what I’ll say about it:

First time I fished it was a few years ago in early May. Fishing was slow. 4 of us caught a handful of 12” bass on poppers. Went back in June that same year (2nd time I fished it). Probably caught 40-50 bass on poppers. Most in the 2-3 pound range. Did catch a half dozen in that 5-6 pound range. There were some locals who had snuck in with baitcasters/soft plastics on shore, and weren’t being very friendly when the host politely informed them that they were trespassing. I wasn’t with them to witness it. Just heard about it back at shore.

Went back the following year in June with my dad, brother in law, and 2 friends. The fishing again for me was great. Not as many fish, but BIG fish. Lost one I’d say was in the 8-10 pound range. Everyone else fishing with me didn’t catch much. All were pretty new to popper fishing for bass. I think 2 of them got skunked if I remember. They admittedly had zero experience fly fishing for bass before that trip.

Would I go back? Yes! Would I pay the fee? Yep (if it hasn’t gone up in cost). I would go through PSFC though if they’re still doing trips. Anil has always gone above and beyond to take care of me as a customer, and given me tons of knowledge and intel. Knowing how to fish it well with poppers, knowing I can easily catch 20+ bass a day (on a good day when weather and fish are cooperating). Knowing lots of big aggressive fish. I’d love to go back. 2 others who’ve fished it with me would likely as well (they wanted to this year).

Some things to keep in mind:
-Fishing it came with enough challenge to make it fun and interesting. It’s not like you’re fishing some trophy trout pound full of pellet fed fish who’ll eat anything. These bass are aggressive, but smart. Accurate casts close to structure and stealth is a must. If you’re a beginner, maybe a guide would be helpful to shorten the learning curve. Anytime I’ve paid for a guide in my life, it was well worth it for the knowledge I gained.
-Black, or green frog pattern poppers were the best for me. Bigger the popper, the better.
-Locals sneak in there. Seen it, and seen evidence of it. Doesn’t seem to hurt the fishing much.
-The mosquitos there at night are horrible. Bring a bug head net, gloves, long sleeve shirt, and repellent if you’re going to evening fish.
-Not much of a launch. Car topper/pontoon/float tube lake really. It’s a good sized lake though. Plenty of room to explore.
-The mud there at the launch smells like Bigfoot’s dick. I’d suggest waders if float tubing. Otherwise you better drive yourself, because no one is letting you in their truck smelling like rotten eggs.
-It’s rattlesnake country, and lots of long grass near the launch. Be careful.
-Popper fishing was the best in the morning, and then early evening. Mid day it’s slow action, hot, and windy. Good excuse to go eat lunch and find some shade to consume cold beers.
 

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Eyejuggler

High bank poacher
WFF Supporter
Adding to the great posts above.
Spent a couple of days there, working for my shop a few years ago.
I loved the vibe and would def go back.











 

SARG950

Active Member
I'm glad to see the responses to the initial thread... they've convinced me to put it on my list of water to visit next year. BTW, hoping the tents belong to long-rodders. Sure wouldn't surprise me if the tents did belong to Seattle "transplants..."
 

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