EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
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9-15-14 Lake elevation down to 5092.035
9-5-14 Lake elevation at 5092.15ft
This notice is for the poor souls that are being led to believe Eagle Lake Guardians support the Endangered Species Listing:
We feel very sorry for you…no “pity” is a better word. You are being misled by whoever is spreading this rumor. Your informant and followers must not only be ignorant but illiterate as well and are misleading you in the wrong direction. Here are the facts: Eagle Lake Guardians letter to USFWS pointed out where the problems exist in the Pine Creek watershed, hatchery syndrome in our manipulated trout as well as responsible parties/agencies and that a lot of money has been squandered for watershed studies, wells and other things. Squandered meaning that grant money was paid for the studies but the studies were never done. This ruffled a few feathers as it was intended to in order to get moving forward. Our 289 members of Eagle Lake Guardians know our goal regarding Pine Creek and the Endangered Species Listing is to assist in RESTORING PINE CREEK, A NATIVE SPAWN OF EAGLE LAKE TROUT AND PREVENT OUR TROUT FROM BEING PUT ON THE ENDANGERED OR THREATENED SPECIES LISTING. You have the right to believe what ever and who ever misleads you just as you have the right to confirm our goal on our website. It is your choice to be a fool being fooled by liars or take a few minutes to confirm. We are all for the Freedom of Speech and everyone has the right to their opinion even if the facts and results are completely opposite. If you are not capable of confirming the rumors by clicking on a few links and reading a little, then you are as ignorant as the person misleading you. Just know that nearly 300 other Members of our NonProfit see your ignorance as well. Perhaps, you might be surprised about what you don't know. Our first goal is Pine Creek and Preventing the listing of our trout. We will be taking the time to lay out the other projects that are needed to help the lake and trout AFTER Pine Creek and our wonderful trout are out of danger. Smarten up people. Do you really think I work this hard to negatively affect this lake and trout. If so, you have a screw loose.
AN 8 PACK OF VAL’S SELECTION OF BASIC LEECH PATTERNS ARE AVAILABLE AT EAGLE LAKE MARINA STORE AND ONLINE HERE
EAGLE LAKE GUARDIANS DONATE $10,000 TOWARDS PINE CREEK RESTORATION PROJECTS, ASSESSMENTS AND STUDIES. LOTS OF WORK GOING ON THIS SUMMER!! You can help by donating via PayPal link on eaglelakeguardians.org! We won’t be holding general fundraisers at the lake this season. However, we are going on an ONLINE fundraising campaign and need all the help we can get!! YOU’RE SUPPORT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!
FREEZE BRANDING IDENTIFICATION:
This allows you to be able to identify which hatchery a branded trout came from and what year it was planted. FREEZE BRANDING IDENTIFICATION
9-16-14 Fishing Report Summary: If you aren’t catching fish, something is seriously wrong. The fishing has been excellent but there are days you have to locate the fish. There is a lot of movement from day to day right now. It is a matter of finding the larger concentrations of minnows. Watch the grebes and pelicans. To find the minnows, locate the most dense populations of grebes. Not the pairs or small flocks of 6 to 10 birds, follow the larger flocks of over 100 birds & you will find the minnows and the trout pounding them. The minnows don’t stay in one place long while water temps still hover in the mid 60’s. You might get a two day stent in one location but that can change overnight.
Every day we are seeing more color to the water. Florescent orange lures (many different ones are working including needlefish, Sure Catch (double jointed medium Red-Dog #1), buoyant and speedy shiners as well as trolling flies are working well. For me, the Arctic Fox cinnamon leech, Jay Fair brown wiggle tails (yes you can troll them just fine) and Jay Fair tui chub minnow patterns have been irresistible. Especially off Pikes Pt and Wildcat Pt. The trout we have been catching have been in 8 to 50+ ft of water but consistently biting about 5 ft deep all morning long. Minnow imitations of all sorts are working including broken back rapala’s (gold or gold/orange has been best but the silver has taken a few prizes home too). As we get more color in the water pearl, yellow, orange, any metal flash and darker colors such as brown and black will show up better to the fish than anything else. The trout are just pounding the minnows but why they consistently take a brown or cinnamon leech is beyond me, I just won’t fix what isn’t broken. Brown, orange. pumpkinseed and watermelon grubs behind dodgers are also working and size hasn’t really mattered. If there is a secret to getting a strike & lots of them it is a matter of speed. Troll over 2 mph except if you are trolling nightcrawlers behind dodgers or flashers….they have to drag a little slower as a matter of protection from line twist at faster speeds.
The east side from Camp Ron McD to Eagles Nest is still holding fish. Some days they are closer to shore than others so make circles in and out to find them and locate the birds. The minnows are moving daily. Orange is still working well on the east side and okay near Pikes Pt but not getting a look on the west side this week. Concentrate your fishing in the upper 10ft of the water column. The deeper fish around 17-18ft are not as active. If there is any secret to catching a ton of nice trout trolling, it is a matter of trolling speed. Go faster not slower. I have been steadily catching at 2.2 to 2.8 mph which is faster than I normally troll flies.
If I wanted to fish worms and anchor I would be free lining rather than fishing at one set depth. If I had to set a depth I would get my bait in the 15 to 18 ft range for the resting trout. Quite often we can see these lazy trout take a worm and they can be some pretty nice fish if you can get them to bite. If the water is flat calm, I prefer to drift & let that freeline work it’s magic.
Best locations: Pikes Pt to Merrill Campground. Look for the grebes. The birds will be over the minnows & the minnows can be ½ mile from where you left them the day before. Make circles out from Pikes Pt to Pikes Cove & keep moving towards Merrill Campground…you will find the minnows eventually and the trout won’t be far away. Christie Day Use area is also holding a nice school of minnow chasing trout. Wildcat Pt. Nasty rock piles. Best for novices to have enough light on the water to see the depths change. We have a massive school of adult tui chub on the last ledge to 49ft of water. The trout we have been catching have been closer to shore and mostly off the middle and first ledges as well as 5 ft deep. I have found 3 ft water ½ mile from shore in some cases…mostly by accident myself. Camp Ron McD to Eagles Nest and out in the middle of the basin between Eagle’s Nest and Shrimp Island. We do have some adult tui chub moving about and a 20ft thick blanket of them remains off the last ledge of Wildcat Pt. If you start seeing fish on your scope below 40ft deep, chances are they are not trout. Target the top water and you won’t be disappointed. Shrimp Island to Slough Pt has been holding some fish this week. Mostly seem to be smaller than the ones we are catching further south. No need to burn up fuel when we have some beautiful 18” to 22” trout closer. But as water temps drop, the upper west side will fire up. The Youth Camp/Biology Station area is firing up but don’t head up there in a boat unless you are very familiar with the underwater terrain and unmarked rock piles. Lures, trolling flies and spinners are working great. Every day the fish are not in the same area but there is a lot of fish up there moving around right now.
Shore Fishing: For those who want to make the drive in, the Youth Camp / Biology Station is holding a lot of nice fish now. They are moving with the minnows & the grebes and pelicans will show you where they are. Casting spinners in all colors has worked, Sure Catch and needlefish lures in nickel/orange as well as rapala’s (gold and silver) Unless you are familiar with the area above Miners Pt you should not boat up there. Only folks familiar with the unmarked rock piles should attempt. There are plenty of other fish south of Miners Pt. Pike’s Point/Pike’s Cove has beautiful water for shore fishing and can access water deeper than 20ft with a good cast.
Float tubers: Gear up. We still have to access some deeper water and it has depended on where the minnows are each day. Brown leech or wooly buggers and small minnow patterns are working best for me. Orange scuds not so much but will kick back in once water temps drop to 60-61F on the surface.
From here on till the end of the fishing season it will mostly be the Eagle Lake DieHards fishing. So far, we continue to launch but it’s still 3 ½ months away from the end of the fishing season. Our temps will be dropping & already had our first frost (due in part to the breeze, the temp was 32.1F which didn’t take much of a breeze to nip the tomatoes. All in all, we are pretty much “on time” for our temps. We began seeing fall colors weeks ago & there is a feel of fall in the air, even on a warm day. Surface temps are slow to drop, but they are dropping nonetheless. We are hovering in the 66F range but we had something happen around the time of the earthquake in Napa (and a few around Almanor that were around the 1’s in magnitude). We found several areas that have a nearly 10F surface temperature drop. THAT is significant spring activity. I marked these areas and they remain constant. It isn’t unusual to see these types of springs open and close….I look at it as the lake taking a breath and exhaling. So far, they have remained over two weeks. It took a couple of days before the nearby fish found it.
As the surface temperatures drop, we see a significant drop in the clarity of the lake water. This is due to microscopic algae’s dying off. At a surface temp of 65F, it begins to kick into gear, by 63F we have about 3 ft visibility to the bottom looking over the side of the boat. By 61F that drops to about 2 ft & that’s about as bad as it gets. DFG secchi dish (a white pearlescent reflective dish) will indicate around 7 ft visibility. So, that tells you that the only things that show up to the fish at the greatest distance is reflective pearlescent lures. For trolling flies, that’s solid white or the pearl body of the tui chub minnow patterns. I have also found darker colors to work well as well as lures with yellow such as fire tigers….which is also good when skies are overcast.
I have fished in the boat as well as in my float tube this week. I continue to catch more fish 4 to 6 ft below the surface than at any other depth. The deepest fish has been at 15ft on a tui chub trolling fly. The majority of the trout on the east side are working in and out from the shoreline ledge from Camp Ronald McD to Eagle’s Nest, follow the grebes to find the minnows. We do have several scattered pods of fish off the west side between Wildcat Pt and Shrimp Island but only a handful further north. We also have a nice group of fish off Pikes Pt and Cove that are partial to Arctic Fox Cinnamon leeches and Jay Fair’s Hot orange and tui chub trolling flies. I usually get my lines out & head around the big point towards Pikes Cove (just southwest from the low water ramp) weaving in and out. Then make a turn towards Merrill Campground but turn back about halfway there & make circles in that general area. I don’t always find the trout in the same general area one day to the next but normally they are within ½ mile of where I left them.
Since everything I have been catching trolling has been shallow. I took my float tube out again on Sunday off Wildcat Pt and worked towards Christie. I knew I would have to hold to deeper water but I did work the shallower stuff on my way out. I knew I would be doing more trolling than casting so I rigged up my Medium sink tips (2 ¾” to 4” per second) with a brown Jay Fair wiggle tail (available at the Marina ask at the counter) on one rod and started out with orange on the other and changed out several different patterns with meager results. I ended up releasing 3 out of 9 strikes but that was slow compared to my last day in my float tube. The minnows moved and were out of reach from my tube. However, they have all been pretty nice fish between 17 and 20”. I did NOT see any rolling in closer and the masses of trout were out in water over 20ft deep while water temps hover between 66 and 67F on the surface. It was only a matter of finding the massive schools of minnows and getting a line through them. It isn’t as easy in a boat as it is in a float tube to get on top of the minnow school. The tui chub minnows are very sensitive to noise from a motor. The best bite was shortly after sunrise & lasted about 1 ½ hours. After that, everything settled down, including the schools of minnows which dropped below 25ft and to the bottom in 30 to 40ft of water.
Just like everyone else, I am seeing a lot of fish holding at 15 to 19 ft deep. I haven’t found these fish to be active. Matter of fact, when I get a line down there I come back up with trout scales on the point of my hook. If that isn’t being in fish that aren’t active, I don’t know what is. By all means, if the top water action isn’t working for you (it will so be patient) get a line down, but don’t bother with anything any deeper. All the action is in the upper 10ft of the water column. Also, with the visibility reduced, the trout don’t have to go that deep to get out of the sunlight.
Trolling Tui Chub minnow trolling flies has also picked up more fish this week, but I am running several colors as one day from the next it can change and location can be critical as to which color is working best. We rare releasing double digits (10 or more) every morning running shallow over deeper water.
Go Get ‘Em but expect to work a little harder.
LURES: We have caught several on lures but mostly the trolling flies and grubs have been favored. If there is any “secret” to using trolling flies it is to set the hook as fast as you can & don’t allow any slack in the line. You can’t generally take your time getting to your rod when a fish takes the fly. But, we get just as many strikes while setting our rods down in the rod holders….but you have to be on the rod quickly. The best lures for us continue to be orange (red prism) needlefish (#1 and #2), Florescent orange with pearl such as the 50/50 bar, florescent orange/pearl back, fire, small #1 black/pearl IE “shad” was hot after sunrise, frog and florescent orange speedy shiners are still getting but mostly when trolled between 2.5 and 2.8 mph. Sure Catch medium double jointed Red-Dog, single large Goldie Locks. Small gold/black & gold/orange broken back rapala’s kicked into gear last weekend, fished better than the single but stay with 2 ½” for now. Brown and orange grubs behind dodgers have picked up a few this week…running mono/braid with just the weight of the dodger. #2 FireTiger needlefish lights up when the skies are cloudy or wind has the lake stirred up and will be a top producer as our clarity decreases this month. Pearl lures such as pearl bikini and pearl (white) colors are also working and will gradually become one of only a few “colors” visible to the fish as our clarity decreases later this month. We are only a few degrees away from clarity issues which are at the microscopic level. We simply have to adapt to what is coming & we will keep catching fish.
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: Gold, brass, copper and nickel flash will be something to consider. Metal remains metal & flashy still flashes where as some colors wash out and become virtually invisible to any trout unless he’s within visually range….soon to be 7 ft. But until then, brown (black should also work, however I haven’t tried it yet) florescent orange continues to rule the water.
Leadcore users: We have come up to topline level. To run your leadcore like I do a topline you simply have to add 50 to 75 ft of leader & run one color in the water (that can be 1 ½ to 1 ¾ colors off your reel & depending on your speed.) You need to be at least 100ft behind the boat to successfully catch a lot of trout near the surface and on a spooky day we have ended up 150ft behind the boat to get them to bite. I try to run my leads about 20ft shorter than my toplines (135-150ft back for toplines) so I don’t cross lines on a sharp turn. Average trolling speed for us this week was 2.0 to 2.7 mph for lures, 1.8 to 2.2 mph for trolling flies, but when we mix the two, we stay at lure speed & the flies continue to work fine…better than the lures for us right now.
TIPS FOR LEADCORE TROLLERS:I zig-zag and troll in circles out away from the ledges (Reason for zigzags & circles: Making my line work a column of water rather than just one depth as well as changes the action of the lures). As you make a turn, the inside line drops several feet and flutters down (when a clip is used, action is different when tied directly on the line) while the outside line picks up speed and comes up several feet in depth. Depending on my speed, that column of water I’m working can be up to 15 ft. For leadcore users, I have never had to go deeper than 6 colors. I only put 5-6 colors on my reels & backing to the reel. The sink rate of leadcore depends on your trolling speed and lure weight. I can easily hang up on the bottom at 42ft with 5 colors in the water at 1.2 to 1.3 mph and hang up one color in 12-14ft at the same low speed. If you don’t have a trolling speed indicator. Most Smartphone GPS apps have speed on them. Our fish can get directional for trollers so I always troll in circles, east to west, west to east, north to south and south to north. Generally I find the “direction of the day (or hour in some cases) & work it until I wear it out.
For leadcore line, I only use 18lb as it is more controllable for depth and easier to splice over time and catching bottom a lot. Suffix brand is tough as it gets, but isn’t user friendly for inline splicing, especially in the field, but using a long sewing needle helps greatly for threading the leader and backing into the Dacron sheath of the leadcore). Also, I use “fire line” for my backing for many reasons but toughness and diameter are key factors, floating properties are another.
NIGHTCRAWLERS UNDER SLIP BOBBERS is not doing as well as using and tending a freeline and covering the upper part of the water column. I have recommended using a freeline now for the last couple of weeks. It won’t be long before fishing from shore will be on.
The beauty of fishing Eagle Lake is that it changes with the seasons and our trout migrate around the lake. Food sources intermingle but there are differences in the west side and east side. The trout will remain in the depths for a while longer but they will be active higher in the water column now. On a hot flat water afternoon we might find a few between 18 and 21 ft deep but the best catching will be in the upper 10ft of the water column. Only rouge trout will venture into the shoreline while surface temps are warm but once we see surface temps drop to 65F and below we will see some major changes occur. At 61-60F visibility will go out the door and attractants will become relatively necessary. Avoid setting anchor over a mass of fish that drop below 47ft deep….chances are they are tui chub, not trout.
We are also running some attractant which seems to keep the fish holding on longer to set the hook and leaving a scent trail will become critical in the coming weeks. Mike’s Garlic Lunker Lotion has been working great for us on both bait and lures. It has been a dependable replacement for Eagle Claw’s “garlic gravy that had long be favored by our trout.
SHORE FISHING: Shore fishing between The Springs and Eagles Nest should be a good bet. A good cast can land you in 30ft of water pretty easily in most places. I also scouted Pikes Pt and Pikes Cove (along the rocky point south from the low water ramp) which has some deeper water accessible from the shoreline and found several trout were working the minnows. The breakwater (Jetty) isn’t going to be as good of fishing this fall/winter due to low water conditions. A good cast might get you to 2 ft of water. Water temps are still a bit warm to get many trout too close right now, but it’s coming…sooner than later. The area just north of Camp Ronald McDonald to The Springs is good water but a good hike as well, however it isn’t a real difficult walk. The point off Christie Day Use (far left looking down from the parking lot) drops off to water 24ft and deeper right off the tip of the submerged rocky point. Eagles Nest has a access to the point towards The Springs, but don’t just go making your own road just because you can due to low water.
GENERAL TIPS FOR TROLLING
FOR THE LURES we use a loop knot or a small clip to attach the lures which seems to give it more action in the water during speed changes and especially on turns (where 80% of your fish will come from). I prefer black small spring steel clips over snap clips & I haven’t lost a lure or fish yet, As a tip, the heavier hooks on many of the lures need sharpened after every two fish. If you keep getting strikes without getting a fish to the boat, chances are your hook is dull….been there & done that. Sharp hooks catch more fish. I always like to say, “Mr Sneaky Trout, meet Mr Sharp Hook and try that again!”. It can mean all the difference between fishing and catching those light biting trout. It’s critical on my float tube fly fishing.
DOWNRIGGER TIPS FOR FLIES: Running trolling flies off downriggers can be done but set the hook ASAP & stop the boat. You can’t normally get a skin hooked fish to the boat while continuing to troll & dragging it along at or above 1 mph. If there is one complaint I hear often from downrigger users who don’t want to stop trolling or put all the lines back in the water, it is about getting a fish to the boat once he bit the fly. Nature of the beast. The skin tears and a nice big buttonhole opens up & with one shake of the head, the fly is out. Don’t give the fish any slack line, but don’t drag him all over the lake either. Use a lighter drag too. Results will be in the bag rather than “the one that got away”. My partner learned his lesson. The fish don’t always track true to the boat and will cross other lines and you end up with a mess & normally lose the fish. Stop trolling, bring in the empty lines & get the fish to the boat. ALSO, IF YOU ARE TROLLING FLIES FROM DOWNRIGGERS, SET THE LINE DEEPER INTO THE CLIP SO IT TAKES MORE EFFORT TO RELEASE THE LINE. This will help set the hook.
Action discs help give the flies and grubs movement if you aren’t holding your rod & working the marabou, hair or plastic yourself. I personally prefer the smaller action disc because of the heavy drag of the discs to begin with. AND I run it close to the fly or grub rather than 3” or more above. The further up the line from the fly the action disc is, the further it travels laterally. Oh it has nice movement but it can also foul other lines if it travels too far. I run the smaller disc right ahead of the fly…it gives it a subtle wiggle rather than a rapid twitch which is often needed on flat water. When the bite comes back on again, chances are what worked earlier will work again. I have found that there are some days that you can have too much movement in a lure or fly and a plain old dead drag or seductive wiggle is what gets the strikes.
Attractants can help, especially as we head into fall and our clarity decreases. Garlic has traditionally been good, krill second, trout gravy third and tui chub scent should be on your list now that the tui chub minnow are on the menu big time. Mikes Lunker Lotion’s are proving to do quite well. Tui Chub flavors are also good this time of year. I don’t always use an attractant on every bait or lure in the water just in case I have a day that it becomes a repellent. In that case, I use rubber or vinyl gloves to handle my bait…thus keeping my scent off the worm to begin with. FYI on that. Also note that attractants can go bad or sour if left in the sun or heat for long periods. I generally store mine in the refrigerator (ice chest but put in ziplock baggie) or at least in a cool dark spot when I store it for the day.
GENERAL LAKE FAVORITES
Bait fishing. NO MINNOWS ARE ALLOWED TO BE USED AS BAIT IN EAGLE LAKE. INCLUDING MINNOWS CAUGHT IN THE LAKE. I can guarantee you that if you bring a bucket of minnows up from the valley to use as bait, you will be found out and turned in. Will the imported minnows live in Eagle Lake? Well, let’s just say that we certainly don’t want to find out as if they did survive and reproduce the entire balance of the lake will change and it will no longer be the lake it is. It could ruin the lake as we know it….forever. So NO Minnows!!!!
There are several options for bait. Nightcrawlers (threaded on the hook) are probably the best bait going. I prefer to have some mini crawlers handy as sometimes these trout don’t want a meal but just a snack….small over large has always been better. Powerbait type products I refer to as dough baits have also worked well on our hatchery trout. Rainbow probably covers the most popular colors of orange and green but the pale garlic flavor has really done well since hitting the market. Our trout don’t generally look at salmon eggs but they have looked at marshmallows. Various attractants are also advisable, Pro Cure has a good selection. Garlic is a favorite and most anything for trout. But, tui chub flavor of attractant won’t do as well until late summer when the trout begin pounding the fresh hatch of tui chub minnows. We don’t recommend releasing fish that swallowed the hook. It is not like the days of the past when hooks were made out of cheap steel. Now hooks are all high carbon steel and lazar or chemically sharpened. These hooks cut a hole in the fishes stomach much easier and don’t rust out as fast. The fish I have cleaned that have survived have massive scar tissue around their stomachs and in generally poor health despite surviving.
If there was one noticeable difference in the lake last year, it was the visibility. The best I could see the bottom looking over the side of the boat was 12ft but most of the season it was around 6 to 7 ft. In years past I have been able to see bottom at 25ft deep and regularly 12 to 15 ft. That is a big difference in clarity. Windy days and temperature changes have a direct and immediate effect on the clarity as do clouds. That’s when things change.
For rod set ups for trolling and bait fishing see Tips and Tricks. Need help while you are here? Come by the Marina during my seminar & I’ll help you set up your leadcore and show you how to splice your leader and backing into it or set up slip bobber rods and show you a trick for a perfect cast every time.
Historical Best Bets and Why and Why Not’s: Eagle Lake has seasons. It’s all about water temperatures, thermalclines and solstices. Florescent orange has always been a great color for lures, grubs and trolling flies at any time of the year. This is because it is a perfectly natural color of food in our lake. When water temperatures are below 60F, the shrimp and scuds change color from various shades of olive/bronze to orange/olive. Once water temps begin to rise above 60F, the orange begins to fade to light olive/bronze & the warmer the water gets the darker olive they become. At water temps between 61F and 65F, the shrimp “spawn”. This leaves heavy clouds of zooplankton in the lake. These clouds can get suspended at a certain depth in summer as the lake stratifies but the trout can simply sit still in the cloud of zooplankton eating and breathing in the same motion…they are filter feeders when the concentrations are dense. In the early part of the season, I definitely use florescent orange nymphs when fly fishing and/or trolling. But, as summer comes on, I generally run brown leech patterns (another totally natural food in the lake), and olive wooly buggers.
Come summer when the first of the seasons tui chub minnows hatch out I begin using some blades and beads. Kokanee Killers (wedding ring) and French Frye (orange/green) lures are my go to “lures” when the lake changes for summer. Florescent orange lures such as Large Red-dog or needlefish remain in the top of the list as the water temps on the bottom remain cooler than the surface…although we won’t find too many trout below 35 ft deep in the heat of the summer. This is due to dissolved oxygen being too low or nonexistent below that level. We will scope fish below the DO line, however, the tui chub don’t require as much DO as the trout and are often found at 45 to 47 ft deep when stacked up.
Lures: Sure Catch lures (available at Eagle Lake Marina) have out fished needlefish on this lake but needlefish are on a comeback year this season. They come in many color combinations and back flash. The double jointed have great action but never discount the single blade. If there is a trick to running these lures it is to troll them faster than slower. The best trolling speed for us has been between 2.2 and 2.4 mph but mix it up as it can change day by day and by the area of the lake you are fishing.
Needlefish: Fire tiger, florescent orange combinations and red dot and yellow dot frog have been the best overall for early season catching. We have a highly overlooked frog and western toad population …..but the trout don’t overlook it. Not too often does the plainer yellow dot frog pattern work as well, but it has had it’s moments. Nickel and pearl bikini’s have held a position for years too.
When fish are pounding the surface I often run a flatfish (#5 or #7) fast so it’s skittering on the surface. My best color has been frog patterns & black. These have produced massive strikes when nothing else has worked for rolling trout. Key factor: Smaller rather than larger size. Casting rooster tails in black/yellow can also draw strikes from the rising trout during that time. Generally the best has been black and yellow combinations but throw in a cloudy day and the yellow with red dots turns on.
Rapala’s in florescent orange (broke back 2 ¾ to 3”) can work great early in the season but leave the silver and gold in the box until later in summer and fall.
I prefer using trolling flies but I am not afraid to put something else on the end of my line. However, I am opposed to using bait & generally only bait fish when on a meat hunt for friends during the hottest time of the summer when the trout linger between 25 and 30ft deep. Bait fishing and releasing trout that swallowed the hook is NOT an option in my boat. If you are catching small ½ pounders, then move locations. The larger trout will not be with the shakers until they have too in the heat of the summer.
But, bait works, nightcrawlers are our mainstay and imitate our naturally occurring leech population. Trolling nightcrawlers also works. They can be deadly behind an Uncle Larry’s black perch or perch color combo. Some people like to see a “twist” of the crawler when trolling. That can produce some strikes but if you are intending to imitate a large leech, well, they don’t twist or spin in nature. You should run them slow at about ½ mile per hour for trolling. If using flashers or behind a dodger or worm rig using ½ of a crawler has proven deadly. I like using whole worms so if I want it smaller I generally use mini-crawlers & downsize my hook to #8. Using a worm threader is our preferred baiting method for still fishing under bobbers as well as trolling. Live minnows (even the ones in the lake) are illegal to be used as bait for fishing. Using corn has had its moments over the last two years. However we find more people using it to chum than using it as bait. CHUMMING IS ILLEGAL ON EAGLE LAKE.
Other lures can be productive as well. There is always something new coming out & it never hurts to try something new when the bite is tough. Sometimes you have to simply get it in their face & trick them into striking. Other times you have to be as natural as possible….for me, that natural is always a cinnamon or brown leech…second go to, black leech. These are as natural as you can get in this lake early in the season. The trout will always take a leech, but often can depend on the presentation as well as location. White or bone colored leech patterns, for me, are location specific…. These represent flatworms that we have in some locations. Pumpkinseed with beige tails can work great along the biology station and Wildcat Pt.
Grubs: For the most part, we run grubs behind action discs (dodgers later in summer towards fall). There are two disc sizes now. I prefer the smaller one as it tracks better behind the boat and have less drag. Start about 3” above the grub. The further the disc is from the grub, the further it swings from side to side. This can foul other lines if you aren’t careful. In spring, using a dodger can be productive but dodgers are more productive beginning in late summer and fall when the trout begin pounding the fresh hatch of tui chub minnows. Using flashers is also more productive later in the season rather than in early season. Best colors are brown, rootbeer, watermelon, motor oil, white, orange, black and pumpkin seed. As a note, our black leeches have been more prolific in the bellies of our trout last season.
SHORE FISHING: Shore fishing along the east side is starting to be a little more productive but it won’t be long before more trout begin to forage along the shoreline. We can see the trout move in for the fresh hatch of minnows but generally a little later in towards fall. Watch the surface of the water. When minnows are boiling, something is after them and it isn’t always the birds. But it’s the time of year that the trout will probably be holding out in deeper, cooler water until fall. Early is always better than later for shore fishing, but these trout can come in at unpredictable times as water temps rise.
Nightcrawlers under bobbers work. Dough bait (powerbait type products) have been great the last few years. Typical colors of orange or green (rainbow covers several colors) and the pale “garlic” flavor have been the best….but, every year it seems that an oddball color is the ticket for a few weeks, then it changes….thus, I believe I have every color of that stuff made in my shore fishing tackle box!!!
To get extra distance on a cast from shore I prefer using 8ft rods and have been known to use a water filled bobber or add some weight to a Styrofoam bobber by pushing in some bb split shots or shotgun shell bb’s into the body. A little extra weight can go a long way. Be careful not to over load your bobber though!
FLY FISHING WILL RETURN AS SOON AS SURFACE TEMPERATURES DROP IN FALL. I have been on my float tube this week, I did well however I had to concentrate on water deeper than 20ft. The trout were not in shallow however they were in the upper 10ft of the water column and out in deeper water. Surface temp was 66F....still a bit warm to draw them in shallow.
USFS QUAD MAPS OF OPEN ROADS AROUND THE EAGLE LAKE AREA: Note a new Smartphone app for USFS maps is out.
The links below go to maps saved from Lassen National Forest website. Any questions you have should be directed to Eagle Lake Ranger Station staff. I am only providing them for quick access for our viewers. More information on road closures in the Forest is available on their website. There are new maps coming out for road closure, multi-vehicle use roads etc. We will replace those for you next season. Until then, you can find them on Lassen National Forest website. I saved them to my iphone and can use them anywhere, anytime, with or without cell signal.
GALLATIN QUAD MAP LINK
PIKES POINT & THE WEST SIDE SOUTH BASIN QUAD MAP LINK
EAGLE LAKE SPALDING QUAD MAP LINK
TROXEL QUAD MAP LINK
CHAMPS FLAT QUAD MAP LINK
See Lake Conditions for water temps
See Ramp Conditions for launch ramp info.
See Tips and Tricks for ideas & set ups dialed in for fishing Eagle Lake. Most methods are covered. We make no claims of knowing everything about Eagle Lake, but we do know a lot about catching Eagle Lake trout in
ALL EAGLE LAKE, ALL THE TIME