EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
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JUNE 28, 2015
AN 8 PACK OF VAL’S SELECTION OF BASIC LEECH PATTERNS ARE AVAILABLE AT EAGLE LAKE MARINA STORE Arctic Fox will be having more Eagle Lake patterns soon! Look for the "minnow" series of colors coming soon!
EAGLE LAKE GUARDIANS DONATE $17,500 TOWARDS PINE CREEK RESTORATION PROJECTS, ASSESSMENTS AND STUDIES. LOTS OF WORK GOING ON. Data is being compiled over the winter months. 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!! TOTAL INPUT FOR PINE CREEK RESTORATION IN 2014 IS $17,500!!! LETS SEE IF WE CAN DO THAT AGAIN!!
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
DOWNLOAD THIS 72 PAGE FILE. Finally! Eagle Lake Guardians assisted in financing some of the studies that went into this report AND the brook trout eradication this summer through Trout Unlimited!! HELP GUARDIANS CONTINUE TO HELP RESTORE PINE CREEK BY DONATING AT www.eaglelakeguardians.org
EAGLE LAKE GENERAL STORE IN SPALDING WILL OPEN JULY 4TH!
6-28-15: Lake temp & conditions: Mostly seeing surface temps between 71F-73F but as high as 75F+ on a hot afternoon. The big spring was pumping out enough cold water to hold a surface temp of 61F. It’s generally found south of Miners Pt & between Shrimp Island & Eagle’s Nest both north and south of by position.
The thermolclines are tightening up & the trout are dropping down. Since Wednesday, I have found more trout trolling between 25 and 35ft deep and as deep as 38ft when hot & calm. Most of the fish I have targeted have been in the big spring out in the middle of the lake between Eagles Nest and Shrimp Island working 40 to 60ft of water and leaning to the upper east side. Rarely will we find trout below 40’ where the dissolved oxygen is too low to sustain a trout. But, we do see tui chub drop well below 40’ deep as they can handle the lower 02. This is why the trout only drop so deep. This time of year is when the trout can be caught readily by bait fishing under slip bobbers. No matter whether you’re trolling or bait fishing, it’s about the depth. That can change every day but remains between 25 and 35ft deep as a rule. I stagger my bobbers just as I work a column of water with my trolling lines. Every season, depending on the heat, surface temps and trout behavior, I generally come prepared to do either. I prefer trolling, but there have been times that if you want to catch limits, you have to be ready to both. Sometimes these trout get lazy & take a dangling nightcrawler when you drop it to the right level. There is a lot of summer left & we have only just begun.
It appears that there are quite a few tui chub off the ledges to the deeper water on the lower west side from Lake of the Woods and south past Wildcat. There are some scattered pods of smaller trout milling around between Shrimp Island & Lake of the Woods. The tui chub are spawning now and will do so most of the summer. In many areas they are blanketing the bottom in 30 to 40ft of water. This will make for good fishing come mid July. Our trout can shift locations overnight when a food source hits the food court but they have mostly been leaning to the east side and middle of the lake. Perhaps still indecisive while the lake settles in.
Most of the good quality fish are still coming off the upper east side. Most of my best catching has been out in the middle between Eagles Nest and Shrimp Island working north towards Miners Pt buoys and Black Mt. Others are working closer to the shoreline & catching. I just stay out of the crowds. Last week we hit the bay in front of Camp Ron McD & worked up towards The Springs. A few fish showed up on the scope & plenty were quite deep so I believe they were easily tui chubs by the masses. We didn’t start catching trout until we reached the boulder & kept working north and further up and out from the east side.
Fishing has been pretty good this week. Mostly an early bite while hot and calm. It’s mostly a matter of being at the right depth plus or minus 3 ft. The trout have dropped down to between 25 and 35ft this last week. The trout have still been hitting my Red Magic (fish scale prism) needlefish, medium double jointed Sure Catch Red dog and Simon Wobblers are still holding the top spots of the top three best producing lures for trollers this week. Fire Tiger, perch and cop-car have also caught fish. Trolling naked nightcrawlers has also bagged a few. Once the morning bite has gone off, the trout have been pretty tight lipped, however a ripple on the water can bring them back on again. All in all, most folks are finishing up early.
When the bite goes off and fishing gets tough, I always go back to where I left the fish I was catching ….and generally that pays off in the long run. Now that surface temps are above 70F, the trout will settle in to their old summer haunts. I am fishing scattered pods of trout but they are increasing in numbers and will school up very soon. So, don’t miss the first couple hours. So, I would head towards Eagles Nest & Black Mt rather than The Springs right now….that will change soon. The trout will come back to The Springs in a week or two.
For trollers, the fish keep biting the “red-magic fish scale prism” #2 needlefish with bend slightly accentuated has continued to out fish any other lures I have run this week. Fire-Tiger & perch have had their daysbut the red magic remains consistent. Cop Carhas also been working. Sure Catch Red Dog (med double jointed or large single) has been my second best lure. We continue to run lures fast around 3mph. We are still getting some fish early at 8ft deep but 18 to 21ft deep has been my most active level & 24-30ft later. For leadcore users, 8ft = 2 colors in the water at 3mph; 18-21ft deep = 4 colors in the water; 24-28ft deep = 5 colors in the water with speeds of 2.5 to 3mph. Faster speeds bring things up, slower speed drop things down. So vary your speed, make zig zags and circles. I never went any deeper than 5 colors last year to catch nice trout & no deeper than 6 colors EVER. No matter how high the surface temperatures get, for the trout, it’s about the dissolved 02. Simon Wobblers continue to work well. Mostly in patterns with orange or red on them and are available at the marina store. An orange/pearl UV Dick Nite has also caught me fish. Orange & watermelon grubs are also catching a few fish for my buddies. Jay Fair’s hot-orange trolling flies were good for 3 fish and 6 strikes for me on Sunday at 15 ft + - 3 and a Tui Chub minnow trolling fly has been good for a fish here and there at the same level. Val’s small olive beadhead leech got a few strikes running about 4 ft deep (just to see if I get bit there when the fish are rising). I do troll flies slower than I do lures. Basically between 1.5 and 2.5 mph. Sure Catch Red-dog has been my next best lure and goldie locks has caught a good number of fish this week. Cast-Masters have also been catching a few. So, why fix something that isn’t broken? The best trolling flies on top water while the fish are rolling have been small olive or brown leech or wooly bugger patterns. But it isn’t where my best action has been, I just like keeping a topline in the water….it is generally good for a nice fish in spite of high surface temps, but not tons of them this time of year….give it a few weeks & the minnow hatch & that will change. Orange has been my best color running deep. Big isn’t always better. Frog patterns haven’t turned on yet.
As the heat picks up, the fish will respond. The lake has fished very well early in the morning but she’s been tough by mid morning. A light breeze or ripple on the water has kept the bite strong longer but the flat water has shut it down. If you don’t catch the first two to couple hours, you are going to be working for these fish. Ambient temps in the low to mid 90’s will keep surface temps warm. The trout will begin milling around and begin to populate long stretches along the east side. Then they just move from point A to point B and back again. We can throw the tackle box at these fish when the bite goes off and they get lethargic & drop down to get out of the sun. I always try to keep what was working for me in the water & only change out a rod or two. I want to have what I have caught fish on all week in the water at all times. Chances are that when the fish do turn on or I get my offering in front of one, he will take it over anything else. So stick with the lures, flies and grubs that have been working when the fishing gets tough rather than taking them out of the water & throwing the tackle box at them.
The beauty of running leadcore lines over downriggers is that on our lazy turns and circles, the leadcore’s change depths, speed and lure/fly/grub action. You can cover a 10ft section of the water column without changing your line depth, only your speed. The fish rolling on the surface rarely take anything but a small emerger. If I do catch them trolling my topline, it’s on a small olive beadhead or a small brown leech. Some small lures such as rooster tails and cast-masters can lure their attention.
TROLLING: Depth: From 8-12 deep early and 15 to 18ft deep after sunrise. I’m also dropping lines deeper this week between 25 and 35ft deep. I have been fishing over 40-50+ft of water. I generally drop my lines down gradually, just to see if anyone is home between the best catching levels. Best trolling speed was 3.0 mph. I have a tendency to slow down to 1.5 to 1.8 mph and vary my trolling speed when the trout shut down however, it was a fast troll that has their attention on lures. Change it up all the time. I do troll flies much slower than I do lures & especially when the fish are off the bite for a while. I give them an opportunity to grab something that they don’t have to extend a lot of energy to get. For those who don’t know how fast they are trolling, try using your smartphone GPS or get a free “speedometer” app.
I always vary my speed and direction & make sharp turns on my zig zags. This allows my line to work a column of water rather than just one depth. At some point, I am going to drop that line right in front of a lethargic trout & he won’t be able to resist it. That’s why it’s critical for trollers to alter their speed as well as their direction. These fish can get directional. As a rule of thumb, by mid morning the fish are facing away from the sun and towards the wind. This often determines the direction I troll. I troll with the wind. I put my trolling motor in reverse at idle speed & it slows me right down to where I want to be. I can run a lot of lines without crossing them. It is a matter of depth and distance behind the boat to keep the lines from interfering with each other. But you should be able to easily have 4 rods in the water without trouble.
TROLLING FLIES: Hot orange and Jay Fairs “hot one” has been the best & produced the most strikes for us. Jay Fair’s Tui Chub minnow trolling fly is getting attention at the deeper levels this week. Various shades of brown, cinnamon and small olive leech patterns have worked best on our toplines. The seasonal odd-ball trolling fly that caught fish was a small minnow imitation (tui chub) and Lahontan red-side. Perhaps there are a few tui chubs hatching already, but they don’t generally hit the food court until a little later in summer. It appears the adults are spawning at this time. None of the fish cleaned this week had any minnows in them yet. Mostly all a variety of planktons, shrimp & small critters which really hasn’t changed from one location to another.
GRUBS: Orange, brown & root-beer have been working as long as they have been run with an action disc or dodger. Watermelon grubs should be kicking into gear soon too. It’s been all about wobble & lots of it so far this season.
LURES:"Red" Magic fish-scale prism #1 #2 needlefish (I enhance the bend for more action) AND “cop car” has been doing well this week, medium Sure Catch Red-dog (I prefer double jointed) and Goldie Locks. Single spoon Red-dog is generally best in Large, however the smaller versions of lures are working better than larger sizes. Baby Simon wobblers continue to be hot little producers. Orange/brass (hammered) speedy shiners and orange/hammered brass Little Cleo had been good off Wildcat. Orange/pearl Dick Nite’s worked for me this week too. So far, if it’s orange & has good movement, it’s been catching fish. Fire Tiger, perch and cop-car have had their days too. We have a highly overlooked western toad population & frog patterned lures have held a high ranking on the best overall fish catching lures on the lake and should always be in your Eagle Lake box. Red-dot frog patterns are probably the best but yellow has held its own under certain conditions. Cast masters and Buoyant’s have also been catching a few.
For lures, normally brass & copper backs seemed to work better than nickel back lures early in the season. Generally by late summer nickel-back begins working well again & that is all about fresh baby tui chub minnows venturing out to the depths. Sure Catch lures, needlefish, speedy shiners, cast masters are historically our best producers. But, sometimes something new with a lot of action can produce good results. Last year, the better the wobble, the more attention you got.
DEPTH FINDER TIPS: 1) Remember, that the tui chubs show up differently on your scope than trout do. This species (non game fish) generally loads up your screen between 7 and 47ft and appear stacked & can nearly blacken your screen. The trout are going to show up at regular steady depths, generally not below 35ft (until later in summer) & rarely below 40ft due to dissolved oxygen being lower than the trout need to survive. One can waste a lot of precious fishing time fishing the wrong school of fish just because you see a massive school of fish on the screen…they may not be trout. 2) When you see a straight line on your scope of what appear to be fish from the lake bottom to the top, it’s the line of gas bubbles bubbling up (methane as when captured it does ignite (don’t ask). Springs can straight line but crown out (a density change) between 10 & 15 ft above their origin which generally is a small divot on the bottom. Some can be found by surface temperature changes depending on conditions and depths. The conductivity of the water can also cause a lot of “artifact” to show up which is easily remedied by turning your sensitivity down. This also decreases the false fish readings. I prefer using true sonar over Fish ID due to the fact that air bubbles often show up as fish when using ID.
BAIT FISHING UNDER SLIP BOBBERS: A free lined night crawler off Eagles Nest has done ok. Allow it to cover the water column down to about 21-24ft (6-8 minute drift before relocating). If I were to set a slip bobber to one depth, I would probably shoot for 24 to 30ft deep but they might be driven deeper by the heat but you shouldn’t need to go any deeper than 38ft. My luckiest numbers for depths have been 28, 30, 31, 33 & sometimes 36. I do keep a free line in this time of year, I just let it drop a few minutes longer before relocating. But mostly the trout will settle in to a routine & will stay at a particular level. Generally this time of year the zoo plankton suspends on a thermolcline & the trout just lay there and eat, breath & sleep without having to move. Rarely will you catch a trout below 40ft as dissolved 02 is too low to sustain them long but our other fish species in the lake do inhabit deeper water than the trout. Flat water, sunshine & rising water temps dropped the trout down just a bit & they are more apt to take a lazy crawler than to chase a lure when they are down there getting out of the sunlight & being lazy. I always run a free-line, however it is a line that has to be run with an open bail and needs tending so it doesn’t drop to the bottom or pick up a tui chub instead of a trout. If the water is flat calm, I often just drift rather than anchor if I don’t have a bunch of lines in the water or boats to avoid. Free lining is not using any weight and letting the worm drift down naturally. I do use a small #12 or #14 (#16 if I can find them) black barrel swivel 3 ft above my threaded night crawler which does sink faster than a naked line but protects my spool from twisted line if I catch a tui chub. I don’t want my bait to spin, I want it to swim on a slow retrieve. Bait fishing will pick up very soon. Remember, that the stores carry mini crawlers for a reason. Sometimes these trout prefer a snack over a meal.
SHORE FISHING is not on right now and probably won’t turn on till fall. The deepest water a shore angler can access is off the gravel bar at The Springs, sections of the east side & off Pikes Pt near the marina. The best bet now will be the deeper water where the ledges drop off to 30+ feet of water. Pikes Pt can hold fish all year. Access to Wildcat Pt is dryer but any trout are further out. The area between Camp Ronald McDonald & The Springs didn’t produce too much but further up towards Eagle’s Nest had better luck from shore. Trout move along the shoreline all the time and it’s often just a matter of timing and with water temps rising, your best chance will be over deeper, cooler water right now. This area can provide pretty fair shore fishing even in the heat of summer.
KAYAKING, FLOAT TUBING & FLY FISHING: Once the trout vacated the shallows, they were gone. Since, the water temps have risen above 70F+ it makes for tough fishing in shallow water. One can fish any method from a tube or kayak, it’s not just for fly fishing and at least one can access the deeper water & ledges. As long as you can hit the depth of the trout (25-35ft deep) you have a good chance of catching one. But until the water temps cool off for fall fishing in close and over shallow rock piles will be a waste of time.
Once we cool back down again we will be back in business. The best flies have been wooly buggers & brown leech patterns are probably my best most bitten flies on this lake all around, olive is the next deadliest & when they get on olive, they are looking for something specific. Orange (florescent to burnt orange) wooly buggers & wiggle tails were getting the most attention this week in tight and shallow and olive wooly buggers have had their days. If fish are rolling on the surface in large numbers I will have an olive or grey # 10 or #12 or #14 (depending on hook manufacturers) midge under an indicator. For the little flies, toe-biters, scuds (brassy orange, orange or light olive), shrimp & snail patterns (black peacock or dark grey). We are rapidly heading to summer mode & good conditions won’t return until fall.
See below for tips and suggestions particular to fishing this lake all season long.
TIPS FOR METHODS OF FISHING TO ASSIST IN SETTING UP FOR THE NEXT FISHING SEASON. ALSO SEE TIPS AND TRICKS
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.
To run your leadcore like I do a topline you simply have to add 50 to 75 ft or more of leader & run one color in the water (that can be 1 ½ to 1 ¾ colors off your reel & depending on your speed.) I run four lines, The two outside lines are Jay Fair toplines & my inside lines are my leadcores. Running my leadcores shorter allows me to make sharper turns without having my lines cross over each other. 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. Average trolling speed for us this week was 2.2 to 2.7 mph .
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). I also work the contours of the bottom in shallow water using the same technique. 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.
TIPS FOR DOWNRIGGER USERS: To successfully troll a trolling fly from a down rigger you need to put your line a little deeper into the clip so it takes more effort for the fish to pop off. The key to hooking fish on a fly is setting the hook instantly & don’t allow any slack in the line bringing him in. If you don’t sink the hook, you haven’t sunk the barb in his lip. Rod unloading picks up a little of the slack in the belly of the line but not always enough to solidly sink the barb. If there is one complaint I hear from downrigger users trolling flies, it is that they can’t get that many fish to the boat before they spit the hook. It only takes a little change up to stick the fish solidly. Also, don’t continue to troll. On flies, typically you only hook the fish in the lip or by the skin of the lip. Dragging the fish while reeling it in helps tear the skin & open a hole for the hook to slip out of. Been there, done that.
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.
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. The larger size discs tend to travel laterally more than the smaller discs. 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. There is a new action disc in development which should out next season.
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.
SHORE FISHING TIPS
If you are coming up to fly fish by wading first, I can’t tell you how important it is to fish the water before you step into it. When I could wade, I would stand back 20-30 ft (as closer will move the fish away) flip out several double-hauls & land my fly 3 to 5 ft from the edge of the shore. I have caught my largest fish doing that. Now, since I can’t walk well, I use my float tube & I cast as close to the shoreline as possible & shoot for 3 to 5 ft from land…..Friday morning I caught and released 3 trout (that were the larger 20-23 inchers) doing that before sunrise.
Nightcrawlers or powerbait….or nightcrawlers and powerbait work very well from shore and are probably the two best baits to consider using. Casting small jigs is also a top producing method of catching fish from shore. Brown, olive and black are the basics, but wild turkey (darker grey) has been #1 for decades for the jig tiers. Yellow and white turn on later in November and can be the ticket in December. For longer casts use weighted or water filled bobbers. We not only do that but also use longer rods 8-8 ½ ft long for extra distance. In some of the accessible areas of the lake, it can be critical to get distance, especially later in the morning or in the afternoon when the trout move out….mostly just out of reach from shore with normal tackle & rods shorter than 6 ½ ft long. FYI on that. The jigs we use are much smaller than the traditional crappy jigs, however in a pinch, they can work ok. The small jigs are available locally, Susanville Chester among other sporting goods stores.
Bobbers VS bottom fishing: It is possible to fish from the bottom up. Use an egg singer rather than split-shot so when a touchy trout picks up your inflated crawler or floating dough bait (powerbait) there is less resistance. We have a lot of areas of soft mud, sand and weed beds that make it easy to slowly retrieve that line. However, we also have more rocky ledges and gravel bars that hang up a sinker & slow retrieves make that worse. If you are bottom fishing around rocks & bring your line in, bring it in fast to keep your singer above the rocky bottom. Depending on conditions of the day (wind especially) and the location I am shore fishing, I often set up a deep running bobber and let my weight rest on the bottom (bobber on its side or tipped) & float my bait up from that. This way, the bobber helps keep the line “up” & I still crank in fast…..but I don’t lose a lot of tackle anymore having put these techniques into practice. Use the wind for a drift & relocate as needed to keep the drift going. We also use jigs in the wind. Wild turkey grey is probably the best all round color but olive, brown, black and orange are our normals. Yellow comes into play when skies are darkened with clouds and the water stirred up from the wind.
FLY FISHING/FLOAT TUBING BASICS
#12 & #10 Nymphs. Orange, brown and olive.. From my float tube I prefer using a sink tip…10ft medium sink (3 to 4” per/second). This line allows me to cast into shore or on top of a shallow rock pile and work the contours down. I can sink it to 15ft deep if needed or ride the upper 1ft of the water column. For wading, I use my full floating line & use double wire hooks or bead-head nymphs/leeches to get the depth needed to work the rock pile up. Come fall/winter months my spring arsenal is still in my go to compartment but I add some olive/white minnow imitations, orange & light olive scuds (water temps dropping) and some oddball wooly buggers. Some days I need a little flashier body while other days my “plain Jane” drab olive or brown are the ticket. The new UV material is proving itself in browns, black and darker olive colors. It depends on the sky, water color and temperature but the new UV dubbing makes a beautiful fly. As the water begins to warm up to around 65F on the surface, I have been known to use #16 to #22 olive or dark brown midges under indicators. For the most part, if I use an indicator I use a plastic bubble type like thingamabobbers. I poke a small hole in the top & fill it with water which keeps a neutral buoyancy & still rides on the surface. I prefer the loop attachment of the thingamabobbers over winding around an O-ring or threading. It’s easy to put on and stays in place as well as being easy to remove with no tippet damage. In big waves, the water fill method flows smoothly and with the water it also adds some weight for casting when the wind comes up. Whereas the high riding air bobber or Styrofoam jumps around with not only the wave action but the wind as well. If that’s what you want, by all means use your preference. All I do is tell you why I do or don’t use a certain product. Regardless, it’s really only a matter of control. As a rule, I really don’t care for “bobber fishing” & calling it fly fishing. But you can catch a lot of fish if that’s what you like to do but it’s not as much fun for me as teasing a trout into a strike. I don’t really care about reeling in a fish, it’s all about the tease and the strike while holding my line!!!
In my tube I keep on the move & keep the casts towards shore going, even though I may not leave the area I am fishing, I am making circles in my tube just as I would in my boat. It’s more about a Hybrid form of fly fishing that incorporates all the casting and stripping techniques as well as some trolling methods. If you run a full floating line from a tube you often need a heavier fly, it’s the nature of the beast unless you anchor, you drift faster than you think. I have specific lengths of leadcore line that I loop onto my floater to make it a sink tip if I need a quick conversion. I have never liked using full sinking lines. No matter what, the full sink lines have a large belly form between rod and fly. Our trout are such gentle slurper’s that by the time the fish pulls the belly out of the line enough for you to see or feel on the rod, it’s too late to set the hook, the fish is gone. If you sink your floating line down from the top of the water, the body of the line remains on the surface which allows you to use the line as an indicator & you will catch more fish than you even knew were biting at you. Uniform sinking lines do just that, sink. No matter what the advertisements say, the uniform sinking line has a droop or belly to it under the water. NOTE: RETIE YOUR FLY AFTER EVERY TWO FISH OR NUMBER THREE FISH WILL STEAL IT FROM YOU….just trust me on that!! Also, keep your hooks sharp…I sharpen hooks after every other fish and keep my sharpener close by at all times.
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.
BAIT FISHING TIPS
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!!!!
If I went bait fishing from an anchored boat right now I would tend to hit shallow water. Keep my line up around 3 to 4 ft from the surface.
It is not unusual to find a nice lazy trout at 30ft deep off the east side between The Springs and Black Mt at any time of the fishing season. The fish that reside at that depth are generally fat and lazy & make you find them, rather than just swim by your bait in fall. They don’t always chase trollers at that depth, but they have been known to take that nice juicy nightcrawler that just sits there wiggling. Attractants can help, but don’t put it on every bait in the water until you know it’s working better than not using it. We have trout off Wildcat all the way up the west side and holding in mostly shallower water early in the morning….but they are moving back out later in AM.
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, pink/red 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.
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.
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