EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
Copyright Protected and Registered by Valerie Aubrey.
Permission to copy and re-publish must be given by the Author.
R u Mobile? WeR2!! Text and send photos to
Val @ 530 249-1430 or email@example.com
OUR FISHING REPORT IS THE MOST COPIED AND LEAST CREDITED EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT ONLINE SINCE 2006!
AUGUST 30, 2015
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
We will keep "motivating" those who signed off on this plan to insure it actually gets accomplished
EAGLE LAKE GENERAL STORE AND BAR IN SPALDING IS NOW OPEN.
Owner of Eagle Lake General Store and Founder of Eagle Lake Guardians
CLICK LINK FOR INFO
8-30-15: Lake temp & conditions: The surface temp on the west side off Lake of the Woods has been starting out at high 66’s-67’’s. The east side running about 1F higher in AM. We can see a 2-3F rise on a hot, calm afternoon of which we still see on occasion in spite of fall being obvious. The thermalclines don’t change as fast but we are seeing some subtle changes there as well. Surface temps need to drop & stay at or below 65/66F for a week before we will see them slowly loosen their grip & then everything will change. The big patch of cold spring water remains a solid 61F on the surface and has been showing up between the ramp and Lake of the Woods. Heavy winds the last few days have cleaned up many weeds, but have stirred up the increasingly cloudy water. Check your lines periodically.
The lake has been fishing pretty tough for the average angler over the last few days. Especially if you miss the morning bite. Heavy winds, full moon, cloud cover, brief showers & cloudy water took their toll. The early bite ended for me around 8AM & then just half hearted tugs & I didn’t stay out to get beat up by 30mph wind gusts. The heavy winds kept anglers off the lake most of Saturday which didn’t allow for anyone to get out for the later morning bite that comes on with a full moon.
Every day has fished different. One day one thing works great, the next day a change. We will be dealing with more cloudy water as the weeks progress & water temps cool. This will make us have to resort to brighter, darker or more UV colors, scent or noise in order to get the attention of the trout. For whatever its worth, that’s when trolling nightcrawlers really kicks into gear & often with flashers (be sure to shorten your leader up to about 14 inches on this lake). These fish come up so fast behind a flasher that the fish pass your offering and strike your flasher. Lots of hits but no fish. Shorten up & see what happens. Beads & blades also begin working…because they can clatter on turns & changes in speed….there’s your noise. UV has its purpose & if there comes a time when it works well, it’s when our water goes cloudy. Take note that when colors wash out, metals, reflectors and foils remain flashy even though they may not penetrate the water more than 10ft or so, they will penetrate a further distance in the water than something without it.
The wave action from the heavy winds the last few days have kept the minnows out over deeper water. As the lake settles down they will move back in a little & the trout will follow. For several days I had been doing quite well in 15 to 30ft of water, once the winds picked up Thursday afternoon, the bait balls I was working moved out to 40 to 46+ft of water and were 12-15ft thick in many places off Lake of the Woods. The trout were above them and active between 15 and 21ft deep & were starting to slow down shortly after the sun was up. Once the winds blew in, it blew most everyone off the lake. As surface temps cool, I generally start running a topline 5 to 7 ft deep & no less than 125ft behind the boat (sometimes needing 150ft) along with my leadcore to cover the depths. The fish will be scattered in the water column but probably not as deep of levels early in the morning as when surface temps were close to 70F across the board. Here it comes. Fishing can get tough during the early fall transition for the lake and several things are going to happen. The trout are going to be on the move with the minnows until the shrimp explode & wherever that layer of zooplankton is suspended, there will be trout. Last season, it was 18ft deep regardless of how cool the surface temps were & they didn’t move in close till November.
The bait under bobber bite has been good one day and slower the next…but fish are still being caught. Keep a free line in. We often use attractants when bait fishing. Garlic (beige) or krill have been good but other trout gravy’s work too. Don’t put it on all the worms at once, leave some naked until you find out if it’s working that day. I would still have at least one free line in the water. If the trout are active for trollers at higher levels, you will probably have a few cruising by at higher levels too….the free line covers all the bases in a 5 to 10 minute drift.
Some trollers are working for limits but happy to have finally caught one. For trolling, it’s actually been pretty good around 15 to 18ft deep right off the get go in the morning and when that bite slows down, I have only dropped down a little deeper to find another. But we have been working for them after the early bite. My best trolling fly has been the tui chub minnow and I keep one in the water at all times. Next up was cinnamon leech. And olive wooly buggers. I was working over the middle ledge off Lake of the Woods in water 15 to 35ft deep. On turns I was in 40 to 46ft of water. I was trolling between 2 and 3 mph and up to 3.5 mph sucking my lines up over a shallower hump. I ran my leadcores at 3 ½ colors and later dropped out to 4 colors in the water. I used my boat speed and turns to work several feet of the water column and the contours of the bottom. Over the deeper water I ran the same depths. My most reliable trolling fly has been a tui chub minnow imitation. This week, it’s still the flashier pearl body of Arctic Fox.
The east side trout have been starting out around 15 & as deep as 28-32ft deep depending on conditions of the day & I expect to see the trout come up a little closer this week. The water is stirred up and the rock piles were recently scoured…leaving the minnows the only concentrated food source for a few days. Flat water, high sun will drive these trout down a little deeper to filter the light, wind and a ripple can bring them up a little. For the most part, about an hour or so after sunrise, they will be facing away from the sun. When we have some whitecaps on the water, they generally face the wind or up current. This can easily dictate the direction I troll and make circles. Just an FYI to help those who are having trouble catching
Trolling grubs has been pretty good. Watermelon grubs getting attention one day & plain olive the next. Pumpkinseed turning on and Root beer has also been productive. 3 inch sizes. For the lures this week, Baby Simon wobblers turning back on again, pearl/red, pearl orange & nickel/red. I can’t wait to run their brighter colors when our water clarity is reduced more…this may be a good week to try them. Needlefish; Nickel/black cop cars #1 and #2, Red prism #1 & #2 working OK while Perch (the yellowish bronze colored lures are working the best, it’s more about bronze than it is the lure type and probably due to the slight change in the water clarity. There are several patterns on with black spots and I used a #2 “Bronze Perch. I think it’s more about bronze than spots or stripes.
Sure Catch single and double jointed MED Red dog still enticing a few strikes as are rainbow runners (red, orange, pearl). Sure Catch are pretty darned good lures on this lake & I have several patterns I like Spice, German Brown, and anything that’s pearl. If we see any smoke the next few days, black/pearl, gold and yellow for my lure colors at the deeper levels & next up would be my small pink/green Tasmanian Devil. Trolling naked nightcrawlers has been very effective when trolled very slow.
The fish we have been catching have been fat and beautiful. Most of my catching has been out off off Lake of the Woods and the west side to Shrimp Island. I have worked the east side as well, mostly later in the morning between The Springs and Eagle’s Nest catching at 15 to 21ft deep but making turns & changing speed to cover an additional 5ft of depth. I have also run the edge of the ledge off The Springs with a minnow pattern trolling fly working 15 to 30ft of water (3 colors, slow speed & lots of turns in and out. I have waited until all the bait fishing boats have left & have had the area to myself. I have the boat about 30-40ft from shore at most & I don’t do it in a west or south wind.
TROLLING: Depth: It’s been all over the place for me depending on where & what I am fishing near. The trout have been between 15 and 24ft deep on any given day and I expect to see them come up in the water column pretty soon. The topline has been up and down this week but has been a little more active the last few days with a olive wooly bugger, cinnamon leech pattern or tui chub minnow patterned trolling fly or a 3inch watermelon or rootbeer grub…. mostly on the west side.
BEST TROLLING SPEED has been 2.2 to 2.8 mph however, I have slowed down to drop my lines into a hole or through a cloud of bait. Don’t try to split the difference in speed to run both at the same time or one or the other with a nightcrawler, then nothing will be working its best. I vary my trolling speed & make sharp turns on my zig zags & change it up all the time no matter what I am using. I always have more than 100ft of line behind me & often 150ft +. These trout are NOT hungry; there is a ton of free food for them that they don’t have to work hard to get. They have no reason to even bite us, so it’s basically it has been a matter of giving them the opportunity to grab something they naturally see in the lake…it’s irresistible to them when you put it right in front of them. For those who don’t know how fast they are trolling, try using your smartphone GPS or get a free “speedometer” app.
BEST LURES: Every day it’s been a little different. Baby Simon Wobblers with pearl, pink, red and orange. Needlefish, anything that’s bronze in color. Over the last couple weeks, Single and double jointed Sure Catch Red-dog (med), German Brown (medium/single), Rainbow Runner in Flo Red, & orange; white has had its moments, Red Magic Fish Scale prism #1, #1 & #2 Cop Car, silver prism, nickel bikini. Sure Catch Gator and Sure Catch Watermelon have worked under the overcast or smoke filled skies as has #1 Fire Tiger & perch patterns…stirred up water & reduced clarity can bring these lures to life. Jay Fair’s tui chub minnow and cinnamon leech trolling flies are working for us now too. Rapala’s (up to 3”) Orange/gold, Gold/Black and Silver/black rapala’s have been the overall standards, however the rainbow trout has earned its place among them as has florescent orange. Berkley Gulp minnows in pearl/watermelon and black shad are my go to plastic & I run them “crippled” (available at Marina store)…good for when the lake has some clarity issues going on. I use an action disc with those or hook through the side & run it crippled. Pumpkin Seed grubs or minnows are also a favorite once the tui chubs start hatching. We can size up a little now that the first of the seasons minnows are now larger. (PLEASE NOTE THAT IT IS ILLEGAL TO USE MINNOWS AS BAIT IN THIS LAKE, INCLUDING THE ONES YOU CATCH HERE. This is the time of year that I often find beads & blades to be affective…such as Kokanee killers/wedding ring (orange/green combination) with gold or orange spinner).
For leadcore trollers I use 18lb leadcore, not the small diameter line….too small to make nice splices to leader and backing. 12 and 15lb don’t have the same sink rate & after the first use, splicing is difficult. You may need a lot more lighter leadcore out in the water to get the same depths as I do with 18lb. Lazy turns and zigzagging and different speeds allow my leadcore line to work a column of water rather than just one depth, it also works a wider berth. At some point, I am going to drop that line right in front of a 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 too, especially in late morning & afternoon. 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. Line types also play a role in that. But you should be able to easily have 4 rods in the water without trouble if you have that many people fishing. (I have had up to 8 lines in the water without the use of downriggers or side planers).
TROLLING FLIES: . Arctic Fox Tui Chub minnow trolling fly and a cinnamon or brown leech pattern is getting attention on my topline the last few days. The Jay Fair Special trolling fly has had it’s moments but it will turn on good soon. A splash of red has been getting a lot of attention but not a lot of red. I am beginning to use more trolling flies this week than lures & we are doing great. Passive more natural imitations of leeches (cinnamon, olive, black or minnow imitations).
GRUBS AND OTHER PLASTICS: 3” Orange, watermelon, Pumpkinseed, olive & root-beer and brownhave been working the last few days as long as they have been run with an action disc or dodger. It’s been all about wobble this year and as our water gets cloudy, dodgers will help. Berkley Gulp minnows in watermelon/pearland black shadand 3” is just fine.
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. They can also form a line about 5 ft thick around or just below 40ft. The trout are going to show up at regular steady depths and generally not below 35ft & rarely below 40ft due to dissolved oxygen being lower than the trout need to survive…but they can go down below that briefly…very briefly. 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 surface, it’s the line of gas bubbles bubbling up (methane as when captured it does ignite (don’t ask). When using Fish ID, your scope will show fish stacked up, on true sonar you can see the difference. Springs can straight line wide but crown out (a density change) between 10 & 15 ft above their origin which generally is a small divot on the bottom, methane wells also show a small divot. Some springs 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 on your screen which is easily remedied by turning your sensitivity down. This also decreases the false fish readings. I prefer using true sonar over Fish ID as it prevents being fooled by false readings. And, remember, you may scope a lot of fish at a certain depth & know they are trout, but that doesn’t always mean that they are active at that level.
BAIT FISHING UNDER SLIP BOBBERS: A free lined night crawler off Eagles Nest has done ok but further south towards The Springs is holding a few more fish and the west side is holding a lot off the ledges, but the pods are moving around off either side right now. 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. Trollers are finding action around 15 to 21ft but that doesn’t always equate to bobber depths…but it is a depth a free line will easily cover. Plus or minus 5ft is generally my only change ups. I always keep one line higher than the rest & every day a different depth can be the best one. The tui chub are generally caught deeper than the trout, but they also inhabit the upper level and they run in dense schools. But mostly the trout will settle in to a routine & will stay at a particular level until fall comes along.
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 for a while yet, but we are getting closer. Oh a couple have been caught, but not limits and few and far between. The deepest water a shore angler can access is off the gravel bar at The Springs or Eagle’s Nest (I sucked up several nice trout from my boat, 30-40ft from shore this week…which isn’t even a long cast for shore fishermen). The base or southwest side of Pikes Pt (the two little points SE by Pikes Cove is the deepest access in that area & easy cast to 32 to 37 ft of water near the marina. The trout can be partial to small cast masters in that area. The point below Christie Campground can get you to 20-24ft deep this year with a good cast beyond the submerged rocks of the point. The best bet now will be the deeper water where the ledges drop off to 30+ feet of water & hope the trout move the tiny bait fish close enough to reach. Pikes Pt can hold fish all year and can fire up when the trollers are finding them. 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, your best chance will be over deeper, cooler water right now. This area can provide pretty fair shore fishing in the heat of summer as well as the cold of winter till Dec 31. The Youth Camp/Biology Station hasn’t been good so far at all this season but that may change for fall. The water was very brackish up by the Youth Camp…mostly starting north of the buildings & got worse ½ mile north
KAYAKING, FLOAT TUBING & FLY FISHING: Once the trout vacated the shallows, they were gone but we have a few milling around in 15 to 25 feet of water and on a cooler morning I have found a few in shallower, but they aren’t there long at all.. At least the trout are starting to move and getting restless in the depths.
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. However, this is also one of the most dangerous lakes when it comes to the wind coming up fast and furiously. I plan on kayaking or tubing in the next few days. We can usually catch good number of trout running midges under indicators; however, the stress from the warm water temps has affected catch and release fishing during summer. This lake is like none other. The alkalinity can adversely affect our trout under certain conditions and warm water is just one big indicator.
The best flies have been small minnow patterns, olive wooly buggers & brown leech patterns (nothing fancy & flashy) are probably my best most bitten flies on this lake all around.. Orange (florescent to burnt orange) wooly buggers & wiggle tails are also deadly.
For those wading. (Fall through December is the best time when the fish stay in close). I can’t stress enough about fishing the water well before you walk in it. Some of my biggest fish have come out of 6 to 8 inches of water a few feet out from an undisturbed shoreline. I approach my area 30ft above the water line as to not startle any fish that might be there. Once I am where I want to be I will cast my line & drop my fly 6 to 10 feet in the water from shore. If you walk within 20ft of the shoreline chances are good that the fish saw you & left before you saw them, 30ft or more makes a difference. I use a full floating line when wading & a slow to medium sink tip from my float tube or kayak. I do always carry a full floating line & rod all set up which gives me plenty of options & less re-rigging time. Full sinking lines can belly out to much to feel the subtle slurps before the fish is long gone.
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.