Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths

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October 12, 2015 
.  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!!  I also believe that CDFW's 27% off the top of any donations to the state Fish and Wildlife is too much of the public's money for administrative costs.  Perhaps that's why they are in bed with other nonprofits.  Had Eagle Lake Guardians donated their $17,500 to CDFW the state would have taken $4725.00 for absolutely nothing.
This allows you to be able to identify which hatchery a branded trout came from and what year it was planted.  FREEZE BRANDING IDENTIFICATION 
6-1-15 NOTICE
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
10-12-15:  Lake temp & conditions:  The lake surface temp started out 60F. The east side running about 1F higher by PM.  I expect to see that hold fairly close for the next few days but we have a cooling trend coming.  Afternoon winds have stirred up the old gal here and there. Weedy towards Christie & only a few scattered surface weeds. We will see cloudy water, basically until we see surface temps drop to around 57F and lower. Cloudy water causes vision problems for the fish so we have been adapting & staying within their sights 5ft below the surface & pounding them.
The lake has fished tough to fair the last few days for some, but most folks have been doing quite well with trout over 2lbs. I continue running brown, cinnamon or black leech pattern trolling flies on my topline at 5 to 7ft deep. Friends were up this weekend & we just pounded them. Orange trolling flies, Jay Fair Special and All Around Best, Arctic Fox Tui Chub minnow have all had their moments and more a matter of time of morning. But  & all in all the cinnamon or brown has ruled for double digit releasing. TIP: have no less than 130ft of line out behind the boat trolling close to the surface right now. Make lots of turns, slow down, speed up…bam! Fish on.  My leadcores are still finding some action at 13 to 15ft deep but mostly on lures….I have brought my leadcores up to my topline level at 1 color in the water with a leader 70ft long. Don’t pay attention to the fish on your scope that are below 15ft….those guys are resting while the active bite is up top. Trout scales on hooks & two foul hook ups released. That’s being in fish that are resting & not chasing.
The trout are scattered now on either side of the lake. We have had a good bite out in the middle of the basin between Eagle’s Nest and Shrimp Island and finding scattered action in between. I have also worked the ledges on the west side and finding plenty of action, just working in and out from the shoreline between 12 and 46ft of water.  I worked from Shrimp Island and south a bit off the west side working all depths of water at 5 ft deep & just slaying the dragons. My buddy has been working Eagles Nest towards Black Mountain and doing well at 5 to 8ft deep.  The biology station is still holding plenty of 2 – 2 1/4lb trout. The Baby Simon copper/orange has been pretty good at 12 to 15 ft this week as have Red Prism #2 needlefish and orange/brass Cast Master. Trolling nightcrawlers still taking limits as have watermelon grubs. But the trolling flies have worked steady and all morning long. Having a splash of red helped.
We have also been catching fish in the channel between Miners Pt and and Slough Pt and pretty much caught and released all the way towards the Youth Camp as well as the south side of Pelican Pt.  I don’t recommend novice boaters to even attempt going north of Miners Pt. Even with most all the rock piles marked, I don’t ever want to think I have them all….the minute I do, I’m in trouble….and it’s a long way back to the south end ramp from there and there is only one channel. I still caught fish closer and pretty much my best catching continues to be between 5 and 7 ft deep.  If you are in a small boat, get out beyond the buoys & start trolling towards Springs and the east shoreline. There is a nice little haunt out from Camp Ronald McDonald and towards The Springs which is 24 to 39ft deep which has always been a good place to make a big circle.  
Trolling nightcrawlers is probably equal to the brown leeches…after all, the worm and leech pattern are simulating the same type of natural feed in the lake. 3” watermelon grubs are holding their own.   Gold rapala's are working best in the lure department. No matter what, we have to be running something that can be seen through our cloudy water, smelled (as in nightcrawlers or applying an attractant) or being heard…beads clacking or sonic spinner blades. Lures haven’t done as well as trolling flies, bait and grubs. But orange lures will turn back on shortly, we have caught one fish on a medium single Sure Catch Red-dog and blue/brown needlefish with a splash of UV (A little UV goes a long way….don’t overdo it.    
A trolling fly is like any other lure, some days we have to give it action but it’s more about having to set the hook fast & keep the line tight. I catch plenty of fish on flies with rods in the rod holders, it’s getting to the rod fast enough before the fly is spit…If I don’t have time, I use the boat for tension until I can get there. Not just the speed I am trolling kind of tension, I hit the throttle up to 5 mph which gives me that second or two I heed to grab the rod.  If I lose em, I woulda lost them on the way in anyway. 
The active trout are going to be where the minnows are or another food source such as leeches and the infamous shrimp & zooplankton (microscopic shrimp) which has begun on the west side (as per gut checks on fish caught there this week) Snails are also on their menu on the west side, which is why I like to fish close to the bottom in shallower water 10 to 30ft deep.  A passive brown leech or crawler can be irresistible when danced in off the bottom.
Conditions can change everything, but as we continue to see cooling surface temps, the active fish will be higher in the water column. I have been keeping a flashy bodied tui chub trolling fly (Arctic Fox) on my leadcore at all times & it has NOT let me downFlorescent orange is back in favor again and yellows and gold’s for lures (gold rapalas) are still holding their own.  Don’t underestimate the power of a trolled nightcrawler right now.  
So keep a line up top, that’s the double digit level.  For first time fly trollers….I don’t always work the flies or use action discs with them. But the key to landing the fish is getting to the rod in a split second to set the hook and don’t give the fish any slack line. If I’m catching on using leech patterns, trolling nightcrawlers should attain good results as well, as both imitate similar feed that naturally occurs in the lake. Same goes with brown or watermelon grubs. My topline depth is running as deep as one color of 18lb leadcore IN the water with 70+ ft of leader.
 Adding an attractant will help leave a scent trail for a fish to follow
UV has its purpose & if there comes a time when it works well, it’s when our water goes cloudy. UV might be a plus, but I think some lures can use too much UV….something smaller rather than bigger could work better. 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. Don’t discount the foil flash on the trolling flies….it comes alive in the water all by itself.
The bait under bobber bite hasn't been real good.  One day can be good, the next day not so good.  The fish are on the move and on the chase.  They don't have to hang out in the depths for dissolved oxygen or tolerable water temps anymore.  Pretty much, the resident trout on the east side can be found 25 to 30ft deep, even in the winter months of cold water temps.  But, my advice is to keep a free line in and tend it & move if you haven't caught one in an hour.  The boys from shore who are fishing the ledge are doing quite well at 8 to 20ft deep.  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. And….if there is a fish repellent worth discussing it’s about hair products such as styling gel, mouse, leave in conditioners and oils and Palmolive soap residue on hands handling bait.   I would be more apt to freeline right now over any set depth. Power bait can work too.
TROLLING:  Depth:  5-7ft deep in every depth of water. I am working water as shallow as an oops at 4ft and as deep as 50+ft.  I hit every direction when trolling. I have found that these trout will face away from the sun by mid morning and towards the wind when it’s blowing. Sometimes, the fish only hit in one direction for trollers.
BEST TROLLING SPEED has been for us 1.7 to 2.8 mph on average for the trolling flies. 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. Right now, it’s a matter of giving them something to see in order to grab it.  For those who don’t know how fast they are trolling, try using your smartphone GPS or get a free “speedometer” app.   
GRUBS AND OTHER PLASTICS3” Orange, BLACK, motor oil, Pumpkinseed (overcast skies), watermelon (working daily)  & root-beer and brown (working daily run with an action disc or dodger.  It’s been all about wobble this year and as our water gets cloudy, dodgers will help. Black may very well turn on this weekend as the water will be cloudy and stirred up. Berkley Gulp minnows in watermelon/pearland black shad and 3” is just fine.
SHORE FISHINGThe ledge off the East side is producing for shore fishing. The ledge is easily reachable with a short cast. I have found a few trout moving in close & shallower here and there on the west side, but they aren’t staying long before heading back out to the comfort zone.   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 and small rooster-tails in that area. The point below Christie Campground (Christie Day Use or Picnic Area) can get you to 20-24ft deep this year with a good cast beyond the submerged rocks of the point.  We have caught fish off Christieto Wildcat Pt the last couple of weeks and Christie Day Use (point to the west) has been fishing very well from shore with nightcrawlers 3 to 4 ft deep. A little weedy for trolling or casting lures or flies this last weekend.
 Access to Wildcat Pt is dryer but any trout are further out and you have a good walk to get to the water. 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…could just be a matter of timing. 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.  The Youth Camp/Biology Station heated up for trolling the last couple of weeks. I have had the boat in close to shore as well as out in the deepest water 18 to 24ft deep. That may not translate to shore fishing all the time, but the trout were close to shore for me early this morning & moved out after sunrise. It has been worth the trip in my boat, might be worth a trip to drive in. There are quite a few fish up there now.
KAYAKING, FLOAT TUBING & FLY FISHING:  Good time to start. We are finding a few rouges in close and shallow. Not staying long, mostly all our fish are holding about 5 to 7 ft deep over all depths of water but they aren’t staying long in the shallows, more like just passing through. 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. 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 or black leech patterns & a little flash is now needed. Those are probably my best most bitten flies on this lake all around..  Orange (florescent to burnt orange) wooly buggers & wiggle tails are also deadly.  The marina store has a lot of single flies available behind the counter. I trolled J’s wiggle tails just fine from my boat & the colors are different than other trolling flies. I run small stuff all the time. The fish are not as sensitive to length of flies imitating leeches as they are to the plastic grubs.

See below for tips and suggestions particular to fishing this lake all season long.
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 .

   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.
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 fishIf 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.
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.
#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.
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. Copyright Protected Material 2015


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