Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
FISHING SEASON CLOSES FEB 28TH, 2023
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First and Foremost: the West side Osprey Management Wildlife Area from Pelican Pt to Shrimp Island and from Christie to Wildcat & above is closed to motorized vehicular traffic. Signs were burned in the fire, but that doesn’t mean the area suddenly is no longer a wildlife area with motorized vehicles restricted below the border road. It is ok to walk in from the boarder road until March 15th. Check USFS topo maps.
8-16-22: DFW HAS POSTED THE CATCH AND KEEP RECOMMENDATION DUE TO SUMMER WATER QUALITY and HIGHER WATER TEMPS. Basically, in spite of a trout swimming away, it has a better chance of dying than living until the water cools back down. A good practice to preserve the fishery for fall is to preserve it in the heat of summer.
Long hot days but not as hot as it could be. Winds have been late. We are predicted to see some thunderstorms return mid week. With them comes straight-line winds that come up quick and fierce. The last place you want to be is on the water. We had 3 back to back low temps in the 30’s. This is normal for August but it also begins a transition towards fall. Surface temps probably won’t rise much higher but they can stand still for a while. This can cool the surface off faster than the depths which can bring the trout up and briefly into the shallows. We have nearly 30ft of water to cool off. LoL. We brought things up a bit trolling. From topline to about 10-12ft deep, but there’s still some holding 15-18ft deep for us depending on the day. The green cloud begins around 6ft deep, consistent in all measurable basins. So we have to show up below that level. However, we have had days that toplining over the depths has worked and occasionally we’ve found them in shallower water 6 -12/15ft deep.
We have found them at various depths different times of the morning. The small gold Thom.Buoy has gotten the most attention for spoons. Red/gold, copper red, orange and frog patterns (1/6oz speedy shiner) have still remained in the mix. 1 to 3 colors deep for us. Trolling flies: Tui-chub (pearl body), all around best, hot orange and fiery brown. We are seeing some tui chubs along the shoreline and small clouds beginning to show up here and there. This is when the smaller rapala’s, plastics and minnow trolling flies can start working. Fire Tiger has also been productive on occasion. Baby Simon pink, pink/white, orange/copper are also starting to produce.
Most all our fish trolling have been caught between 1.5 and 2.8mph. Depending on the area we use speed to raise and lower our lines around the structures or fish. Often it can just be a change of speed & a lot of turns to encourage the strikes. We also caught a couple nice ones on a toplines this week as well as 8-12/14ft deep. So the trout are still pretty scattered in the water column. We’ve successfully run quite a few different lures but orange, orange/gold or copper, red/copper or gold, it’s been mostly about hitting the depth but every day we just throw in the top producers & see which one they like best and where they want it. This week it’s been a bit higher than we were a week ago but if it’s flat, hot and late, we’re dropping down a bit.
We’ve caught fish on the west side off Lake of the Woods and shrimp Island….staying out towards deeper water. Same off Wildcat Pt to Merrill troll. Had some gunk. East side (The Springs to Eagles Nest, Miners Pt, the center of the lake) and middle of the south basin are holding some very nice fish as well but we can run into walls of tui chubs. Pikes Pt and right out from the jetty has trout moving in and out as well now.
Changes are coming soon, our hint of fall is already in the air. Now if the ramp fails, we’ll be on kayaks.
Bring your bait and tackle. There will be no store at the marina. Bathrooms were still open on 8-15 & the cleaning sinks and fishy garbage cans were emptied this morning. Please clean up after yourself at the fish cleaning station…sometimes we clean up after others. There’s days we just take the fish home to clean. There is no fuel, showers, laundry, tackle or grocery items available at the recreation area store until further notice. Hosts have Merrill, Eagle, Christie and Aspen campgrounds open. Give em a break, they are all we have!! Eagle Lake RV park in Spalding has fuel (gas and diesel) as well as other necessities…like ice cream and soft serve!! LoL. Nice little store. However, showers/laundry are reserved for park guests.
Shore Fishing: Water is solidly to 70+F, however a cold morning can cool off the shallow shoreline water faster than the depths. We need about 5F drop in surface temps before we’ll see fish move in tight, other than briefly. This isn’t the best time to shore fish. Fall will be here sooner than later. Night crawlers, jigs under bobber’s, meal worms can also work well. These trout will come in shallow in late summer for the minnows once the minnows are in bigger schools. Watch the water, we’ve seen the minnows boil & beach themselves when under trout attack. Casting small spinners or pink/nickel cast-masters through the boil can be deadly. Spinners generally prefer ed…small panther martins black with yellow dots or yellow black dot. Power-bait and even marshmallows work can work to keep your bait off the bottom. Casting lures can be productive in summer for accidental trout. LoL But may need some distance after sunrise….but watch the water cuz trout can be unpredictable and come in at mid morning to mid afternoon!! Cast Masters seem to be a top producer for casting from shore. Best to wait until fall for better catching but it isn’t unheard of to catch a trout from shore under the hottest conditions if the bait is holding close to shore. My friends have proved that….they don’t limit out but they usually catch casting a pink or red cast master. Later in summer that might change to blue/nickel
Fly Fishing: Note: The Osprey Management Area is closed to vehicles. One must walk from the border road. Get caught, pay the piper but you could experience more. There’s a lot of locals post Whaleback fire folks who don’t know the area is closed, as well as driving ATV or UTV’s on the lake shore and in the water. But every map has shown that for the last 40years or more, google is not an excuse. We are hoping the signage will be going back up with some weed abatement this year. So, on that note….just boat in, that’s the legal way until walking in is permitted after Sept 15th. It’s really unbelievable how many vehicles are breaking the laws and causing needless damage. Especially those from Spalding driving to Pelican Pt and into Slough Pt, Shrimp Island etc. Absolutely a shame to see. But when a sting comes around, you could find yourself in a bit of a legal conundrum.
We are having some hatches but these fish usually can’t resist small creepy crawlers such as bead head nymphs or small size 10/12 woolly buggers or leech patterns. Scuds, shrimp, leeches, midges (olive and black zebra), mayfly and chironomid emergers are also good. Burnt orange or hot orange small woolly buggers. Brown w/b with burnt orange tail. We use a lot of size 10’s and 12’s for woolly buggers. Mostly the outer rock piles are producing but that will begin to fade around 67-68F water temps. We are starting to see some tui chubs hatch so keep an eye on stomach contents….these trout prefer small dumb baitfish over those accustomed to being prey. That’s when small (very small) rapala’s and small tui chub trolling flies begin getting attention. DFW posted the catch and keep recommendation on 7-13 in order to preserve the fishery over the summer poor water quality conditions and low dissolved oxygen. Please volunteer not to catch and release or wait till fall. We lose a lot of fish in summer from releasing.
Complaints from fin trimming to catching should go to the local department of fish and wildlife biologist in charge of managing this lake. Just because our low number of anglers are catching some fish, it isn’t the masses we would normally see. Gone are the days of 30-50 fish C&R. Paul Divine Biologist: Paul.Divine@wildlife.ca.gov 530 254-6363, Redding office Supervisor: Andrew Jensen Andrew.Jensen@wildlife.ca.gov 530 225-2300 SEE TROUT PLANTING AND MARKINGS FOR YEARS PLANTED HERE. 100% OF THE PLANTED FISH ARE NOW MARKED BY FIN TRIMMING. No contingency plan, over population of tui chub and no plan for those either. God forbid what this year will bring after the chubs spawn. Quite a few fish had no fins at all, just his tail to maneuver. Sad case. We have caught hundreds of these mutilated fish this year in particular. Plus a lot of split tails. Last fall, lots of dorsal fin and 1-3 missing anterior and pelvic fins missing. The dorsal fin trim or mutilation may be a brood stock trim. We have been known to get some old broodstock fish planted in fall as they are from eggs collected here at the lake. We don’t receive the second generation anything or sterilized triploids. If it was anglers marking, there would not be so many and most are all very close to the same size. If it is DFW (see fin trimming note from DFW), I would say they are mostly mutilating these fish now and freeze branding was much better for the fish. If you get a nice one that you may want to have mounted, good luck as it will be somewhat mutilated when it comes to the fins and tails. Not a trophy trout to be proud of, that’s certain. 15 years ago we had a fly fishing group that would trim or notch fins/tails for 3 days of fishing. This group hasn’t been here for a long time. Personally, I don’t know any angler here that mutilates our trout. DFW won’t admit to it but definitely marks fish planted every year. Does one escape marking? On occasion. This is being done so that in the future, a native (native spawn) fish may be fully finned. LoL probably decades from now or not in our lifetime. Cows come before native spawn, lake elevation and water quality issues apparently. In the mean time, the hatchery raised/farmed fish might just swim in circles. LoL. Freeze branding didn’t handicap the fish like cutting off an arm two or their “legs” LoL. But when a fish only has a tail to use, that can prohibit some typical feeding patterns in this lake. Like rock flipping and rooting out the snails from the gravel bars.
Trout come and go with catching and mortality of release during the fishing season as this is a hatchery maintained lake. Adult Tui chub have no predators except pelicans if they can see them in shallower water and the chubs live over 32 years. They stay in the lake regardless and rarely close enough to the surface for the pelicans or eagles and are very wary of the osprey. The young of the year have only pelicans, grebes, loons, seagulls, terns and a few other birds to worry about, but the trout had always kept them in check until the severely reduced planting allotments kicked in. The juvenile chubs have very few predators but the pelicans can get on them during certain times of the year. Pelicans can only reach 3 to 4 ft down, so they have to target shallower fish. The trout mainly only target the hatch of the current year, although only rarely we encounter a 4-5″ chub in the belly of a fish over 5 lbs. Tui chub are now highly concentrated in the lake. They are often found in low dissolved oxygen range in the lake and the bottom of the stacked school is often below 40ft, they aren’t nearly as affected by low DO or algae blooms as the trout are. Our trout are rarely below 40ft even on the warmest of waters. The dissolved oxygen is generally too low to hold them. Chubs don’t need as much as the trout do. Note that chubs are in the super family of carp. That tells ya something right there. And the way they school, they can blacken your scope. They are a protective species of their own, even though they don’t run in the same schools. The adult spawner’s protect the juveniles and the juveniles protect the young of the year and separate again in fall. They appear to be well over populated and Do chubs eat their young even though they go into a protective mode? Yes, when opportunity knocks. But the chubs are not a predator species, have no teeth and smaller mouths, in general, plankton feeders so they can compete with the trout for food sources.