Current Fishing Report

Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths


EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT

Copyright Protected and Registered by Valerie Aubrey. 
Permission to copy and re-publish must be given by the Author.

 Val @ 530 249-1430 or Contact Me

FISHING SEASON CLOSES DECEMBER 31!

8-14-18
Grand Reopening
Marina and Merrill to Aspen Campgrounds are open.  Come and get it, fish are still biting, just moved around a little!!

We are on FACEBOOK  Valerie Aubrey
and Eagle Lake Fishing Information and Network

FISHING SEMINARS AT 4PM ON THE PATIO AT EAGLE LAKE MARINA STORE.  EVERY SATURDAY THRU LABOR DAY WEEKEND!

  2018 ALL EAGLE LAKE, ALL THE TIME PHOTOS

 
 You can help by donating via PayPal link on eaglelakeguardians.org!  We are going on an ONLINE fundraising campaign and need all the help we can get!! YOU’RE SUPPORT CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!!  
 
Very slow progress, grazing continues and the USFS grazing plan doesn’t even mention “fish” or “native spawn” in its stream bed analysis.  DFW still controlling the timing and the numbers of fish allowed upstream.  100 this year, same as every other year.  Timing was not at the peak of the spawn ad DFW needed all they could get, when they could get it.  This was from Paul Divine on 5-14-18 CRMP field trip as well as at the trap.  Here is a note from Paul’s boss Andrew Jensen in Redding correcting Paul’s numbers on 5-14  “In fact, we installed a video station, and based on our counts approximately 250+ adults passed upstream, throughout the six week spawning season, not 100 and not just during the peak of the spawn. I wanted to clarify that for you so you can update your information for the visitors to your site.”  Note: I just reported what Paul Divine told us at the CRMP field trip ON 5-14 and what I was told by DFW at the trap which matched.  Here’s updated stocking corrections by DFW:   Stocking Corrections: 2017 stocking 54,383 pounds/123,180 fish stocked Additional Stocking Information: 2018 allotment 170,000 catchables 2018 stocking 14,100 pounds/56,400 fish stocked this spring .  General Information: Increases in allotments were made due to observed improved condition (length vs weight) of fish and low catch rates.  Also increased lake level since 2015 was a minor factor.  Water conditions have not really improved but the lake level has increased from the low water level in 2015.  Fish size at time of stocking is completely under the ability of the hatcheries to grow fish to the target size.  Darrah Springs Hatchery has been producing fish with the hatchery at half capacity, this apparently has affected their ability to grow fish to a larger size.  Target average size is 2 fish per pound, this is an average, so there are individual fish that are stocked larger and smaller than the average.  The bonus fish program is on hold.  We have been told that the hatcheries currently do not have the room to grow trophy fish, however maybe we can resume once Darrah has the capacity to grow trophy fish again.”  So the remainder of the 170,000 (115,617) are expected to be planted in fall.  These fish (what hasn’t been or will be eaten) will take several years to grow up and generally come from Cristal Lake Hatchery for the fall planting.  It’s going to take a lot more trout than than to bring this lake back.  Trout come and go with catching, tui chub stay.  The tui chub are well out of control right now. 
 
6-18-18 NEW INFO:  CONCEPTUAL MEADOW RESTORATION DESIGNS 2-26-18 . 6-11-18 PRELIMINARY UPDATE FROM TU, 6-18-18 PARTIAL UPDATE FROM TU Still waiting for other updates which I assume will be long on wait and short on update. FISH HABITAT? LoL. Another request sent to CRMP for public field trip meeting minutes.  Still working on minutes 2 months after a public meeting. 
 
NOTICE
Updated 2012 to 2018 fin trimming    Also, 2017 creel data was submitted, the statement by DFW Paul Divine “With lower catch rates many anglers stayed on the water longer, past our survey hours, resulting in fewer anglers interviewed (on top of the already lower than normal fishing pressure)”.  Get a hint Mr Divine, you alone are responsible for the lower catch rates, as well as the reduced number of anglers and trust me, people wait until you leave before coming in.  Put some decent fish in the lake & the people will come and start planting the lake with 2/per pound like we normally would receive rather than planting bait at 4+/per pound so they have half a chance at survival from the pelicans you are feeding during planting. If fall planters do better then plant them all in fall at least the average person would be catching a limit and actually want to come back.  Ask for volunteers to float out in boats, tubes or kayaks to keep pelicans from eating them as fast as they are put in for a while.  Personally, in my 57 years on the lake, this biologist and DFW in general is probably the worst we have had in over 30 years.  Lacking water quality testing has been a major error in these years of drought as well as the severe reduction in trout planting.  Which is one reason so few trout are being caught the last few years. Let’s just hope for a better fall and hope the bottom doesn’t drop out of the dissolved oxygen when the water warms up during our hottest months.  They seem to forget who they work for. Finally a 2018 water test by DFW.  Note that the dissolved oxygen is quite low.  Trout prefer 6-7ppm or roughly 60-70%.  We’ll see what happens when the water heats up in July and August. Hopefully DFW won’t be so neglectful of water testing as the dissolved 02 levels appear to be a critical measurement this year.
 
DOWNLOAD THIS 72 PAGE FILE.   Eagle Lake Guardians assisted in financing some of the studies that went into this report.    www.eaglelakeguardians.org   Getting an update from those “restoring” Pine Creek has been like pulling teeth from a live gator.  And, no there is no public informational website.  The only way you can attempt to get information is to get on the CRMP “email” list is to request it.  Although those who have attended meetings, submitted email address have not received information.  My guess is that this list changes all the time.  So if you want to know about meetings email CRMP at thetims3@yahoo.com  and ask to be put on the list again.  Guardians have been on the list and regularly don’t receive any updates of anything, including meetings.  LoL.  But we continue to request to be put on the list.  😉
  
We will keep “motivating” those who signed off on this plan to insure it actually gets accomplished.  But it isn’t moving very fast, grazing continues to be an issue.  Numbers of cattle grazing has not changed however the lake elevation hasn’t been as high as it should be to remain healthy and to be able to digest the heavy nutrients.  Thus, in my opinion, you see the cloudy water from what was historically crystal clear.   So glad to have had this lake at her best, as she is surely suffering now.  Cows again off Spalding.  USFS doesn’t appear to give a hoot about the devastation of the lake shore. Looks like Eagle Lake Guardians are the only ones who have donated funding to the restoration.  LoL.
 
August 14, 2018

A TIP FOR ANGLERS WITHOUT GPS MAPS ON THEIR DEPTH FINDERS.  YOU CAN DOWNLOAD A NAVONICS BOATING APP ON YOUR PHONE THAT HAS THREE DIFFERENT MAP VIEWS AND SHOWS YOUR LOCATION.  ONE VIEW IS 5FT INTERVALS OF CONTOURS OF THIS LAKE AND OTHERS.  THERE IS A TWO WEEK FREE TRIAL PERIOD TOO.   IT DOESN’T NEED CELL SIGNAL TO WORK AND IT ISN’T REAL HARD ON YOUR BATTERY (CLOSE OUT ALL OTHER BACKGROUND APPS THOUGH).  I USE IT IN MY KAYAK AND ON OTHER MORE POPULAR LAKES I FISH IN MY YAK.  FOR $9.99 A YEAR SUBSCRIPTION IT IS WELL WORTH IT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE HIGH TECH STUFF ON BOARD, IT’S AN EXCELLENT REFERENCE FOR THE DEPTHS AND LEDGES. 15 DAY TRIAL PERIOD.  BE SURE YOU GET NAVONICS AND NOT THE OTHER APPS.  THERE ARE SOME DISCREPANCIES HERE AND THERE BUT A VERY GOOD APP.  Great map of Antelope and Almanor too.  Can record trip too. Excellent when foggy on the water too.  Also shows speed.

What a joke.  0.17 catch rate. 
Wondering why your fish don’t have fins or have split tails? 
 
Check out  our photos and video galleries!
 
Dissolved 02 lowering to levels below trout preferences below 15-20 so no matter what the water temps are, fish higher in the water column than normal.  Trout prefer levels above 5ppm and over 50% dissolved oxygen (60-70% is ideal but it isn’t there).  It’s going to be all about the dissolved oxygen again this year.  No thermocline now.  High, tight lines compared to the old normal for this time of year folks! Another request is in for a current DO test. Yawn.

General South Basin:  Surface temps mostly hovering around 70-71.8F this morning on the east side, the west side starting out around 69F to 70F by late morning.  Some cooler spots.  That 70F water still runs to 20ft at 25 it cooled off to only 69F.   Some 64F to 66F out over the springs or in the spring gyre. Still 71F up off the south side of Pelican. Water remains cloudy, some scattered weeds and surface algae.  The blue green algae are more than likely the culprit as it has been for the last few years.  The dissolved 02 is significantly low for trout below 20ft and very little change in water temps.  This will probably keep the trout above to slightly below that level no matter what the water temps do.  I have been catching basically between 13 and 15ft deep early off Pikes and the west side and dropping to 18 to 22ft deep.  On the east side of the lake they have been pretty consistent at 18 to 25ft deep, depending on the location and time of day.  As with the last few years, water temps won’t matter so much to the trout, it will be all about the dissolved 02.  We are just starting to see a slight bit of fall in the air and the peak surface temps have cooled off just a bit.  This doesn’t mean it won’t heat back up again, we always see a slight spike before early fall starts taking the lead.   My best bites have been using a pearl body minnow imitation, red/gold Thomas Buoyant 1/4oz and 1/6oz red dot frog speedy shiner.  On average the depths of water I worked were between 24 and 50ft.  40-42 was probably the best depth of water for me. We have limited out every day.  Some days working a little longer than others.

There were still a few trout off the Jetty and marina working towards Aspen Camp & Camp Ron McD or to Pikes Pt and around the corner to Merrill Camp.  They were scattered today, but still eager to bite. My largest fish have come from this area.  But the east side is holding some healthy 2 to 3 lbers as is the west side ledges and Christie Bay.  These fish seem to move around.  It really hasn’t mattered where we start, we are still covering some territory for boat limits.  No matter what or where, we are all wading through the massive tui chub population to find the trout.  

If my bite goes off on one side, I’ll switch sides no matter where I start.   One thing is, when the bite comes back on, generally it will be on the same lures that were working before.   Lures that have been catching have varied from day to day but my starting point has been the red-dot frog, red/gold Thomas Buoyant and tui chub trolling flies.  Now that the trout are chasing minnows, it’s a no brainer to use an imitation.  The tui chub trolling fly (pearl body) has caught my buddies and I limits.  Cinnamon and rust leech trolling flies would be my next fly in the water.  For lures, small rapala’s  and Xtraps such as black or green and silver will do the job, just not too big of one just yet.  The smaller the better & under 2″.  Schools of tui chub minnows are scattered but if you find the cloud, you’ll find a trout.  Watch for boiling on the surface and clouds on your depth finder.   I have been running a small action disc in front of the flies but sometimes I think too much or too erratic movement isn’t good.  The larger disc hasn’t been as active for catching for me as using the smaller disc.  Perhaps too much wiggle.   Off Pike’s Pt, rainbow needlefish, frog and green patterns have worked, but the tui chub trolling fly has been irresistible for us.  If the trout are rolling on the surface I have pulled a line up to 4 to 5 ft deep and have caught several.  No rolling go deeper.

The tui chub are hitting anything and at all depths, but if they can see something, so can a trout.  Anything below 25ft is most likely going to result in tui chub & lots of them, at least it has for me.  Although, a couple of trout have been caught at 22 and 30ft deep over The Springs where fresh water is coming in and mostly only late morning or afternoon. 

Bait balls are just about everywhere right now.  Find the bait, you’ll find some trout.  So the minnows have hit the food court everywhere.  We are working many areas of the lake right now so when your bite goes off in one place switch or troll across the middle to Shrimp or out from Pikes Pt.  Generally, when the bite goes off, it’s off everywhere, when it turns on again, it turns on everywhere.  The trout we have caught on the west side are still mostly full of shrimp larva & fly emerger’s but the minnows are now being seen in their bellies.   For the most part, the trout I caught today still had a variety of food in their bellies.  West side more shrimp larva, east side and Pikes, more minnows….tiny minnows.

I don’t really think the trout can see very far in the water column.  I didn’t have time to drop the camera down this morning, but the water doesn’t seem much cloudier than before the fire.  The biggest change I noticed was that there was an increase in surface algae mixed with weeds, mostly out in the middle of the south basin. You’ll find something else working.  I have caught trout on multiple offerings but I do keep the tried and true in the water.  I feel that since the clarity is so bad that if I’m trolling fast the lure that might have gotten a look is out of sight before the fish can react.  Vary your speed, make turns to allow your lines to cover an area of the water column.  Today’s trigger speed was 2.2-2.6mph for me, 1.3 to 1.6 mph for my buddy.

LURES: Lures have been varied, the fire didn’t really change that much.  Red/Gold Thomas Buoyant 1/4oz has been my best lure and speedy shiner red dot frog patterns along with tui chub minnow trolling flies.  Sure Catch double jointed Red Dog, or single still in my line up and seems to work better on the west side for me and it’s time to start running the Shad patterns.  Various metallic perch patterns got attention which have worked better under cloudy or windy conditions and are generally a color (similar to spicy mustard).  These will really start kicking in hard in a couple weeks.  Rainbow and pearl bikini needlefish have also gotten attention.   Baby Simons in orange, orange nickel and other variations with orange and chartreuse also worked okay before the fire and smoky skies.  Green/chartreuse lures were also picking of fish before the fire.  For Trolling Flies. The tui chub minnow has ruled, but rust, cinnamon and orange are my next in line flies. Small rapala’s will also be a good bet but note that it is critical for the next few weeks to stay small.  Probably about another week, it won’t matter on size.  All in all the catching is still doing well, in spite of the recent fire.  The chase is on for the bait balls and late summer is gently showing meager signs that fall is just around the corner.   We’ll be seeing more signs of fall soon where some trout remain over the depths and others begin to move.  That movement is just starting to show up albeit, small numbers, but that is just the beginning.

Note on Rapala’s: Broken backs are floaters but you can get them down a little way with a down rigger or leadcore, just know that they float up from where your line is regardless of a 3ft deep diving bill, it’s the material they are made from that floats up on you.  Berkley Flicker Shad has become one of my go to cranks for trolling or casting.  A) it is true to its depth. Very nice finish, 1 1/2″ will hang up in 7-8ft of water, 2″ will hang up in 10.5 and 3″ will hang up at 14ft.  LoL.  Great for getting some depth in a kayak or using nothing but mono or braid. I make adjustments when using them with leadcore.

Trolling nightcrawlers has also been a good method although the last couple of years it hadn’t really produced big numbers of fish like in the past.  It’s still a good back up if nothing else is working for you.  Trolled behind a blade, harness or dodger.  Grubs have also been historically good.  Watermelon, orange, black, root-beer or brown have been our best colors, smoke will come into play.  Berkley minnows also start working good…smoke, grey, silver, shad and watermelon are our go to’s.  Some folks run long leaders behind dodgers but for the most part, shorter is better up here.  These fish can come up behind blades fast and literally miss your offering and strike the blades.  That’s why we use shorter leaders up here.  The shorter leader will also keep your offering within sight of your dodger.  If you’re going to try to attract a fish, be sure it doesn’t miss your offering in the cloudy water.  If you’re throwing the tackle box at them, these should be in your “tried and true” arsenal.  ATTRACTANTS work.  Don’t hesitate to leave a scent trail this year.  Trophy trout has been my first choice, garlic, krill and tui chub.

Trolling speed?   My best trigger speed today was the same two weeks ago, 2-2-6mph.  With Sure Catch and Needlefish I generally like 2.8mph, but with the cloudy water I slowed things down so the trout have an opportunity to see what I am dragging and react before it’s out of sight. I slightly enhance the bend in the needlefish and speedy shiners which gives it good action at slower speeds.  Just don’t tweak it too much, just a little or it can spin.  Buoyants work best for me between 1.2 and 1.9mph but can also run faster but after about 2.5mph they can spin too….in order to protect your, line chain swivels can help. Watch your rod tip bounce for the sweet spot (the bigger the bounce the better, my rods are dancing in the rod holders so hard that the pelicans think there’s a fish on it. LoL).  After the bite goes off, I randomly change my trolling speed.  I rarely troll in a straight line and I always go in different directions and make turns.

Bait Fishing from Boats:  As with the last few years, the bait fishing hasn’t been red hot for a lot of folks, at least not like it used to be. If fishing bait is your bag I would advise free-lining nightcrawlers if you plan on fishing over deeper water.   Free lining is basically not using any weight and leave your bail open.  That can cover the depths of the trout & a nice current will keep it up in the water column.  No, you can’t cast it a great distance but it drifts down naturally and drifts with the lake currents and that can be irresistible and look totally natural.  Don’t wait longer than 5 minutes drift down right now.  If the water is flat, I prefer to let the boat drift and leave my bail open. When a fish picks it up, it will be very obvious.  When retrieving to relocate, retrieve it slowly, be the bait…be the leech slowly swimming, stopping and going again.   If the trout thinks it has injured something, generally he goes back and eats it.   We let the fish start peeling line off the reel before setting the hook after that it’s Game On.   This method takes more concentration and action for the angler than bobber fishing but it can also be a lot of fun as well as productive.  A drift of a free-line has to be tended like casting and retrieving a lure as it doesn’t take long before it sinks to the bottom & you get hung up in water less than 25ft deep.  It is a successful method and covers the water column you are targeting, but often more work than some bait fishermen want to do.  If in water deeper than 25ft, it works better. If in water shallower than 25ft use a slip bobber.  We are fishing higher in the water column to get the trout which is not what a lot of long time anglers here are prepared to do.  Regardless, I wouldn’t go any deeper than 25ft deep and we have caught more trout around 15-22ft deep than at other depths the last few days.  Shallowest water I have caught a trout in was 20ft and it was over 4lbs.

SLIP BOBBERS: The fish haven’t been really active on bobber fishing the last few years, but if you have tried everything else & choose to try it I think I would stagger depths between 11-15ft and 20-24ft deep later in the day.  It is not unusual to have these trout move into shallower water and feed off the bottom or even out over the depths at 5ft deep but generally they are taking very small flies or nymphs and don’t even look at anything else.  With the water temps and dissolved oxygen levels right now, it won’t matter so much for them to stay over the deepest water as it won’t be any cooler and the 02 won’t be any better deeper.   Sometimes those resting trout at 22 to 24ft will take a crawler over chasing a lure. Sometimes half a nightcrawler does better than the whole worm or a mini crawler. 

PowerBait has become a standard for dough baits for shore and boat baiting.  Colors can vary.  I generally have a “rainbow” on hand that covers several different colors in one jar.  You’ll find one color works better than another but finding the color of the day can take a little time.  Generally speaking, orange, pink, beige, chartreuse, pale yellow, are the most commonly taken. Garlic flavoring has been a good go to.  Purple caught some last summer too.  Don’t ask how many colors I have in my shore fishing box.  I need a wagon to haul em all! LoL!  Good old fashion small marshmallows can also do some damage.  That’s what we used before floating dough baits came out and it worked…often when nothing else did. Trout love sugar.

Shore Fishing:  You’ll need to be able to access deeper water from shore and it isn’t easy and it hasn’t been real successful yet.  We now have more minnows in close off the ledges which may get some trout foraging pretty soon.  But the juvenile and adult chubs also form a protective shield around the young of the year.  The Springs is still close to shore…long walk but good water.  The small rocky point bordering Pikes Cove (southeastern part of Pikes Pt) has easy reach to 24 to 26ft of water over weed beds on its northerly edge. These would be my place of choice right now if that is what you have to do.  Christie Day Use (open) point drops sharply to 24ft at the end of the rock pile.  There have been fish in the bay but haven’t really come in close recently.  There is a small spring off the Circus Grounds that can hold some fish in summer, it’s off the easterly side of the gravel bar and even though not real deep, it can be nice cool water.  Accesses:  Pikes Pt, The Springs (via Camp Ron McD), Eagle’s Nest, Circus Grounds, Christie Day Use.  The south side dirt road to Wildcat Pt is closed for the time being.  North side road is also closed for a while as this is where the fire came through.  Closed until USFS gets a chance to insure public safety through the burn (in which is still hot in some areas).  Lassen County Youth Camp, best access is through Merrillville road off 139. Gallatin Road is in terrible shape past Camp Ronald McD.   The Osprey Management Area is also closed to access the west side of the lake or Pelican Pt for shore fishing.  These are only accessible by boating in at this time.   Walking access is not open until after Sept 15th if USFS reopens the burn area roads before that time.

Fly Fishing/Kayak/Float Tubing:   Won’t be long now folks!!  But, Fly fishing hasn’t been real good this season.  Hoping fall turns things around….start planning.  Hatches are meager  right now but we are still seeing a minor hatch of chironomides, black caddis, dragonflies and damsels (blue darners).  The dragons are in pretty large numbers out there after about 9am (I use #10 to #8 olive semi-seal or wooly bugger to imitate them).  Generally, #14, #16 or #18 midges work depending on the hatch.  Zebra Midges can also be good in olive, black, grey or even red can produce.  I have gone as small as #22’s on this lake but on average, 16-18’s will do ok if that’s what you have on hand.  Just depends on the hatch. Run these under indicators/bobbers.  So far, fly fishing off the rock piles hasn’t really produced a lot of fish this season, but that will start to change as surface and water column temps begin to cool down some.  Scuds, shrimp, snails, small leeches 7 various nymphs are also good to use as well as stone fly larva and toe-bitter beetles if nothing else is working. #10 damsel has been working great on the blue darner hatch but mostly over deeper water.

Kayaks:  Dragging leadcore from a kayak is like dragging an anchor but we do it anyway when conditions apply and depth is needed.  It is a lot less weight than using a mini downrigger.  Either way is a drag on the craft.  Note that 1/4oz lure will drop about 6-7ft on mono or braid.  If you need to get it deeper, add 1/4 oz weight & I hang that up around 12-14ft.  Adjust accordingly for the depths you are seeking.  But that’s a good starting place. Typically, this lake requires a certain depth this time of year but that will be changing very soon.  Come fall, most trout are in the top 5-10ft of water.  A 20ft dipsy diver is also a good option.  Lots of weight but fairly true to depth.  You don’t need 100ft of line out with a dipsy diver from a kayak.  But do keep paddling.  I’ll run 50-60ft of line out, but if my other rod goes off with a fish I’ll haul in as much as I can so I don’t hang it up on the bottom.    Check your phone GPS for your trolling speed while paddling.  Kick paddle kayaks can actually troll too fast at times so check you speed if you’re not catching.

My favorite fly line from a tube or kayak is a medium sink tip.  I can cast it into shallow water as well as let it sink once the fish drop down a bit.  The floating section allows me to use it as an indicator for the strike so no extra garbage out there.  I can hold it up with a large indicator if I have to.  It also allows me to troll it when getting from point A to point B to fish.  A full uniform sinking line gets a long belly in it very quickly and by the time the fish pulls the belly out of the line, it’s generally too late to set the hook on these fish. For the most part, it is a matter of preference.  Result on a full sinking line is often a lot of strikes but fewer hook ups.  In a pinch, if you don’t have a sink tip, a short section of leadcore 8-10 inches long spliced between your floating line and tippet will work just fine and still cast very nicely over using a small split shot.  Fish still know that you’re there in a kayak or float tube but they don’t run away as fast or as far as they do from a boat/motor.  I generally don’t have to run as long of a line or have a really long cast from a smaller craft as I do my big ol’ boat.  Lower profiles are better than higher profiles on the water.

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With reduced trout planting a smaller trout the last few years, the tui chub have explosively reproduced and have pretty much taken over the lake in 2017.  I expect that once the water starts warming up, we will find just as may chubs this year as we did last year…if not more and already folks are catching large tui chub.  I have been foul hooking big tui chubs by accident and I have never in 57 years foul hooked tui chubs by the tail (note: they fight like a trout when caught by the tail).  I am not sure if they are surviving my release.  ;-/ It’s going to take a heck of a lot of trout to put  a meager dent in the minnow population and the stage two tui chubs are too big and protected by guardian chubs and the trout rarely even target the 5 to 7″ chubs.  4-6″ trout won’t actually cut the mustard for quite some time. Personally, I think we need to get rid of some chubs or they will be competing for the food for the trout. A 7 to 10″ trout isn’t going to eat a 4 to 7″ chub.  Fewer smaller trout in this lake is not the answer.  As with nature, some foods dwindle and others take off in changing conditions of the lake.  The trout change their diet, often by choice rather than necessity.  The level at which they lay as been a necessity the last few years for dissolved oxygen rather than cooler water temps.  The zooplankton’s (shrimp, scuds and daphnia) have been so heavy that they foul your lines and downrigger’s the last several years and 2018 is showing similar results early in the season.  We’ll see pretty soon how prolific of a spawn the tui chubs will have.  I have also caught Tahoe Suckers to 20″ but release these special fish alive.   They don’t compete & we need as many vacuums in the pond as possible.  

Don’t complain to the stores or marinas about the fishing and fish, you need to complain to the local department of fish and wildlife biologist in charge of managing this lake. 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 OR TAIL TRIMMING.  We are about 250,000 trout short from reduced planting in the last 5 years.  No contingency plan, over population of tui chub and no plan for those either.  God forbid what next year will bring.  DFW is marking after every time they handle a fish for the spawn or plant it.    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.  If it was anglers, 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.  This is being done so that in the future, a native (native spawn) fish may be fully finned.  In the mean time, the hatchery raised/farmed fish might just swim in circles.  LoL. 

Trout come and go with catching and mortality of release in the summer months.  Adult Tui chub have no predators except pelicans and 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.  The juvenile chubs have very few predators but the pelicans can get on them during certain times of the year.  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, leaving little room for much else. They are often found in low dissolved oxygen range in the lake and the bottom of the stacked school is often below 40ft. They are a protective species of their own, even though they don’t run in the same schools.  The adult spawners protect the juveniles and the juveniles protect the young of the year.  They are now seemingly the dominant species in the lake and well over populated.  We can not avoid massive schools of chubs.

TUI CHUB INSIGHTS:  Typically, plankton feeders.  No teeth. Don’t rise to a hatch. Young of the year and the nursery chubs will boil on the surface when predators are below them.  The chubs scope differently than the trout do and are pretty easy to determine on your screen.  Generally, they stack up and are very thick in zones of the lake that have dissolved oxygen levels too low to support trout.  When spawning in the depths, they can also form a 5ft thick layer just above the bottom in 30-40+ft of water.  Mostly, any large stacked school  or blob of fish that the top is at 7ft and the bottom is at 47f+t are NOT trout. We caught some chubs 22″ long in 2016 and again in late July 2017, my biggest in 2018 has been 21″.  Huge monsters for chubs so they are doing very well….maybe too well considering the biomass and fewer trout being planted.  With a little more spawning habitat back for the chubs up north, I believe we will see another prolific hatch for 2018.  I believe their population density is going to bite us in the ass if it hasn’t already.  They’re over populated, and we don’t have the numbers of trout or grebes to control the future population.  I see this becoming a very bad problem for this lake now.  People don’t come here to catch trophy tui chubs. We have very few grebes and pelicans this year.  So this species is going to explode again this year.  Not good.
 
Tui chubs are in 3 separate and distinct schools.  Here’s how I classify them.  Stage 1:  Adult spawners. We have two schools.  One school spawns in the northern basins and the other doesn’t leave the south basin.  During the dry years up north, we had one year of lower spawning rates due to habitat loss & the northern spawners not knowing where to go to spawn in the south basin.  But the next year they had it figured out and our tui chub spawn took off with a vengeance.  We had little to no grebe nesting 2012-2016 so the tui chubs had very few predators to keep the young of the year in check for 4+ years.  These are now all in stage 2 juveniles and rarely targeted by trout, too large for a grebe and now very wary to pelicans.  Stage 2: The nursery. (Several years worth that are protected by sub adults I call guardians).  I have seen these “guardians” rush out of the school and slam a passing trout like a linebacker.  Which is pretty brazen for a fish with no teeth and half the size.  But numbers count and generally there is more than one guardian rushing the trout.  Stage 3: Young of the year.  When the adults spawn they can form a thick line protecting the beds before they disperse.  Once the young of the year complete the hatching cycle (which can last through August) we can see the schools of stage 1 and 2 form walls protecting the young of the year minnows.  Generally we will see the minnows in closer to the shoreline, the nursery juveniles outside of the young of the year and the adult spawners outside of the nursery.  It really is something to see.  I call it “walling up” and it generally begins around late August/Sept just as there is a hint of fall in the air.  It appears to me that the walling up is the chubs way of protecting their species from the trout.  If we have chubs in those numbers, the trout either find their way into the young of the year schools, or they move on to a different food source until the chubs disperse and relax. We can literally smell the tui chubs when near massive numbers.  As they transpire, they release a gas, especially the young of the year when in dense schools.  So follow your nose come late summer.  Look for pelicans in large groups as well as a boiling on the surface.  Out over the depths, the trout push the minnows up to within reach of the pelicans.  So we often follow the birds.
 
When fishing, I try to avoid the stacking adult tui chub as well as the nursery chub.  Generally the trout will be further away from the chubs or outside the chub school.  If you’re in the chubs, that’s all you’re going to catch.  Easy to determine on your line.  Chubs are tail thruster’s and head down, trout are head shakers and stay up and out.  Big difference on the rod.  We also have Tahoe suckers (grayish with darker back, small nodes on the lower fins), when mature they can have a red stripe.  Lahontan Red-sided Shiners (which appear as a sucker).  Seasonally they can be modeled green back with reddish stripe, late summer they can be a little more on the yellowish green back.  A treasure and rarely seen by anglers.  Please release these in good condition if you catch them as their numbers are low and they are a special species to this lake that don’t complete with the trout. Speckled dace (a minnow that only grows up to be a minnow).   Generally seen taking harbor near the transom of an anchored boat and various sizes from small to 1- 1 1/2 inches at most.  Mostly in family units from smaller to larger and 50-100 individuals is a big bunch.
 
Various zooplankton’s have also become very prolific to the point of fowling lines and downrigger’s…and when thick enough, can plug jet pumps.   The biggest change in the fishing occurred in less than one year.  From catching and releasing tons (20-40+ per day) of 2-3+ lb fish to being lucky to get one or two was a dramatic shift in Eagle Lake in less than one year.  Finding trout in the middle of summer at 17 to 20ft deep at 73F water temps is pretty unnatural but that’s where they were in 2017 when surface temps were above 70F.  We may have seen some 4+lb fish but their numbers being caught were few and far between…lots of 2 to 3 ½ lbs as usual.  Over 55 years of eating these trout, the best quality of meat comes from a 2-3lb trout.  Meat of the bigger trout of 4 +lbs is generally grainy, mealy and softer.  Everyone wants to catch a big fish, but the quality of the meat is not nearly as good as smaller fish.  Consider that.  I rarely keep a fish over 4lbs for eating as to me, it is a waste if it doesn’t eat as good as a smaller fish but I will smoke it.
 
© Content of this website is copyright protected 2003-2018 by Valerie Aubrey. Any reuse of the content must simply be authorized by asking.  Unauthorized use or lack of crediting content will be considered for legal action.  We often see our report summarized in other publications with no credit to where the info came from.  As a note, I do leave in some spelling, grammar and punctuation errors in and seeing them in other publications is a dead giveaway.  LoL! Opinions on this site are not necessarily the opinions of our sponsors or people we work with.  Our opinions are based on over 55 years of fishing Eagle Lake and nearly 30 years of living here full time and fishing several days a week till the end of December.  Through the El Nino’s of getting 24ft of snowfall and through several droughts.  We have been there and done that.  We know that a lot of the local county info on the lake elevation in the past has been doctored due in part to not having an official actually checking lake elevations in the 1990’s.  In 1993 200 residents of Spalding witnessed the lake rising nearly 8ft from the local snowfall of 24ft over that winter.  Despite our efforts when the lake chart was updated a few years later with incorrect numbers “to make the chart look historically accurate” not actually accurate, it remains inaccurate during those years as there was no water master.  Our explanation from BOS was “No one will know when you are all gone”.  So we don’t believe everything that Lassen County says nor other government agencies.  That is the honest to God truth and there are still many of us old timers around that know that.