Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
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Trolling: The recent full moon allowed for an early bite this week & working thereafter. Now as the moon wanes, the bite will last longer & get stronger. Fishing has been pretty good for a lot of folks. Clarity of the water is the best I’ve seen in years and was a pretty fast change from a few weeks before. All sorts of lures are working for us in orange, red/gold, watermelon, frog, gold and copper. Surface temps in general remain in the low 70’s to 25ft, however I haven’t caught any trout deeper than 22ft. That doesn’t mean they won’t drop down there for a few minutes but ALL my action has been between 12 and 18ft deep over water 30-43ft. For leadcore line I’m running 2 3/4 to 3 colors at the reel early, gradually dropping to 4.5 colors later. This has varied a little through the moon phase. But consistent numbers and nice fish are coming to us between 3 and 4.5 colors in the water. 4 colors to the rod tip was the lucky distance/depth. LoL. So just because the water might be a little cooler at 30ft, doesn’t mean there’s enough dissolved oxygen to sustain a trout long for a little cooling off. We are picking up a chub or 4 here and there when we run into them. Mostly, for me, the chubs have been out over 46ft plus of water and every depth and especially in the lower dissolved oxygen zones below 30ft…but if you’re catching lots chubs, move, change the depth of water and fish in the trout zone.
I have been making a pass or two the last couple of trips out off Pikes Pt starting out from the ramp and heading west 35 to 41ft of water, 12 to 14ft deep early and I have picked up a half dozen trout this week….smallest being 2.5lb, biggest at 3.8lb. I also caught 3 chubs…won’t be long before more trout show up there. Not a lot of trout yet but worthy of targeting. Mostly I have been working the west side from AssDragger to Shrimp along Lake of the Woods. It hasn’t let me down yet. For the last 3 trips out, every trout has had tui chub minnows or nothing in their bellies. So the minnows are hitting the food court right on time. On the east side, there seems to be more chub at the moment….but there’s still scattered pods of trout. The larger numbers of trout have been on the west side all season….they can or switch sides overnight.
Lure’s working for us and our network: Red/Gold Thomas Buoyant 1/4oz has been my best lure for the last 6 years. Copper and gold 1/6th oz Thomas Buoyant, any frog pattern. Red-magic fishscale, metallic watermelon, Red dot frog #1 and #2 needle fish have also produced. Cop-Car and perch needlefish are also getting looked at. Even a few on hot pick Dick Nite’s. Ticket has been small lures under 2”. Don’t hesitate to run a Baby Simon red, pink, white or combination there of. I’ll be running a small rapala’s next trip out. We’ve had quite a few one hit wonders so nothing is off limits if you’re not catching. It’s been mostly about being at the right depth than what lure you’re dragging.
Bait Fishing under Bobbers: If that’s what you do, stagger depths 11-16ft to 22/24ft deep. Free lining a night crawler can be deadly any time of the year. We do have a minor thermocline between 25 and 30ft now but I would concentrate on levels where trollers are catching and that’s been between 12 and 22ft.. Again, target solo fish on your scope, tui chub school differently than trout and generally the bottom of the schools of chubs are at 47ft….Not going to be a trout down that deep due to oxygen at this time.
Fly Fishing: Scattered pods and rouges. Not really coming in close right now, but laying in wait for the minnows to venture out from the marsh grass and tules. Need some depth, need to access deeper water. Very little rising action but there has been some. I’m feeling an early fall coming on though.
Shore fishing: Shore fishing has been slow. As water temperatures begin to rise, foraging in close and shallow will slow down until early fall. A lot depends on where the young of the year tui chub minnows are at any given time, these trout have been known to come out of their comfort zone to feed, and stay in the best dissolved oxygen zone no matter what the water temps are. When they do, the minnows will boil.
Shore fishing Accesses: The Jetty, Pikes Pt, The Circus Grounds, Christie Day Use, Eagle’s Nest, The Springs, The Youth Camp/Biology Station.
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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.