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!

6-22-18

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!

 PRESEASON EAGLE LAKE PODCAST ON THE BARBLESS PODCAST

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.  It was done as water temperatures were rising to unfavorable levels.  Pine Creek stopped flowing on May 7th and dribbled for two weeks before that.  Trout are trapped in pools, other succumbed to running out of water in a matter of hours under the Spalding bridge and in the rocks below the trap.  Eagle’s made short work of those.
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. FISH HABITAT? LoL.
 
NOTICE
Updated 2012 to 2018 fin trimming  Water quality testing was requested but DFW Paul Divine sent the current testing as 8-2017.  We are screwed folks.  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.  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.  No data, no problem.
 
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, you see the cloudy water from what was historically crystal clear.  I will be posting an update as soon as I get more.  But a partial update is that nothing has been done at all for Pine Creek.  I’ll post ALL updates even if they conflict with each other.  No funding has been secured or if applied for…denied.  Still being considered to be applied for and so far it is all talk and no action.  I guess guardians were the only ones that actually donated some funds initially. But we’re saving some funds for a purpose.  What, now 3 years into the plan (after 31 years of CRMP) & still not much has been done that actually helps restore a native spawn of Eagle Lake rainbow trout and zip for the lake.  So glad to have had this lake at her best, as she is surely suffering now. Looks like Eagle Lake Guardians are the only ones who have donated funding to the restoration.
 
 
June 22, 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.  Can record trip too.

What a joke.  0.17 catch rate. 
Wondering why your fish don’t have fins or have split tails? 
 
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General South Basin:  Mostly hovering around 65-66F on average early in the morning, depending on location.  But we will start seeing higher early morning surface temps this coming weekend and next week.  A slight thermolcline is showing up around 20 to 25ft deep of 5F.  Last season I had fish at 25 to 27ft deep for 10 to 12 days before they came up to 17-22ft.  We did hit 69F surface temp at noon on 6-22 so we’ll start seeing some changes soon.  (See lake conditions page for temps through the water column to 45ft on 6-22, taking in the same location as on 6-1 & 6-12).  Water is cloudy and the same deal up north, it’s cloudy everywhere.   The blue green algae are more than likely the culprit as it has been for the last few years.  The underwater videos show the visibility and no changes.  In general, we have about 3ft visibility from the camera lens to around 8ft but once dropping to 20-35ft deep it gets dark very quickly.  The upper 5ft of the water column is clearer right now (of course the winds could disturb that).

Most folks continue to work hard and long hours.  So it’s been pretty slow out there for the average angler all week but we’re transitioning now so that should help school fish up over the depths and we’ll begin to see more steady depths for catching.  I had spent some time on the west side but couldn’t break 2lbs so I switched things up and headed to the east side yesterday.  We were catching nice trout 2 to 3+lbs at 17 to 21ft deep (for leadcore at my speed and lures was 4 colors of 18lb in the water).  Lures that have been catching have varied from day to day.  I also got some activity on olive leeches, orange and yellow (depending on the cloud cover) (Jay Fair’s) on my topline at 4 to 5 ft deep. Since I ran it in a rod holder I did add an action disc to it to add a little (but not a lot) of wiggle to it. The higher up the line the disc is, the more movement is created.  Also more lateral travel so be careful running multiple lines.  The newer slotted discs don’t travel as far sideways.

I’ve been working off Eagle’s Nest as well as out in front of the marina towards Camp Ron McD.  Lures continue to vary but the good old Sure Catch double jointed Red Dog was the lure of the day today at 15-20ft deep.  I would run it again.  My buddies were out trolling the depths and found their fish deeper at 22-24ft.  With the heat coming on strong this week, I don’t think it will be long before we start seeing more trout deeper.  The east side seems to be holding more and somewhat larger trout than the west side but mixed in and around a ton of chubs. Right now they are still very scattered but appear to be on the move and once we see 70F surface temps for several days, we’ll see some schooling up and possibly a shift in sides of the lake.  LoL. I’ll start checking the west side again in a couple days.   We’ll also start seeing more tui chubs caught (although we are already catching a few, we’ll be catching a lot starting soon and running through the heat of the summer).  I don’t really think the trout can see very far in the deeper water which is why we continue to do better on lures that are orange, have orange on them or a spot of red.  Once the lake stratified last year, the red/gold Thomas Buoyant lure really worked great for me.  I have caught a few fish on it this season, but it hasn’t been real consistent just yet.  It really kicked in once the surface temps were above 70F.

LURES: Lures have been varied. Nothing real consistent yet. I think it has been a matter of just getting something close enough for them to see. LoL.  #2 Gold needlefish, Large Sure Catch double jointed Red Dog or single (medium), Zebra and Goldie Locks,  1/4 oz Red/Gold Thomas Buoyant and Acme Thunderbolt (perch pattern, similar to a T. Buoyant).  Red-dot Frog needlefish has been on and off again. Perch Phoebe has gotten attention sporadically.  White with red dots have also gotten a smidge of attention and a fire tiger needlefish has been sporadic.  For Trolling Flies, I have been getting attention on hot orange, olive & brown trolling flies (top water).  I wouldn’t hesitate to add the red-prism #2 needlefish to the daily arsenal either. It has caught me a lot of fish in the past on this lake when orange is the color of the day or week.   All in all, it continues to be tough fishing for the average fisherman as well as some long time anglers but it is gradually picking up a little and some limits are starting to come in this week.  But, just because a few of us are catching, doesn’t mean that everyone is catching.  I can only tell you what my buddies and I are doing to catch em, it’s up to you to apply that.  When everyone is catching, then the “slow” goes away.  With a 5F temperature drop between 20-25ft, that could be a good target range after sunrise, but before sunrise we have done pretty well at 12-18ft deep.  I suspect we’ll see some tui chub minnows out over the depths before too long, when that happens, the trout will be more actively feeding.  Right now they are filter feeding on shrimp larva (resembles applesauce in their bellies). It is suspended in the water column and dense enough to foul your lines.  So check your lines periodically, it is really bad on swivels.  We appear to be about a month ahead of normal for many things. There are very few grebes out on the water right now and even a few babies but the grebe numbers are very low in most places we would normally see hundreds.  We hope they are nesting and that we’ll see more.  Pelicans are also very scattered and in pairs to three unless roosting on some rock pile.    Once we see a big hatch of chubs, I’m hoping the grebe numbers increase & the pelicans help guide us to them over the depths.  At this point, the birds are following the boats.  LoL.

TROLLING NOTES: Spent some time checking out the middle of the lake and from Eagles Nest to Miners Pt.  We do have some fish off Miners but again, very cloudy water.  Half-hearted strikes and the fish are moving around a lot.  The Springs ledge had a handful of what looked like trout on the scope, single pings but out over the depths it looked like tui chub stacked up from 7 to 50ft.  But most of the nicer fish I have caught have been off of Eagle’s Nest and Black Mt and back down towards The Springs off the big boulder or out in 39 45ft of water off the Jetty and marina working towards Aspen Camp and back.  The fish were directional for me today.  Mostly trolling north to south or west to east.

The fish I have been cleaning (from the east side) this week continue to have shrimp and scuds larva.  The fly hatch is very minimal but we are seeing a few trout rise to it here and there.  We have a few tui-chub minnows close to shore but not enough yet for full dispersal and I haven’t seen a minnow in the belly of a trout just yet. But it will come.

We see a lot of artifact on our scopes on this lake, turn your sensitivity setting down to clear things up, you’ll have a better picture of the real world down below.  The conductivity is much higher than in the past so it can affect the readings and provide some false readings over other waters you may fish.  

Tui chubs appear to be holding 7 to 50ft deep Tuesday and stacked up in large numbers of scattered schools off Eagle’s Nest and out in the middle of the lake, a few off Shrimp and out from Merrill. once the sun has been on the water the top of the school has been around 12 ft and the bottom remains around 50ft + or -.  Often they just form a line in the comfort zone which changes seasonally as well as when they begin a major spawn, this is more typical off Lake of the Woods and the west side out from the last ledge. 

Top lures have always been needlefish, rapala’s, buoyants and Sure Catch (don’t throw your old ones away, repaint them).    We do have an active frog and toad population right now and it will get more prolific so the red-dot frog should be in your line up and the smaller #1 is getting a little attention.  Rapala’s also come in various colors, I think I would put on orange first, perch second, mustard might be my next choice and to stay on the small side.  Rapala’s generally work better later in summer but they have been an all around standard “good to try” for decades and should be in the daily line up for things to try. 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.

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.  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.  If you’re throwing the tackle box at them, these should be in your arsenal.

Northern area around Pelican Pt and the Youth Camp fished well on opening day but it’s been struggling all week.  Up a bit one day and down the next.  Looks like tui chub are beginning to move north to spawn too.  The water is heating up, and often even if the water remains cooler, the summer solstice works its magic & they move anyway.    Hot (florescent) orange was probably the best color although olive and brown leeches saw some action as well but the tui chub minnow pattern will start kicking in as soon as the minnows hit the food court for the trout.  The grebes I have been watching out over the depths have been hanging around the stage 2 “nursery” tui chubs. Grebes haven’t been in large numbers or groups so far this year, mainly scattered in small groups.  Could be that some are nesting up north in the tules.  The pelicans are also in small groups and the numbers are way down.  Lots of 1-3’s out hunting.   No larger groups of pelicans are about out on the water just yet.  Yes, I do look for the pelicans actively looking for food.

I’ll also have and probably use some attractant just to leave a scent trail or even try a rattle trap to make some noise.  Trophy Trout by ProCure has been very good.  Other scents such as garlic has been a standard.  Shrimp and some others have been fairly good too.  Regardless, we are g oing to basically throw the tackle box at them and simply put it right in their face and find the color of the day before they settle into a routine.

Trolling speed?  We’re just going to have to change things up and find it. I was running 2-2.3 mph for the limits today.  For the flies, 2.2 to 2.5 has been my trigger speed and depending on winds. Buoyants work best for me between 1.2 and 1.9mph but can also run faster but after about 2.5mph they can spin….to protect your line chain swivels can help. The deadliest speed for a Thomas Buoyant for me (either size) has been between 1.2 and 1.9mph, watch your rod tip bounce for the sweet spot.  Perfect in my kayak too.  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.  In general, these fish will typically face away from the sun and towards the wind.  If you get stuck in wind that is pushing you faster than you want to go, try reverse & see what happens.  I troll forward in reverse all the time when trolling with the wind.  I feel my chances are better at catching if my lures or flies are coming at the fish rather than coming up from behind the fish.  This tactic has proved itself time after time.

Bait Fishing from Boats: 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.  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.  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 but often more work than a bait fishermen wants to do. 

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 18 and 24ft deep right now.  As the heat stays with us we could see fish drop to 27ft, but I have a good idea they won’t stay there long (similar to the last two years) and will come up if and when the weak thermolcline dissolves.  Sometimes those resting trout at 22 to 24ft will take a crawler over chasing a lure. They can often be on a shallower gravel bars, even in the heat of summer or even in 20 to 35ft of water foraging close to the bottom. Sometimes half a nightcrawler does better than the whole worm. 

PowerBait has become a standard for dough baits.  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 early in the season.  Purple caught some last summer too.

Shore Fishing: As the water temps warm up, shore fishing pretty much ends (of course it never really was good so far this year).  You’ll need to be able to access deeper water from shore. There are a couple of places that one can find deeper water than most of the rest of the shoreline.  The ledge at 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.  Christie Day Use point drops to 24ft at the end of the rock pile.  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.  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 ok but has several nasty spots.  North side road is better but this area is shallow and generally picks up in fall from shore.  Lassen County Youth Camp, best access is through Merrillville road off 139. Gallatin Road is in terrible shape past Camp Ronald McD.  Still a handful of trout up off the Biology Station and Youth Camp ledges but the northern group of tui chub seem to be moving up to spawn, by fall we’ll see more trout move up.  But it’s a great location early and late in the season. The trout are moving now.  The shore fishing hasn’t been good so far this season, so lets hope for a better fall.  I wouldn’t bother trying to shore fish any further north than the YC at this time as the water temps have been around 73F+.   Note that it is not legal to drive or walk through the Osprey Management Area to access the west side of the lake or Pelican Pt for shore fishing.  These are only accessible by boating in or walking the shoreline, not through the area.  Walking access is not open until after Sept 15th. Closed to vehicles year round.

Fly Fishing/Kayak/Float Tubing:   Time to get lines a bit deeper or hit the morning hatch.  Dragging leadcore from a kayak is like dragging an anchor but we do it anyway.  It is a lot less weight than using a mini downrigger. 

I have seen a few trout rolling on the surface.  Not in big numbers, just one here and there, but they have been there, just not like it was in the past for catching.  Mostly on the chironomidae (midge) hatch in the morning and caddis later after sunrise.  We had a good hatch in early May but much lighter now.  Generally, #14, #16 or #18 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.  Run these under indicators/bobbers. If in shallow water, get it down about 1 to 2 ft from the bottom. The caddis really hasn’t quite kicked in to masses hatching, but we are seeing a few hatch after sunrise and some trout taking the opportunity here and there.  So far, fly fishing off the rock piles hasn’t really produced a lot of fish.  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.  With water warming up, most of the eager biters are deeper now.

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.  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.  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.  Right now, the birds say it isn’t much, but it generally starts showing up in mid July.

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. 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 32years.  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.

TUI CHUB INSIGHTS:  Typically, plankton feeders.  No teeth. Don’t rise to a hatch. 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 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.  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, 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 have no idea if the ones I am catching survive my release.  I see this becoming a very bad problem for this lake now.  People don’t come here to catch trophy tui chubs.
 
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 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.  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.