Current Fishing Report

Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths


EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT

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 Val @ 530 249-1430 or Contact Me

FISHING SEASON CLOSES DECEMBER 31!

10-15-18
GAME ON!!
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and Eagle Lake Fishing Information and Network

  2018 ALL EAGLE LAKE, ALL THE TIME PHOTOS

 
 You can help by donating via PayPal link on eaglelakeguardians.org!  
EAGLE LAKE GUARDIANS ARE PROUD TO ANNOUNCE ADDING FRANKIE MUSE (EAGLE LAKE RV PARK) TO OUR NONPROFIT BOARD AND JOHN SIMLICK (ORGANIX).  WE HOPE TO UNITE THE EAGLE LAKE COMMUNITIES TO HELP OUR LAKE, FISH AND ECONOMY.  A BREATH OF FRESH AIR AND PERSPECTIVES WITH UNITY AND WE CAN GIVE OUR LAKE A VOICE!!
 
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.   FALL ALLOTMENT HAS BEEN BEING PLANTED THIS WEEK. Look to be around 10″ to 12″ long.  Better than 4-5″ long.  It’s going to take a lot more trout than than to bring this lake back, but all we can do is take what we get and keep the pressure on DFW to do the right thing.  Trout come and go with catching, tui chub stay.  The tui chub are well out of control right now and probably will for years to come. We have been lucky to see 20-25 boats on the water the last few seasons.  A far cry from the hundreds in years of higher water, better fishing and having 3 ramps functioning rather than 1.  That only one ramp is at USFS.  Coincidence?
 
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 5 months after a public meeting, draft submitted but not signed.  And, we are continuing to work on the rights the lake and trout have for water, pollution and grazing issues behind the scenes.  
 
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.  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 rather than letting the pelicans eat them as fast as they are put in.  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.  They seem to forget who they work for.  No data, no problem.  Well the users of the lake see the neglect, water quality and everything else. 
 
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.  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 several months after the meeting, a draft of the minutes was received, but most of which wasn’t exactly what was discussed at the meeting, nor in the order of the meeting.  Something that is hard to get right months later.  Typical. And a main reason to file complaints on government agencies and contracted groups.  This lake and our trout remain in dire need of people who care.  We dare to care and seek answers to questions long asked with nothing but rhetoric and false promises. 
  
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.  USFS recently posted an algae warning for potential hazards.  See photo of signage in the photo gallery Ramp Album.   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.  LoL.
 
Check out  our photos and video galleries!
 
 
 
General South Basin:  GAME ON!!  Surface temps mostly hovering around 54-55F on the east side during the day.  Water remains MOSTLY cloudy with particulate algae strewn throughout the water column in many places but I have found quite a few locations where it is cleaner.    Fishing has been very good for most everyone fishing…all 10-20 boats! LoL.  Shore fishing also picking up.  We are seeing a few more trout move up to the Youth Camp/Biology Station and a off Pelican Pt.  Long haul from the south ramp …. longer in big waves getting back. But there is great fishing closer. I’ve still been doing quite well out off the east side between Camp Ron McD to + or – of Eagle’s Nest in 15-70ft of water running 5ft deep.  Some days I just start trolling right from the ramp and head towards Aspen and up the east side.  If the fish aren’t in 15-30ft of water, they are out in 35-50ft of water. The west side from Christie to Shrimp and above is now holding pods of trout.  Mostly scattered among the second ledge, a few in close and later in the day out off the depths but still above 10ft for the most part.  The shallowest water I have caught fish in is 6ft, deepest I have trolled over 88ft.  We have also dropped lines deeper to 15-20ft successfully, but  99% for us are in the upper 12ft of the water column.  Still right on top for me.   Note: keep your hooks sharp.  If you are missing a lot of strikes, your hooks need sharpened.  Diamond grooved pen styles are best.  Files are bulky for smaller hooks.  We aren’t ocean fishing here…of course except for when winds reach 25-30mph it can feel that way.  LoL.
 
My Jay Fair topline has been on fire at 4-5ft deep, over deep water and shallow (available from www.trollingflies.com).  100’s released the last few weeks, and not just small fish.  Just because you might not see trout on your scope at 4 to 5 ft, doesn’t mean they aren’t there.  Cinnamon leech and rust trolling fly was the preferred topline fly for us, burnt orange, hot orange, olive and tui chub minnow.  As always, Eagle fishes pretty good for those daring the elements in fall and winter months. 
 
The trout still have various shrimp larva, fly emergers and are chasing minnows.  Mostly location dependent on what they are filling up on.  Kind of a smorgasbord out there. 
 
LURES: Metallic watermelon needlefish have done well for me this week.  Thomas Buoyant red/gold has still done well.  Red-dot frog speedy shiners seem to be my best on the east side.  Pretty much, a splatter of red be it a stripe or dots is still your best bet. Good old Sure Catch Red Dog getting attention too.  Fire Tiger patterns have been on and off but that will be in my line up too.    Small rapala’s have kicked in (for rapala’s gold and perch for me).  Size won’t matter now but I prefer smaller over larger.  Really hasn’t mattered what one is dragging, just the depth.  Grubs are also working in watermelon and root-beer for some friends.  Trolling night crawlers has also done some damageCasting small panther martin and mepps spinners as well as Cast Masters (gold/red) have also been catching fish.  Small crank baits working too.  Golds, fire tiger, rainbow.  Just keep it smaller over larger. 
 
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.  Rattle’s. Stop moving and they float up which keeps one from losing them to the tufa and basalt.  Mine are pretty beat up with teeth marks if that tells you anything.  Rainbow trout, red/gold, fire tiger, purple/gold, silver/black are my go to’s.
 
Grubs have also been historically good.  Some trout are starting to be caught on them.  Watermelon, orange, black, pumpkin seed, root-beer or brown have been our best colors.  Berkley minnows also start working good…smoke, grey, silver, shad and watermelon are our go to’s when working bait balls.  Some folks run long leaders behind dodgers but for the most part, shorter is better up here.  These fish can come up behind blades or dodgers so fast they 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, especially with our cloudy water.  If you’re going to try to attract a fish, be sure it doesn’t miss your offering.  ATTRACTANTS work.  Don’t hesitate to leave a scent trail this year.  Trophy trout has been my first choice, garlic (Eagle Lake standard), krill and tui chub (seasonal). 
I’ve still be doing most of the damage toplining trolling flies over deep water but I have run shallower water successfully too.  Yes, I still run a deeper rod later which helps find out where the fish might be active if not on top but it’s been a pretty solid bite on a topline.  I have been running anywhere along the east side from the Marina to Camp Ronald McDonald and up the east side above Eagle’s Nest.  Pikes still holding a few trout too but the recent trout planting of our fall allotment has inundated Pikes for now.  Chances are there will be a lot of small fish there until they disperse in the next couple weeks.  The west side still has scattered trout and cleaner water than it was. 
 
A few 5+ pounders a hand full of 4lbs+ so all in all, better fishing than it has been all season since the water has cooled down a little and dissolved oxygen increased to lively levels.  On average be happy with a 2 1/2 to 3 1/2lb trout.  That’s the best eating fish in this lake.  We’ll start seeing the water color turn more to a brownish hue, this is normal for fall. It’s also the time when yellow, orange, white or a smidge of UV begin to show up better than other colors.  We’ll start seeing the brown show up in a few days.

Its about the young of the year tui chub minnows for these trout, right now most are over 2 1/2″ long and in dense schools.  The pelicans are chasing them as well as the older minnows (stage 2) and the recently planted trout that haven’t moved out and down yet.  Quite often, once the minnows get wise to the trout, they can hover on the bottom in the depths where the 02 is too low for the trout to want to bother with them.  The shrimp will also continue to produce prolifically until we start seeing water temps in the 50’s, it will slow down but not stop.  So there is plenty of different foods for the trout to choose from right now.

I have caught trout on multiple offerings but I do keep the tried and true in the water.  The bite comes on and shuts off.  Chances are that when they come back on again, they will hit the same things they did on the last bite.  I will vary lures and flies on one rod but I can guarantee you that I always have what worked earlier in the water.  

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.  But it is picking up and has been catching fish. 

SLIP BOBBERS: The fish haven’t been really active on bobber fishing the last few years, but it’s good to see it picking up.  If you have tried everything else & choose to try it I think I would stagger depths between 5-6ft, 11-13ft and up to 15-18ft deep later in the day.  It is not unusual to have these trout move into shallower water and feed off the bottom (and they flip over rocks so they are rarely looking up when doing that.  A sore lower lip is an indication that they are foraging on the bottom) or even out over the depths at 5ft deep.  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/early fall and red seems to be the color of lures working the last few years so that’s not a bad idea to have that on hand 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:  Shore fishing has been doing well.  The east side ledge that begins north of Camp Ron McD to Eagle’s Nest has provided some pretty good action this week.  The Youth Camp is producing some nice fish and the road in is in good shape from Merrillville (139).  The Youth Camp does well until the water temps drop into the mid 40’s, then we’ll see a few stragglers but the majority of the trout will move south to “warmer” water.  Once they don’t have a choice, it’s game on just about anywhere.  We now have a lot of minnows in close off the ledges and some trout are starting to chase so if you are shore fishing, watch the water, watch the minnows, count the birds diving.  Get a bead on whether it’s birds chasing the bait or fish.  Quite often these trout will come right to shore and chase the bait briefly but they also avoid the pelicans who can snatch up a 5 pound fish an swallow it whole.  DFW planting fish the last couple weeks so lots of smaller trout off the jetty and Pikes point right now.  These will eventually disperse.  Christie Day Use (open) point drops sharply to 24ft at the end of the rock pile and there is some trout there now and a couple have been caught from shore.  Lots of cow poop down there at this time.   There is a small spring off the Circus Grounds that can hold some fish, 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) has a great ledge that runs for a long way, Eagle’s Nest, Circus Grounds, Christie Day Use (drops to 24ft deep sharply off the end of the rocky point.  Regardless of where you go, it’s going to be a walk to get there. Lassen County Youth Camp, best access is through Merrillville road off 139. Gallatin Road is in terrible shape past Camp Ronald McD and takes hours to get to the Youth Camp that direction.  From our house in Spalding, it’s quicker to take 139 to Merrillville Road than it is to go on Gallatin Road.   The Osprey Management Area road is also an access Wildcat Pt on the west side of the lake or to Pelican Pt.  No vehicles allowed in to the lake beyond the border road for shore fishing at any time, only walking access from the road.  Logging operations are going on to protect the Eagle nesting/mating which begins Jan/Feb so it’s critical to get some work done ASAP after the Whaleback Fire destroyed some nests and habitat.  We’ll leave the loggers to do their job.  We have plenty of fish elsewhere and understand how critical it is for them to work without us getting in the way.

Fly Fishing/Kayak/Float Tubing:   Time’s up.  GAME ON!!  Minnow imitations, most nymphs and brown leech patterns, orange (burnt and bright) wooly buggers.  Still need to be able to acquire some depth later in the morning to bounce things off the rock piles and gravel bars.  The shallowest water I have found a trout has been 6ft but in general, they are rouge and once you wear out one site, move on to the next.   We have a lot of different aquatic critters so fly hatches don’t become too critical in fall but they remain as nymphs through winter and these fish know it.  Any small nymph, beetle, leech, scud, shrimp, minnow or snail pattern can work.  We have had years that the fish have stayed further out from shore and in 10ft of water rather than coming in close to shore for any length of time.  So far, this season looks like it will produce for those wading. We are seeing visits by trout into the rock piles. My best advise for wading fly fishermen is to fish the shallow shoreline water before you walk in it.  I walk in 30-40ft above the water line, ring out a couple double hauls and drop that fly 5ft from the shoreline.  That’s where I have caught my largest trout in the mornings.  If you don’t believe me, prove me wrong.  You won’t be sorry if I win.   If you walk along the shore close to the water, you’re moving this fish out before you get there.  Not uncommon for the trout to come in behind you once you’ve waded out.  Never discount the 6-12″ deep water here.

Kayaks:  Friends have been doing very well trolling and casting from their kayaks and come Nov I will be kayaking or tubing till the end of the season by choice.  I wouldn’t bother using my leadcore right now.  I can reach the depth of the fish with a lure on my mono or braided line as well as my fly line.  Note that 1/6oz lure drops about 5 ft, 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.  I have never had to go deep the last two months of the season.  Adjust accordingly for the depths you are seeking.  But that’s a good starting place.  Right now, running a line in the upper 6ft of the water column has produced a lot of fish.  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.   Launching kayaks is limited access.  You’re going to have to have wheels and walk.  For those inquiring about Gallatin Beach access this fall for access to great fishing, and safer water when the wind comes up, the answer is no, use Aspen or Eagle’s Nest for the east side.  Note that Aspen is tough dragging wheels over the tall grass, clumps and scattered rocks.  Firmer bottom is near the rock pile to the east.  Plan on soft mud straight down and to the west.  Kayaks can also use the low water ramp.  Just pull over at the turn out so boats can still launch.  For the most part, a kayak takes a lot longer to prepare to go fishing than it does for someone to launch a boat, park the car and take off.  So don’t hold up the boat traffic.

My favorite fly line from a tube or kayak is a medium sink tip for fall/winter.  I can cast it into shallow water as well as let it sink once the fish drop down a bit.  I don’t have to keep changing out lines/reels.  One works great for all. 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. A full sink also sinks faster.  I like a slow drift down.  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.  Either will work and it isn’t unusual to have to get down over a ledge on a clear, calm winter day.  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.  This 2018 season has been pretty extreme for chubs.   Yes, we have caught them in fall and winter months but mostly they are deeper than the trout & we don’t have to get that depth to get to the trout.  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.  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 and 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.  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.  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 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.  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 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.  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 small mouths.

TUI CHUB INSIGHTS:   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 in early summer, 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 am seeing another prolific hatch of chubs.  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 or other birds 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 compared to historic numbers.  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 or juvenile population. (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.  This is what the trout target.  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/September) 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 and fall.  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 we see that.  This year, the pelicans are following us.
 
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 and above 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 even when charging the boat.  Big difference on the rod.  We also have Tahoe suckers (grayish with darker back, small nodes on the lower fins).  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.  Lahontan Red-sided Shiners (which appear as a sucker), Seasonally spawn and yes the trout take them too. 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 remain 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.