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!
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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.
SEE 2013 THRU 2016 CREEL DATA HERE. WHEN DFW CHECKS YOUR FISH WEIGHT AND LENGTH AND ASKS QUESTIONS OF HOW LONG YOU FISHED.
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.
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.