Current Fishing Report
Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
Copyright Protected and Registered by Valerie Aubrey.
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Val @ 530 249-1430 or Contact Me
FISHING SEASON CLOSES DECEMBER 31!
Marina and Merrill to Aspen Campgrounds are open. Come and get it, fish are still biting, just moved around a little!!
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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!
We will keep “motivating” those who signed off on this plan to insure it actually gets accomplished. But it isn’t moving very fast, grazing continues to be an issue. Numbers of cattle grazing has not changed however the lake elevation hasn’t been as high as it should be to remain healthy and to be able to digest the heavy nutrients. Thus, in my opinion, you see the cloudy water from what was historically crystal clear. So glad to have had this lake at her best, as she is surely suffering now. Cows again off Spalding. USFS doesn’t appear to give a hoot about the devastation of the lake shore. Looks like Eagle Lake Guardians are the only ones who have donated funding to the restoration. LoL.
A TIP FOR ANGLERS WITHOUT GPS MAPS ON THEIR DEPTH FINDERS. YOU CAN DOWNLOAD A NAVONICS BOATING APP ON YOUR PHONE THAT HAS THREE DIFFERENT MAP VIEWS AND SHOWS YOUR LOCATION. ONE VIEW IS 5FT INTERVALS OF CONTOURS OF THIS LAKE AND OTHERS. THERE IS A TWO WEEK FREE TRIAL PERIOD TOO. IT DOESN’T NEED CELL SIGNAL TO WORK AND IT ISN’T REAL HARD ON YOUR BATTERY (CLOSE OUT ALL OTHER BACKGROUND APPS THOUGH). I USE IT IN MY KAYAK AND ON OTHER MORE POPULAR LAKES I FISH IN MY YAK. FOR $9.99 A YEAR SUBSCRIPTION IT IS WELL WORTH IT IF YOU DON’T HAVE THE HIGH TECH STUFF ON BOARD, IT’S AN EXCELLENT REFERENCE FOR THE DEPTHS AND LEDGES. 15 DAY TRIAL PERIOD. BE SURE YOU GET NAVONICS AND NOT THE OTHER APPS. THERE ARE SOME DISCREPANCIES HERE AND THERE BUT A VERY GOOD APP. Great map of Antelope and Almanor too. Can record trip too. Excellent when foggy on the water too. Also shows speed.
General South Basin: Surface temps mostly hovering around 70-71.8F this morning on the east side, the west side starting out around 69F to 70F by late morning. Some cooler spots. That 70F water still runs to 20ft at 25 it cooled off to only 69F. Some 64F to 66F out over the springs or in the spring gyre. Still 71F up off the south side of Pelican. Water remains cloudy, some scattered weeds and surface algae. The blue green algae are more than likely the culprit as it has been for the last few years. The dissolved 02 is significantly low for trout below 20ft and very little change in water temps. This will probably keep the trout above to slightly below that level no matter what the water temps do. I have been catching basically between 13 and 15ft deep early off Pikes and the west side and dropping to 18 to 22ft deep. On the east side of the lake they have been pretty consistent at 18 to 25ft deep, depending on the location and time of day. As with the last few years, water temps won’t matter so much to the trout, it will be all about the dissolved 02. We are just starting to see a slight bit of fall in the air and the peak surface temps have cooled off just a bit. This doesn’t mean it won’t heat back up again, we always see a slight spike before early fall starts taking the lead. My best bites have been using a pearl body minnow imitation, red/gold Thomas Buoyant 1/4oz and 1/6oz red dot frog speedy shiner. On average the depths of water I worked were between 24 and 50ft. 40-42 was probably the best depth of water for me. We have limited out every day. Some days working a little longer than others.
There were still a few trout off the Jetty and marina working towards Aspen Camp & Camp Ron McD or to Pikes Pt and around the corner to Merrill Camp. They were scattered today, but still eager to bite. My largest fish have come from this area. But the east side is holding some healthy 2 to 3 lbers as is the west side ledges and Christie Bay. These fish seem to move around. It really hasn’t mattered where we start, we are still covering some territory for boat limits. No matter what or where, we are all wading through the massive tui chub population to find the trout.
If my bite goes off on one side, I’ll switch sides no matter where I start. One thing is, when the bite comes back on, generally it will be on the same lures that were working before. Lures that have been catching have varied from day to day but my starting point has been the red-dot frog, red/gold Thomas Buoyant and tui chub trolling flies. Now that the trout are chasing minnows, it’s a no brainer to use an imitation. The tui chub trolling fly (pearl body) has caught my buddies and I limits. Cinnamon and rust leech trolling flies would be my next fly in the water. For lures, small rapala’s and Xtraps such as black or green and silver will do the job, just not too big of one just yet. The smaller the better & under 2″. Schools of tui chub minnows are scattered but if you find the cloud, you’ll find a trout. Watch for boiling on the surface and clouds on your depth finder. I have been running a small action disc in front of the flies but sometimes I think too much or too erratic movement isn’t good. The larger disc hasn’t been as active for catching for me as using the smaller disc. Perhaps too much wiggle. Off Pike’s Pt, rainbow needlefish, frog and green patterns have worked, but the tui chub trolling fly has been irresistible for us. If the trout are rolling on the surface I have pulled a line up to 4 to 5 ft deep and have caught several. No rolling go deeper.
The tui chub are hitting anything and at all depths, but if they can see something, so can a trout. Anything below 25ft is most likely going to result in tui chub & lots of them, at least it has for me. Although, a couple of trout have been caught at 22 and 30ft deep over The Springs where fresh water is coming in and mostly only late morning or afternoon.
Bait balls are just about everywhere right now. Find the bait, you’ll find some trout. So the minnows have hit the food court everywhere. We are working many areas of the lake right now so when your bite goes off in one place switch or troll across the middle to Shrimp or out from Pikes Pt. Generally, when the bite goes off, it’s off everywhere, when it turns on again, it turns on everywhere. The trout we have caught on the west side are still mostly full of shrimp larva & fly emerger’s but the minnows are now being seen in their bellies. For the most part, the trout I caught today still had a variety of food in their bellies. West side more shrimp larva, east side and Pikes, more minnows….tiny minnows.
I don’t really think the trout can see very far in the water column. I didn’t have time to drop the camera down this morning, but the water doesn’t seem much cloudier than before the fire. The biggest change I noticed was that there was an increase in surface algae mixed with weeds, mostly out in the middle of the south basin. You’ll find something else working. I have caught trout on multiple offerings but I do keep the tried and true in the water. I feel that since the clarity is so bad that if I’m trolling fast the lure that might have gotten a look is out of sight before the fish can react. Vary your speed, make turns to allow your lines to cover an area of the water column. Today’s trigger speed was 2.2-2.6mph for me, 1.3 to 1.6 mph for my buddy.
LURES: Lures have been varied, the fire didn’t really change that much. Red/Gold Thomas Buoyant 1/4oz has been my best lure and speedy shiner red dot frog patterns along with tui chub minnow trolling flies. Sure Catch double jointed Red Dog, or single still in my line up and seems to work better on the west side for me and it’s time to start running the Shad patterns. Various metallic perch patterns got attention which have worked better under cloudy or windy conditions and are generally a color (similar to spicy mustard). These will really start kicking in hard in a couple weeks. Rainbow and pearl bikini needlefish have also gotten attention. Baby Simons in orange, orange nickel and other variations with orange and chartreuse also worked okay before the fire and smoky skies. Green/chartreuse lures were also picking of fish before the fire. For Trolling Flies. The tui chub minnow has ruled, but rust, cinnamon and orange are my next in line flies. Small rapala’s will also be a good bet but note that it is critical for the next few weeks to stay small. Probably about another week, it won’t matter on size. All in all the catching is still doing well, in spite of the recent fire. The chase is on for the bait balls and late summer is gently showing meager signs that fall is just around the corner. We’ll be seeing more signs of fall soon where some trout remain over the depths and others begin to move. That movement is just starting to show up albeit, small numbers, but that is just the beginning.
Note on Rapala’s: Broken backs are floaters but you can get them down a little way with a down rigger or leadcore, just know that they float up from where your line is regardless of a 3ft deep diving bill, it’s the material they are made from that floats up on you. Berkley Flicker Shad has become one of my go to cranks for trolling or casting. A) it is true to its depth. Very nice finish, 1 1/2″ will hang up in 7-8ft of water, 2″ will hang up in 10.5 and 3″ will hang up at 14ft. LoL. Great for getting some depth in a kayak or using nothing but mono or braid. I make adjustments when using them with leadcore.
Trolling nightcrawlers has also been a good method although the last couple of years it hadn’t really produced big numbers of fish like in the past. It’s still a good back up if nothing else is working for you. Trolled behind a blade, harness or dodger. Grubs have also been historically good. Watermelon, orange, black, root-beer or brown have been our best colors, smoke will come into play. Berkley minnows also start working good…smoke, grey, silver, shad and watermelon are our go to’s. Some folks run long leaders behind dodgers but for the most part, shorter is better up here. These fish can come up behind blades fast and literally miss your offering and strike the blades. That’s why we use shorter leaders up here. The shorter leader will also keep your offering within sight of your dodger. If you’re going to try to attract a fish, be sure it doesn’t miss your offering in the cloudy water. If you’re throwing the tackle box at them, these should be in your “tried and true” arsenal. ATTRACTANTS work. Don’t hesitate to leave a scent trail this year. Trophy trout has been my first choice, garlic, krill and tui chub.
Trolling speed? My best trigger speed today was the same two weeks ago, 2-2-6mph. With Sure Catch and Needlefish I generally like 2.8mph, but with the cloudy water I slowed things down so the trout have an opportunity to see what I am dragging and react before it’s out of sight. I slightly enhance the bend in the needlefish and speedy shiners which gives it good action at slower speeds. Just don’t tweak it too much, just a little or it can spin. Buoyants work best for me between 1.2 and 1.9mph but can also run faster but after about 2.5mph they can spin too….in order to protect your, line chain swivels can help. Watch your rod tip bounce for the sweet spot (the bigger the bounce the better, my rods are dancing in the rod holders so hard that the pelicans think there’s a fish on it. LoL). After the bite goes off, I randomly change my trolling speed. I rarely troll in a straight line and I always go in different directions and make turns.
Bait Fishing from Boats: As with the last few years, the bait fishing hasn’t been red hot for a lot of folks, at least not like it used to be. If fishing bait is your bag I would advise free-lining nightcrawlers if you plan on fishing over deeper water. Free lining is basically not using any weight and leave your bail open. That can cover the depths of the trout & a nice current will keep it up in the water column. No, you can’t cast it a great distance but it drifts down naturally and drifts with the lake currents and that can be irresistible and look totally natural. Don’t wait longer than 5 minutes drift down right now. If the water is flat, I prefer to let the boat drift and leave my bail open. When a fish picks it up, it will be very obvious. When retrieving to relocate, retrieve it slowly, be the bait…be the leech slowly swimming, stopping and going again. If the trout thinks it has injured something, generally he goes back and eats it. We let the fish start peeling line off the reel before setting the hook after that it’s Game On. This method takes more concentration and action for the angler than bobber fishing but it can also be a lot of fun as well as productive. A drift of a free-line has to be tended like casting and retrieving a lure as it doesn’t take long before it sinks to the bottom & you get hung up in water less than 25ft deep. It is a successful method and covers the water column you are targeting, but often more work than some bait fishermen want to do. If in water deeper than 25ft, it works better. If in water shallower than 25ft use a slip bobber. We are fishing higher in the water column to get the trout which is not what a lot of long time anglers here are prepared to do. Regardless, I wouldn’t go any deeper than 25ft deep and we have caught more trout around 15-22ft deep than at other depths the last few days. Shallowest water I have caught a trout in was 20ft and it was over 4lbs.
SLIP BOBBERS: The fish haven’t been really active on bobber fishing the last few years, but if you have tried everything else & choose to try it I think I would stagger depths between 11-15ft and 20-24ft deep later in the day. It is not unusual to have these trout move into shallower water and feed off the bottom or even out over the depths at 5ft deep but generally they are taking very small flies or nymphs and don’t even look at anything else. With the water temps and dissolved oxygen levels right now, it won’t matter so much for them to stay over the deepest water as it won’t be any cooler and the 02 won’t be any better deeper. Sometimes those resting trout at 22 to 24ft will take a crawler over chasing a lure. Sometimes half a nightcrawler does better than the whole worm or a mini crawler.
PowerBait has become a standard for dough baits for shore and boat baiting. Colors can vary. I generally have a “rainbow” on hand that covers several different colors in one jar. You’ll find one color works better than another but finding the color of the day can take a little time. Generally speaking, orange, pink, beige, chartreuse, pale yellow, are the most commonly taken. Garlic flavoring has been a good go to. Purple caught some last summer too. Don’t ask how many colors I have in my shore fishing box. I need a wagon to haul em all! LoL! Good old fashion small marshmallows can also do some damage. That’s what we used before floating dough baits came out and it worked…often when nothing else did. Trout love sugar.
Shore Fishing: You’ll need to be able to access deeper water from shore and it isn’t easy and it hasn’t been real successful yet. We now have more minnows in close off the ledges which may get some trout foraging pretty soon. But the juvenile and adult chubs also form a protective shield around the young of the year. The Springs is still close to shore…long walk but good water. The small rocky point bordering Pikes Cove (southeastern part of Pikes Pt) has easy reach to 24 to 26ft of water over weed beds on its northerly edge. These would be my place of choice right now if that is what you have to do. Christie Day Use (open) point drops sharply to 24ft at the end of the rock pile. There have been fish in the bay but haven’t really come in close recently. There is a small spring off the Circus Grounds that can hold some fish in summer, it’s off the easterly side of the gravel bar and even though not real deep, it can be nice cool water. Accesses: Pikes Pt, The Springs (via Camp Ron McD), Eagle’s Nest, Circus Grounds, Christie Day Use. The south side dirt road to Wildcat Pt is closed for the time being. North side road is also closed for a while as this is where the fire came through. Closed until USFS gets a chance to insure public safety through the burn (in which is still hot in some areas). Lassen County Youth Camp, best access is through Merrillville road off 139. Gallatin Road is in terrible shape past Camp Ronald McD. The Osprey Management Area is also closed to access the west side of the lake or Pelican Pt for shore fishing. These are only accessible by boating in at this time. Walking access is not open until after Sept 15th if USFS reopens the burn area roads before that time.
Fly Fishing/Kayak/Float Tubing: Won’t be long now folks!! But, Fly fishing hasn’t been real good this season. Hoping fall turns things around….start planning. Hatches are meager right now but we are still seeing a minor hatch of chironomides, black caddis, dragonflies and damsels (blue darners). The dragons are in pretty large numbers out there after about 9am (I use #10 to #8 olive semi-seal or wooly bugger to imitate them). Generally, #14, #16 or #18 midges work depending on the hatch. Zebra Midges can also be good in olive, black, grey or even red can produce. I have gone as small as #22’s on this lake but on average, 16-18’s will do ok if that’s what you have on hand. Just depends on the hatch. Run these under indicators/bobbers. So far, fly fishing off the rock piles hasn’t really produced a lot of fish this season, but that will start to change as surface and water column temps begin to cool down some. Scuds, shrimp, snails, small leeches 7 various nymphs are also good to use as well as stone fly larva and toe-bitter beetles if nothing else is working. #10 damsel has been working great on the blue darner hatch but mostly over deeper water.
Kayaks: Dragging leadcore from a kayak is like dragging an anchor but we do it anyway when conditions apply and depth is needed. It is a lot less weight than using a mini downrigger. Either way is a drag on the craft. Note that 1/4oz lure will drop about 6-7ft on mono or braid. If you need to get it deeper, add 1/4 oz weight & I hang that up around 12-14ft. Adjust accordingly for the depths you are seeking. But that’s a good starting place. Typically, this lake requires a certain depth this time of year but that will be changing very soon. Come fall, most trout are in the top 5-10ft of water. A 20ft dipsy diver is also a good option. Lots of weight but fairly true to depth. You don’t need 100ft of line out with a dipsy diver from a kayak. But do keep paddling. I’ll run 50-60ft of line out, but if my other rod goes off with a fish I’ll haul in as much as I can so I don’t hang it up on the bottom. Check your phone GPS for your trolling speed while paddling. Kick paddle kayaks can actually troll too fast at times so check you speed if you’re not catching.
My favorite fly line from a tube or kayak is a medium sink tip. I can cast it into shallow water as well as let it sink once the fish drop down a bit. The floating section allows me to use it as an indicator for the strike so no extra garbage out there. I can hold it up with a large indicator if I have to. It also allows me to troll it when getting from point A to point B to fish. A full uniform sinking line gets a long belly in it very quickly and by the time the fish pulls the belly out of the line, it’s generally too late to set the hook on these fish. For the most part, it is a matter of preference. Result on a full sinking line is often a lot of strikes but fewer hook ups. In a pinch, if you don’t have a sink tip, a short section of leadcore 8-10 inches long spliced between your floating line and tippet will work just fine and still cast very nicely over using a small split shot. Fish still know that you’re there in a kayak or float tube but they don’t run away as fast or as far as they do from a boat/motor. I generally don’t have to run as long of a line or have a really long cast from a smaller craft as I do my big ol’ boat. Lower profiles are better than higher profiles on the water.
Don’t complain to the stores or marinas about the fishing and fish, you need to complain to the local department of fish and wildlife biologist in charge of managing this lake. Paul Divine Biologist: Paul.Divine@wildlife.ca.gov 530 254-6363, Redding office Supervisor: Andrew Jensen Andrew.Jensen@wildlife.ca.gov 530 225-2300 SEE TROUT PLANTING AND MARKINGS FOR YEARS PLANTED HERE. 100% OF THE PLANTED FISH ARE NOW MARKED BY FIN OR TAIL TRIMMING. We are about 250,000 trout short from reduced planting in the last 5 years. No contingency plan, over population of tui chub and no plan for those either. God forbid what next year will bring. DFW is marking after every time they handle a fish for the spawn or plant it. Quite a few fish had no fins at all, just his tail to maneuver. Sad case. We have caught hundreds of these mutilated fish this year in particular. Plus a lot of split tails. If it was anglers, there would not be so many and most are all very close to the same size. If it is DFW (see fin trimming note from DFW), I would say they are mostly mutilating these fish now and freeze branding was much better for the fish. If you get a nice one that you may want to have mounted, good luck as it will be somewhat mutilated when it comes to the fins and tails. Not a trophy trout to be proud of, that’s certain. This is being done so that in the future, a native (native spawn) fish may be fully finned. In the mean time, the hatchery raised/farmed fish might just swim in circles. LoL.
Trout come and go with catching and mortality of release in the summer months. Adult Tui chub have no predators except pelicans and live over 32 years. They stay in the lake regardless and rarely close enough to the surface for the pelicans or eagles and are very wary of the osprey. The young of the year have only pelicans, grebes, loons, seagulls, terns and a few other birds to worry about, but the trout had always kept them in check. The juvenile chubs have very few predators but the pelicans can get on them during certain times of the year. The trout mainly only target the hatch of the current year, although only rarely we encounter a 4-5″ chub in the belly of a fish over 5 lbs. Tui chub are now highly concentrated in the lake, leaving little room for much else. They are often found in low dissolved oxygen range in the lake and the bottom of the stacked school is often below 40ft. They are a protective species of their own, even though they don’t run in the same schools. The adult spawners protect the juveniles and the juveniles protect the young of the year. They are now seemingly the dominant species in the lake and well over populated. We can not avoid massive schools of chubs.