Current Fishing Report
Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
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FISHING SEASON CLOSES DECEMBER 31!
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HERE IS THE 12-14 UPDATE ON PLANTING: I sent a request and Andrew answered rapidly. Jensen, Andrew@Wildlife <Andrew.Jensen@wildlife.ca.gov> To:Eagle Lake Fishing Cc:Jensen, Andrew@Wildlife,Divine, Paul@Wildlife Dec 14 at 11:23 AM Valerie, Crystal Lake Hatchery planted 7,095 fish yesterday. Total fish that were stocked into Eagle Lake this year is 144,135. Thanks, Andrew Jensen Interior Fisheries Supervisor CDFW – Northern Region Not the 170,000 we were told we were getting in the above email from DFW in summer but 80% of our normal allotment. 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 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, the main issue affecting the native spawn, water quality, flow from Pine Creek and Eagle Lake. USFS had posted an algae warning for potential hazards before Labor Day. The sign has been pulled since mid Oct. 1000+ cattle remain grazing off 139 in December, and many standing in the water, even in winter. No wonder Troxel Bay is putrid all year long. Sure a good way to reduce property values!! 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 and going into battle for the rights of the trout and the lake.
Shore Fishing: Shore fishing has been steadily improving. Wild turkey jigs (grey), olive jigs, Black/gold panther martin spinners & nightcrawlers (mini or 1/2). We are seeing a few more fish caught from shore but one day has been better than another. All in all, it hasn’t been a waste of time. Youth Camp will slow down as water temps drop but the road in is in good shape from Merrillville (139) and a few fish are still being caught there. The jetty has been up and down as has Pikes Pt but DFW just planted 7095 fish there this week. Christie still has fish milling around and a few have been caught there this week. Christie Day Use westerly 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, most of ours have been along the shoreline to Wildcat. Long walks. Roads in are not in the best shape. Lots of cow poop down there so watch your step. 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 again this year, but the fishing will generally get better as it gets colder. We’ve had a few come in from the Circus Grounds this week. The Circus Grounds is generally the first area to begin to get shoreline ice and the first to freeze over as it is on the northern exposure of Merrill Mountain and rarely see’s sunlight hit the shoreline. So far, warmer ambient temps are rolling through so pretty much all open water now.
Accesses: The Jetty, 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. 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. Eagle’s Nest is accessible but the road was very slick getting in. From our house in Spalding, it’s quicker to take 139 to Merrillville Road to the Youth Camp 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. There are logging operations going on in the lava beds so watch for traffic and tree felling.
Fly Fishing/Kayak/Float Tubing: Minnow imitations, most nymphs and cinnamon & brown leech patterns, orange (burnt and bright) and olive wooly buggers. We’ve been able to catch some nice fish bouncing things off the rock piles. I haven’t had to access water deeper than 8-10ft to catch a nice fish or 8 this week and today they were in tight to shore for me in 2-3 ft of water casting in from my kayak. But, I’m still using my trusty sink tip and it hasn’t let me down yet. Some days we get 4-5, other days up to 10. Every day fishes a little different. Weighted flies such as Jay Fair Wiggle Tail will get down deeper if you don’t have a sink tip. This is one reason I like having a sink tip, I can let it sink when the fish drop down over the depths or I can cast in shallow and start stripping. We have a lot of different aquatic critters and these trout just forage and get just about anything they see moving. The shallow rock pile trout have had at least 7 different things in their bellies. They can’t resist a free meal if they see it. Any small nymph, beetle, leech, scud, shrimp, minnow or snail pattern can work. Brown leech patterns and woolly buggers have been my best flies. My brown with a slight bit of red & burnt orange did well this week. Mostly all ambush strikes not subtle strikes (that’s coming though). Orange can become a mainstay in winter months. The shrimp and scuds change color when water temps drop below 50F and generally stay in a hue of orange until water temps begin to rise in late spring. So it isn’t unusual for these fish to see small orange food. 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, then 10ft, etc. That’s where I have caught my largest trout in the mornings in late season. If you don’t believe me, prove me wrong. You won’t be sorry if I win. PS) I’ve been pounding em casting into shore from my kayak…like 5 ft from shore in 1 to 2 ft of water. If you walk along the shore close to the water, you’re moving this fish out before you get there. They not only see you coming, they feel and hear you walking. Not uncommon for the trout to come in behind you once you’ve waded out and stirred up the gravel. Never discount the 6-12 inch deep water here. Yes, I said 6-12 INCHES deep.
Kayaks: We’ve done pretty well from our kayaks this week. 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 not had to go deeper than 6ft the last few trips out in my kayak. 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. Use Aspen or Eagle’s Nest for accessing 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. Christie is ok for kayaks. Long haul uphill when finished. With a little more snow we’ll be able to use our yaks as sleds. But it’s doable. 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, even if we haven’t had a lot of boats launching. We still have a few boats coming and going. Having a small depth finder on a kayak is your best friend. This lake has so much structure it’s really important to know where it is. Especially since we can no longer visibly see it in the cloudy water.
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.
Complaints from fin trimming to catching should go to the local department of fish and wildlife biologist in charge of managing this lake. Just because our low number of anglers are catching some fish this fall, it isn’t the masses we would normally see in fall. Gone are the days of 30-50 fish C&R. Paul Divine Biologist: Paul.Divine@wildlife.ca.gov 530 254-6363, Redding office Supervisor: Andrew Jensen Andrew.Jensen@wildlife.ca.gov 530 225-2300 SEE TROUT PLANTING AND MARKINGS FOR YEARS PLANTED HERE. 100% OF THE PLANTED FISH ARE NOW MARKED BY FIN 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. This fall, lots of dorsal fin and 1-3 missing anterior and pelvic fins missing. The dorsal fin trim or mutilation may be a brood stock trim. We have been known to get some old broodstock fish planted in fall. We have caught and released several hundred with dorsal fin distortions since early October. All within a half pound of each other, relatively close to the ramp. If it was anglers marking, there would not be so many and most are all very close to the same size. If it is DFW (see fin trimming note from DFW), I would say they are mostly mutilating these fish now and freeze branding was much better for the fish. If you get a nice one that you may want to have mounted, good luck as it will be somewhat mutilated when it comes to the fins and tails. Not a trophy trout to be proud of, that’s certain. This is being done s o 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. Freeze branding didn’t handicap the fish like cutting off an arm two or their “legs” LoL. But when a fish only has a tail to use, that can prohibit some typical feeding patterns in this lake. Like rock flipping and rooting out the snails from the gravel bars.
Trout come and go with catching and mortality of release 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 in late summer and separate again in fall. They are now seemingly the dominant species in the lake and well over populated. 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.