Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
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June 25, 2019


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Total fish that were stocked into Eagle Lake in 2018 was 144,135 and they NOW say 170,000 for 2019 which is better than 144K. 
Updated 2012 to 2019 fin trimming.   Also, 2018 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)”.  Personally, in my 57 years on the lake, this biologist and DFW in general isn’t the best we have had in over 30 years. It might actually help if he actually fished the lake he manages or spends more time on the water checking things out.  LoL.  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 fewer trout are being caught the last few years by the average angler.  LNF and DFW aren’t reliable and even the water board admits to neglecting the issues at Eagle Lake.  But, we are keeping the pressure on ALL the agencies.
CONSERVATION PLAN FOR EAGLE LAKE TROUT AND PINE CREEK WATERSHED!!  DOWNLOAD THIS 72 PAGE FILE.    There wasn’t any restoration projects done in 2018. The American Rivers/Trout Unlimited Plan was not funded for 2019.  The only way you can attempt to get information is to get on the CRMP “email” list is to request it, and when one requests information it doesn’t come.  Hmmm. So if you want to know about meetings email CRMP at thetims3@yahoo.com and ask to be put on the list again, and again, and again.  Generally any office meetings take place outside the immediate area and the funny thing is the people in charge haven’t even fished or been on the lake.   We dare to care and seek answers to questions long asked with nothing but rhetoric and false promises.  Update from American Rivers is that funding was shot down for their meadow restoration plan so nothing will be done in that respect for 2019.  DFW funding for DFW studies and some projects is $45 million.  Actual email here.
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Trolling:  We still got some nice fish 4 to 6 ft deep on orange, olive and brown trolling flies and red/gold and firetiger Thomas Buoyant lures from Christie to below Shrimp along Lake of The Woods in 7-24ft of water. But the water is heating up and we are also picking them up 15 to 20ft deep AND some at 12 to 14ft deep. (3 to 4 colors of leadcore).  Some are starting to load up coming through the channel between Slough Pt and Miners Pt and so far seem to be holding in 30-40ft of water.

Most of the trout have been between 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 lbs with a couple over 4lbs and some under 2 lbs.  DFW has posted the catch and keep recommendation.  Signage posted on the board at Eagle Lake Marina. 

Lures and Trolling flies, What is working for us?  Orange Jay Fair and Arctic Fox trolling flies, original Jay Fair Special, olive leeches/wooly buggers, peacock, brown (cinnamon) leech patterns and burnt orange.  I’m still seeing action orange copper or gold Baby Simon, copper and gold 1/6oz and 1/4oz red/gold and firetiger Thomas Buoyant. Sure Catch Red-dog (double jointed).  If it’s gold with red, orange or copper with some orange it’s been catching.  Various lures with orange and gold, from Baby Simons and needlefish to Speedy shiners have been pretty steady for catching.  Firetiger doing pretty good but throw in a little cloud cover it really has turned on hard. German Brown, brook trout and firetiger rapala doing some damage.  Hit and misses, Gold red-dot Z-ray and Jake’s gold red 1/4oz, cop car needlefish, (#2), red-dot frog needlefish, rainbow runners (orange) & perch spoons all caught fish this week.  Pink has also been doing a little damage, for me pink has been mostly active on the east side and I wouldn’t hesitate to toss in a Sure Catch Watermelon (double jointed medium is my favorite).  So we have a lot of options to choose from.  We’ve caught them over all depths of water depending on the day, conditions, winds and algae patterns.  

I always drop lines in the deeper water first and work shallower water early, then move back out as the sun rises.  Some days they haven’t moved in or up early and by mid morning most have been out over the deeper waters even though they haven’t been that deep.  The fish know that the summer solstice has come and gone, they will most likely start holding over the depths for summer.  As water temps rise, the fish move from place to place, in and out and up and down a little.  Right now, they are feeding on shrimp larva that’s suspended on a minor thermocline between 12 and 20ft depending on location.  If you feel like your line is trolling through Jello, you’re in the right place.  It won’t be long before we start seeing more trout (mixed with chubs) holding on one side of the lake or the other.  We aren’t too far out from the young of the year tui chub minnows hitting the food court so keep an eye out for the clouds and a big fish or two in the cloud. The fun of fishing Eagle Lake is a migratory trout that moves from place to place when the food is everywhere.  Sometimes I think they just get tired of the scenery and just move to another.  The trout can get lazy when filter feeding on shrimp larva, once the minnows hit the food court the trout get into the chase.  We often have to pick up our speed to seek out that aggressive behavior.  Just a tip for July.  LoL. Water temps are heating up fast so we’ll see depths change as the week goes on. Most every bite and fish came at a speed of 1.8-2.6mph, 2.2mph has been a pretty good speed.  I like to vary speeds all the time.  I never just set a speed and go in a straight line.  I’m on and off the throttle, making turns to drop lines and change the speed of everything that is dragging behind the boat.

The fish pounding the surface are hitting midges.  Here’s a little old timer tip for catching if you’re not able to get those rising fish and aren’t a fly fisherman.  Dig into your tackle box and look for a #8 or #10 gold egg hook, #4 test leader.  Set that under a bobber about 4ft deep….Yes, just the bare hook, and drift fish it if the wind is light or non existent or give it a little twitch action. See what happens.  We did that often when we didn’t have flies and only had spinning gear or mono rigged bait caster.  It worked when the timing was right. We are also seeing the caddis, spinner mayfly and just starting to see small darners hatching.  When the darners become more prolific, a small #10 beadhead woolly bugger 4 to 5 ft deep becomes one of my hottest methods for catching fish you can’t see that are feeding on them as they emerge. No matter what the surface temps are at the time.

Locations:   Just out from the jetty towards Eagle’s Nest, Eagle’s Nest, Miners Pt was holding fish.  On the east side, I had more fish in 48-57ft of water than anywhere else. The west side run from Christie north all up towards Shrimp working the structure in tight and shallow has slowed somewhat and more fish are holding out over the deeper ledge and deeper water.  We did clean algae off our lines quite often. We are starting to see more fish coming from the north and stacking up just south of the Miners Pt rock pile in the middle of the lake off Black Mt.  Some still holding in the channel between Slough Pt and Miners Pt as well as between Slough Pt to Shrimp Island.  Using down riggers can get your lines below the surface algae. As fish begin moving south, these areas are the first areas they encounter with water deeper than 40ft close by and a massive food supply.

 The fish I cleaned from every area have been loaded with shrimp larva and a few leeches. Shrimp larva has become prolific the last few days.  Very small stuff.  

Once we see 70F surface temps steadily, it takes about a week before the fish head to the depths and drop down.  For the most part, that happens in mid July.  We’ll see, just something to keep in mind.  So far we’ve pushed to 68F but then a cooling trend comes along and pretty much we’ve held + or – 1 to 2F of 65F on average.  We do have springs that have been around 56F.  Our spring weather and temps can drag on through mid July, but typically, July and August are our hottest months. 

As a rule of thumb, once the bite goes off or slows down for a while, always keep at least one of what was working early in the water. What worked early will work again once the bite comes back on or you find a new pod of fish to work. Remember that the massive stacked schools or 5ft thick line of fish deep in the water column are generally Tui Chub, target the single pings outside the masses that are scattered on your scope with a little space between them & higher in the water column rather than the densely stacked and packed or lined up fish that drop into the 40ft plus range. Tui Chub appear to be on the spawn mode so anything that blackens your screen may not be trout.  Stage two juveniles chubs show up as a ton of small fish.  I haven’t see massive clouds of young of the year yet, but it will come pretty soon.  They will stay close to the bottom until they lose their sacks and venture up in the water column or close to shore.  Our Tahoe suckers and redsides are gems for the lake and rarely caught.  If by chance we do catch one we do release these species safely as they are the vacuums of the lake and not in great numbers.

 Be sure that when you’re fishing shallow, get the lines out behind the boat.  We’re still on the green side for water color but not as bad as it has been in recent years just yet.  We haven’t peaked yet for cloudy water, however we still aren’t nearly as clear as we would be at a healthy lake elevation.  Orange and combinations with orange has been a standard color for this lake for decades and I have seen more predatory (brown) leeches in the trout bellies this year than in the last few years.  A good sign for trollers.

From shore: The standards are basic night crawlers, power bait or jigs under bobber’s. For jigs, typically small ones in olive, cinnamon or brown. Casting lures, spinners and spoons can also be productive.  Casting red/nickel  or red/gold Cast Masters has also been a good go to.  I was working water very close to shore but in areas accessible only by boat and close to deeper waters.  The fish did move out pretty quickly.  Consider the color for showing up against the sky and water color.  Shoreline waters heat up faster than the main body of water during the day.  So that can push fish out.   Boats trolling by shore fishermen also move fish closer to shore where the fish know boats won’t go in close. So that can actually improve shore fishing when fish are blown out for the boats.  It will be a few weeks before we’ll see trout coming in for minnows.  Generally, the minnows have a safe summer haven along the shoreline, but once the trout start pounding them, they will come in briefly and get their fill.  Give it a few weeks.  There are only a few places along the shoreline where one can cast to water deeper than 6-8ft deep and as time goes on and water heats up, shore fishing generally subsides dramatically.  The point bordering the north side of Pikes Cove, which is the most southeastern point of Pikes Pt (access from Marina low water ramp parking area).  There’s a nice weed bed on the bottom there.  The ledge north of Camp Ronald McDonald that runs from about 1/2 mile north of Camp Ron McD to beyond The Springs.  Parking lot just beyond the facility and it’s a fairly good walk to get there.  The ledge is still accessible with a good cast from shore due to the lake remaining relatively low.  Shore anglers just below Eagle’s Nest can also do ok in summer.  Christie has been holding some fish and few fishermen.  From the rocky point northwest of the parking area, it’s a quick drop off the end of the rocks to 24-27ft of water.  I would walk out and cast as far as possible from shore.  All in all, from shore it’s been a matter of being in the right place at the right time.  As summer months come on strong, it’s best to use a boat or kayak to access the deeper water.

Fly Fishing:  Midges, shrimp, scuds and brown leeches.  The fish I have cleaned have been loaded with em, the aquatics are there for the taking.  Shrimp larva has been more prolific the last couple weeks.  It also depends on time of day and location.  We still have some fish moving into the outer rock piles, timing isn’t always predictable. Small orange woolly buggers (#10) were hot this week, black/olive also did some damage.  Mostly just a matter of timing while water temperatures are cooler.  Shrimp are now reproducing and more “applesause” is in the trout bellies.  As water temperatures rise, the trout still hit the midges, but warm water releases don’t generally promote for a healthy release in this lake once temperatures rise.  DFW has posted the Catch and Keep Recommendation to preserve the fishery.  Better in fall now with colder water temps rather than warmer water temps of summer. 

Always prepare for the worst & accept the best regarding the weather. Thunderstorms are normal, passing showers are norma for summer.   But, if your graphite rods begin humming or singing, you know there’s a lot of static electricity in the air and it’s best to lay them down in the boat rather than sticking them up in the air.   Tarps are always good to bring.  So come prepared!! 

With reduced trout planting and 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 had 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.  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 and availability rather than necessity.  The level at which they lay in the heat of the summer as been a necessity the last few years for dissolved oxygen rather than cooler water temps. I have also caught Tahoe Suckers and Red Sides to 20″ but release these special fish alive, they are a critical part of the lake for cleaning things up.   They don’t compete & we need as many vacuums in the pond as possible. The algae has taken it’s toll on the lake the last few years.  Eagle Lake Guardians are currently working on that issue.  When a problem occurs, generally it’s later in summer.  The lake is being extensively watched and monitored this season by the State water board and clean water teams.  So far it’s early in the season, no public health problems detected at this time.  If the State finds any issues, we’ll be sure to let you know.  At this time the monitoring of the lake will proceed as planned. (Of course it has been supposed to be monitored as per grazing plans by USFS, however that doesn’t appear to be the case) This is a good thing that due to lack of resources, the state had neglected a bit.  Volunteers now involved and trained. 

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 TRIMMING.  No contingency plan, over population of tui chub and no plan for those either.  God forbid what this year will bring after the chubs spawn.  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.  Last 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 as they are from eggs collected here at the lake.  We receive the second generation anything.  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 so that in the future, a native (native spawn) fish may be fully finned. LoL  probably decades from now.   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 during the fishing season.  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 aren’t nearly as affected by low DO or algae blooms as the trout are.  And the way they school, they can blacken your scope. They are a protective species of their own, even though they don’t run in the same schools.  The adult spawner’s protect the juveniles and the juveniles protect the young of the year in late summer and separate again in fall.  They appear to be well over populated and   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, we saw another prolific hatch of chubs.  I believe their population density is going to bite us in the ass if it hasn’t already.  I see this becoming a very bad problem for this lake now.  People don’t come here to catch trophy tui chubs.  Catching them will become very prolific in late July and August when they are finished spawning and go into protective mode.  They resist arrest quite well, but you know when you have a chub over a trout pretty quickly. Chub dive deep and fight you under the boat, are tail thusters opposed to head shakers.  Trout will stay out and up higher, charge the boat after figuring out that peeling out line isn’t working.  Then, once at the boat, the battle really begins.
Tui chubs are in 3 separate and distinct schools.  Here’s how I classify them.  Stage 1: Adult spawner’s. 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 spawner’s 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 2011-2016 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, little to nothing protecting their brain, 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 and begin in May) 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 spawner’s 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.  2017 and 2018, 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. Personally, I don’t really care what you do with them, they provide food for the trout for winter, but I think we need more trout to keep the young of the year in check. Once in the juvenile grouping, the trout don’t generally even attempt to eat them.  We have a lot of chubs.  You’ll see what I mean pretty soon.  2017 and 2018 I could troll 7 miles one direction and catch chubs 4 at a time.  A waste of time.  We never used to catch them trolling, only on bait under bobbers.  So when trolling and catching tui chub 4 at a time? Can’t drag a line for more than a few minutes before a chub is on? Can’t get 4 lines in the water before a chub takes the first two in the water?  What does that tell you? LoL.  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.   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 zoo-plankton’s and other microscopic food sources have also become very prolific to the point of fowling lines and down rigger’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 2016-2018 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.  This fall we have seen a handful over 5lb but on average, be happy with a 3 1/2lb.   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.  I rarely keep a fish over 4lbs for eating myself unless it’s damaged or water quality issues prevent me from wanting to release it.  To me, it is a waste if it doesn’t eat as good as a smaller fish but I will smoke it.  In warm water months, it’s not unusual to see meat that’s softer in a few fish.  Note that under new regulations, one can’t fillet fish on the boat even if bringing back all the carcasses and guts to throw away to avoid long waits at the fish cleaning sink.  I’ve been pulling my boat out and filleting in the boat in the parking lot when lines are long or simply come home to clean em.  Bypass so to speak. By the way, creel census is completely volunteer.  One doesn’t HAVE to have their fish measured or weighed.
© Content of this website is copyright protected 2003-2019 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.