Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
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We are now gearing up for legal action and you can certainly help us there!! We are hoping the water board does it’s job and we can help fund restoration projects, but we’ll know before too long what needs to be done.  A new grazing regulation by the State is in its second draft.  We are told they are proud of how it’s shaping up but haven’t seen it yet.  There is pending grant applications for projects that won’t be known until April for one, and August 2019 for the other. We’ll be sending out an email requesting update on any known progress.
  You can help by donating via PayPal link on eaglelakeguardians.org!  
Very slow progress, grazing continues and the USFS re-do grazing plan finally mentions “fish” and “native spawn” in its stream bed analysis. But the State is working on new grazing orders for 2019 so perhaps there just might be some changes coming.  DFW finally following the plan a little better for 2019.  The gates at the trap were open since Pine Creek began to flow around March 1.  Cold temps and water temps haven’t really attracted masses of fish but there have been a few.  The camera has been set up for several weeks.  DFW will close it down for a while to capture some ripe hens, but as of 4-7, most of the fish have been small males.  A few around 22″ and one at 26″ was reported.  So far the happenings at the trap have been slow due to cold temps.  Plan is to allow 300 “known” to go up, transmitters inserted, antenna’s not complete just yet, but one installed just above Spalding at Rankin Flat and a few fish that had transmitters inserted have made it to the first antenna.  The flow is finally picking up so that’s good.  Hoping for somewhat longer flows, similar to 2011 so chances we’ll see some spawning activity is good. Glad to have really put some pressure on DFW for this year.  But we will have to wait and see how many ripe hens come up.  Usually the males are first & the spawn ready hens come in later.  I’m sure the new grazing regulations just might help too but that’s a wait and see game at this point.  And, we’ll be watching to see how well LNF implements the new regulations coming out.   I’ll be sending out an email asking how restoration funding requests are going.  American Rivers has applied for other grants as DFW denied funding under Prop 1 earlier in 2018, we’ll know in April on one grant and projected for August on the other.  
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.”  Total fish that were stocked into Eagle Lake in 2018 was 144,135 and the same for 2019 which is still 20% lower than our normal. 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, don’t always do well when released in summer and algae blooms for months can also take their toll.  Tui chub stay.  The tui chub appear to be well out of control right now and probably will for years to come.
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 We have another request in to TU and CRMP for update as to what has been accomplished for 2018 season and funding progress as of 12-9-18.  Preliminary responses from TU is that funding dried up and they continue to seek funding.  American Rivers Organization has applied for more funding.  LoL.  Same players as in May.  CRMP didn’t fully answer the question so we are waiting for that detail. No signed minutes from 5-14 field trip official meeting.  No public info site available.   And, Eagle Lake Guardians are continuing to work on the rights the lake and trout have for water, pollution and grazing issues behind the scenes.  We don’t plan on backing down, we are turning up the heat.   
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.  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. It might actually help if he actually fished the lake he manages.  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 so few trout are being caught the last few years.  They seem to forget who they work for.  Eagle Lake Guardians will be assisting Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board with water testing, noting algae blooms, video taping conditions and insuring that if there is any subsequent public health issues, that the public is informed. 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.    Getting an update from those “restoring” Pine Creek has been like pulling teeth from a live gator.  But it looks like there wasn’t any restoration projects done in 2018.  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. Once things get started there should be some updates on a remote website somewhere out there in lala land. I’ll post that link once its going.  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.  Guardians have been on the list and regularly don’t receive any updates of anything, including meetings, even after requests.  LoL.  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. 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, the main issue affecting the native spawn, water quality, flow from Pine Creek and Eagle Lake.   USFS had posted an algae caution for potential hazards before Labor Day under direction of the Water Board.  The sign was pulled since mid Oct.  No one checked the north basins although complaints were filed to minimally check for public safety.  1000+ cattle remained grazing off 139 through 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!!   So glad to have had this lake at her best, as she is surely suffering now.   Eagle Lake Guardians are working on all the issues for everyone.

New request sent for 2019 but hasn’t been received yet.

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 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.  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 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. The blue/green algae has taken it’s toll on the lake the last few years.  Eagle Lake Guardians are currently working on that issue.  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.  

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 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.  When you can troll for 7 miles of lake and keep catching chubs, that appears to be a problem. 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. 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 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.

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.  They’re over populated.  I see this becoming a very bad problem for this lake now.  People don’t come here to catch trophy tui chubs.  Not good.
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) 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.  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 thrusters 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.   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 and other microscopic food sources 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 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 1/5lb.   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.  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.
© 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.