Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
FISHING SEASON CLOSES FEB 28TH, 2023
530 249-1430, text or leave a message or Contact Me anytime within reason. No calls will be answered after 7pm
Copyright Protected and Registered by Valerie Aubrey. Permission to copy and re-publish must be given by the Author.
In the event of a 911, accident or health issue, Chances are that Spalding Volunteer Fire Department will be responding. Please donate, you never know when it could be you or your family.
Thanks! Val’s Challenge remains!
We are on FACEBOOK Valerie Aubrey
and Eagle Lake Fishing Information and Network
First and Foremost: the West side Osprey Management Wildlife Area from Pelican Pt to Shrimp Island and from Christie to Wildcat & above is closed to motorized vehicular traffic. Signs were burned in the fire, but that doesn’t mean the area suddenly is no longer a wildlife area with motorized vehicles restricted below the border road. It is ok to walk in from the boarder road until March 15th. Check USFS topo maps.
1-23-23 Iced over. Ice is still too thin to walk on and it’s never advised unless 4 to 6″ thick….It’s not all the same thickness here due to many springs below. We really only need a good wind to break it up and push it to shore. It shouldn’t last too long, especially once our temps warm up a little. Paths since the storm are well packed.
When I get out again I will be trolling in my kayak with red/gold 1/4oz Thomas Buoyant, small floating silver/black rapala, and black/red bead-head woolly bugger. Fish were in the upper 3 ft before dropping down to 5 to 9ft for me. Frozen fog can change colors that work. Darker colors can contrast a bit better under some conditions. It’s very normal to find trout scattered in the water column when it’s all the same temperature. But once we ice out, the trout will be along the shoreline where they were imprinted when planted. 🙂
LAKE IS ICED OVER FOR NOW.
Shore fishing Limits have been tough to come by for weeks, even for the best of the best. Those hitting have been on turkey, burnt orange, brown, black/red or olive jigs or weighted flies. Night crawlers are pretty standard….I like mini crawlers…there’s always a few bigger worms in the box, but when the fish are on small stuff, nothing better than a wiggly whole mini & a smaller hook (straight eye doesn’t tear up the worms). PowerBait products work well too, but often we can see a color preference over a sent preference. I have learned that keeping garlic (beige), yellow & red on hand just in case….but rainbow with orange and green/yellow can cover a lot of bases in one jar.
East side has produced the most action as the deeper water ledge isn’t very far from shore at all. Heck of a walk now! Jigs, flies and crawlers. Christie and Pikes has been spotty and intermittent but all in all, either are fishing “fair” & worth a try. But other areas of the point have been slower. We have a lot of brown color to the water from Merrill to the east side. The west side has had clearer water, just inaccessible for most. Wildcat is now inaccessible except for snow mobile. For jigs and flies there, olive, orange and brown or black. Black has been good most winters…I like a little red or gold mixed in my woolly buggers.
Fly Fishing: Note: The Osprey Management Area is closed to motorized vehicles which includes snowmobiles on the shoreline. One must walk from the border road. However one can walk in from the border road now. This area is closed to all foot traffic between March 15th and Sept 15th. Ranchers have special permission to move cattle. After Sept 15th we are allowed to walk in.
These fish usually can’t resist small creepy crawlers such as bead head nymphs or small size 10/12 woolly buggers or leech patterns. Scuds, shrimp, leeches, midges (olive and black zebra), mayfly and chironomid emergers are also good and not always in just spring. The trout can get on boatman’s and toe-biter’s when cruising the shoreline. Scuds in orange or pale orange now that water temps are cold. Burnt orange or hot orange small woolly buggers…orange really kicks back in when water temps drop to about 61F…that’s a trigger for the shrimp, scuds and daphnia begin to turn shades of orange. Brown w/b with burnt orange tail. We use a lot of size 10’s and 12’s for woolly buggers. We are seeing a good tui chubs hatch so keep an eye on stomach contents….these trout prefer small dumb baitfish over those accustomed to being prey. Minnow imitations in size 8 are highly under-rated. NOTE: for float tubes and pontoons….have a sink tip on hand. There’s times when ya just have to get a couple feet deeper. If not, have some weighted flies on hand. Also worthy of noting….in years of low water, these fish haven’t stayed close to shore too long when then do come in close. I do advise being able to cast a mile or bring a float tube or kayak to access the fish when the hold just outside of casting range. Rouges do remain foraging a while longer than the rest….but it’s along trip if not prepared. I do advise for December through February for tourists to stay in a motel in Susanville. Hot showers and food available. Just make the trip up from there….you will thank me later. LoL.
Once the lake ices over, in years past we have had opportunities to ice fish. (It’s not thick enough on most years). Our ice is thick and thin in places and only on a hard winter can we even consider walking out a little ways and punching a hole through the ice on the south basin (Trivia answer: 2011 was the last time the lake iced over to 12″ (south basin) to 16″ (north basins) thick in January so it does happen, it also depleted the dissolved oxygen and we had a fish kill in the north basins when the lake iced out). Springs keep some water open by turbulence but they do keep the ice thinner in places. The gases coming up from the lake bottom create a layer of air between the ice and the water….cold temps (hard ice) can cause the ice sheets to sing….harmonics are created as the lake moves (current) or from any remaining open water rolling waves below it. Ice hardens under single digit and below zero temps and if it isn’t super cold, it doesn’t create the hardness to sing loud. Sounds like music behind an Alfred Hitchcock movie. LoL. These get singing pretty loud then you hear what sounds like a shotgun going off…that’s the huge ice plate shearing and dropping back into the water. One year we had 4 to 6 inches of ice we were fishing on with others…..until the sing and the pop which shot water up our holes 6″ wetting the entire surface to more than slick. We all gently left the ice and had to help each other to do so and survive. We were younger and dumber back then. There is no available ice rescue equipment available so something to consider if/when we ice over. Chances for survival are slim to none. Always prepare for the conditions up here. FYI we still have January before we start seeing hints of spring.
As a note: In 2015, the lake was pretty much at the current elevation. That year, the fish didn’t come close to shore in masses & those that did come in, didn’t stay very long. To me, it’s been about habitat and water quality. Over the years our water came up, slowly at first & 2019 was our best year since 2011 with something like 5 ft. Shore fishing improved and was back to normal. Last year shore-fishing was still good….that’s with a couple more feet of water in the lake. We could see the lake come up a bit before fishing season is over at the end of February so a freshen up is always a good thing. And Eagle Lake can change in a heartbeat. Shore fishing opportunities are limited no matter what time of the fishing season and there are ZERO Kayak accesses so kayaks are certainly allowed to use the ramp. For a lake this popular and large, it’s not friendly for non motorized accesses despite kayaking being quite popular. Lassen National Forest is and has been living in a bit of the dark ages for decades when it comes to recreational accesses here. We often wonder if anyone in NF actually gets outside. LoL
We could see the snow melt back some with the incoming above freezing high temps. Slush might be coming….and that’s worse than snow and ice to walk in. Foot traffic helps build the paths. Snow shoes are good for making the trails and packing the snow. We still have open water along the shoreline, but we’re starting to see intermittent skim ice form here and there.
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, it isn’t the masses we would normally see. 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 don’t receive the second generation anything or sterilized triploids. 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. 15 years ago we had a fly fishing group that would trim or notch fins/tails for 3 days of fishing. This group hasn’t been here for a long time. Personally, I don’t know any angler here that mutilates our trout. DFW won’t admit to it but definitely marks fish planted every year. Does one escape marking? On occasion. This is being done so that in the future, a native (native spawn) fish may be fully finned. LoL probably decades from now or not in our lifetime. Cows come before native spawn, lake elevation and water quality issues apparently. 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 as this is a hatchery maintained lake. 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. Pelicans can only reach 3 to 4 ft down, so they have to target shallower fish. 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. Our trout are rarely below 40ft even on the warmest of waters. The dissolved oxygen is generally too low to hold them. Chubs don’t need as much as the trout do. Note that chubs are in the super family of carp. That tells ya something right there. 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 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 smaller mouths, in general, plankton feeders so they can compete with the trout for food sources.