Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
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THIS PAGE WILL BEGIN BEING UPDATED AGAIN IN EARLY MAY AS CONDITIONS BEGIN TO SHAPE UP FOR THE FISHING SEASON.
FISHING SEASON OPENS MAY 25TH, 2019
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Very slow progress, grazing continues and the USFS grazing plan doesn’t even mention “fish” or “native spawn” in its stream bed analysis. DFW still controlling the timing and the numbers of fish allowed upstream. Here is a note from Paul’s boss Andrew Jensen in Redding correcting Paul’s numbers on 5-14-18 “In fact, we installed a video station, and based on our counts approximately 250+ adults passed upstream, throughout the six week spawning season, not 100 and not just during the peak of the spawn. I wanted to clarify that for you so you can update your information for the visitors to your site.” Note: I just reported what Paul Divine told us at the CRMP field trip ON 5-14 and what I was told by DFW at the trap which matched. Now that no funding and restoration projects have taken place in 2018 season, is the result of allowing fish upstream going to remain the same predictable outcome as before and in years past? 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. Here’s updated stocking corrections by DFW: “Stocking Corrections: 2017 stocking 54,383 pounds/123,180 fish stocked Additional Stocking Information: 2018 allotment 170,000 catchables 2018 stocking 14,100 pounds/56,400 fish stocked this spring . 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.” So the remainder of the 170,000 (115,617) are expected to be planted in fall. 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. 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.
CONSERVATION PLAN FOR EAGLE LAKE TROUT AND PINE CREEK WATERSHED!! DOWNLOAD THIS 72 PAGE FILE. Eagle Lake Guardians assisted in financing some of the studies that went into this report. www.eaglelakeguardians.org 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. So if you want to know about meetings email CRMP at email@example.com and ask to be put on the list again, and again, and again. When projects get moving forward, we may have a link to some information outside of CRMP. 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. 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 warning for potential hazards before Labor Day. The sign has been pulled since mid Oct. 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!! 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. Eagle Lake Guardians are working on all the issues for everyone.
What a joke. 0.17 catch rate.
Wondering why your fish don’t have fins or have split tails?
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 s o 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 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.
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 spawners. 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 spawners 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 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 spawners 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 thruster’s 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 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 2017 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.
© 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.