Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
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June 25, 2019
CATCH AND KEEP RECOMMENDATION HAS BEEN POSTED BY DFW. THIS IS A WATER QUALITY ISSUE FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE TROUT DUE TO HIGHER WATER TEMPS, DISSOLVED OXYGEN AND pH.
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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!!
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.