Eagle Lake Best Fishing Locations Depths
EAGLE LAKE FISHING REPORT
Val @ 530 249-1430, text or leave a message or Contact Me Anytime!
Copyright Protected and Registered by Valerie Aubrey. Permission to copy and re-publish must be given by the Author.
Sept 21, 2019
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 remians!
We are on FACEBOOK Valerie Aubrey
and Eagle Lake Fishing Information and Network
Funny that DFW has been studying the watershed for over 70 years and still needs more study before they learn anything. LoL. Tax dollars at work?
Trolling: The water temps chilling down a bit. We’ve been doing well using toplines and trolling flies. Depending on the location we’ve been successful using florescent orange, fiery brown and tui chub minnow. Everything we’ve caught has been toplining or using 1 color of leadcore in the water with 60ft of leader (this allows for sharp turns without hanging up all the lines). Toplines running around 145ft. Water temps hovering between 61F and 64F depending on location. West side remains about 1F cooler than the east side (normal). The gyre is holding 56F to 59F depending on how close to the big spring you are. It’s been pretty slow for the average anglers out there. From those who I have talked to, they are fishing too deep. We have had no chubs on the surface rods at all. Get down deep and absolutely there are chubs. We have been working the rock piles, 5 to 12 ft deep. I have also toplined off Pikes Pt near the marina, the jetty and out in the middle of the south basin. Trolling flies on toplines with fiery rust Jay Fair trolling flies got the most action for us mid week but hot orange turned on Friday. Earlier in the week we did well with Baby Simon’s in chartreuse/orange and pearl/orange. Good time to add chartreuse/pearl and yellow to the mix to cut the cloudier water, especially if we see a cloud cover in the morning.
Seeing a few more bait balls out there now. The west side was pretty clean, but still has some weeds. So check lines often. Surface weeds coming and going but we’re still periodically finding weeds deeper in the water column. .
In spite of weather reports indicating our low temps are in the 40’s, that hasn’t been the case, we’re seeing low to mid 30’s on a regular basis. Which will continue to keep the water cooling.
Several things are getting some attention. Fiery rust, florescent orange, burnt orange and tui chub trolling flies on toplines have done the most damage for us. If you are a grub user, brighten up, it can only be a matter of color. For the lures, pearl/orange Baby Simon wobblers (chartreuce/orange when overcast), pearl/orange such as pearl bikini needlefish and Sure Catch, rainbow trout Thomas Buoyant getting a few, watermelon lures, black/white such as cop car needlefish. Yellow/red & yellow/orange combinations getting some attention, including fire tiger patterns especially under cloud cover. Watermelon grubs have picked up a few fish this week as has root beer too (I would brighten up right now). Good option during transition has also been chartreuse/pearl or just something in that line of color to cut through the cloudier water. I also have a Jay Fair “All Around Best” (yellow/orange) at the ready. In a pinch flashers or dodgers generally can cut through the cloudy water this time of year too and an orange wedding ring should also be in the line up. Remember to run short leaders up here from flashers. The fish can come up behind a flasher so fast that with long leaders, they miss your offering and hit your flasher resulting in no hook ups but lots of bumps. Won’t hurt to use an attractant either but be sure it is fresh and not old. Just because it stinks, doesn’t mean it smells right to the fish.
The west side is still holding trout, for us in close and tight to the rocks. But weed check often. We have a few right out from Merrill Campground and some have moved into and off Pikes Pt/Pikes Cove and off the Jetty. We still have a lot of chubs to get through, almost everywhere but there’s still trout out there, keep lines high. The east side is also holding trout but also a ton of chubs. I always troll in circles to find the best direction for the fish as well as changing the depth and speed of the lures. The depth of the trout can vary every day as well as with the sun and wind pattern. They are higher on average on the west side and can be just a little deeper on the east side. Most on the east side have either been on top, 10-12ft deep. Rarely one caught at 21ft late in the morning/early afternoon. Regardless, the trout are scattered & that’s pretty normal during any transition of the lake. The upper part of the south basin has very cloudy water, I have found trout at the seams but not many further into the worst of it. However, the water is much cooler, but the visibility is reduced to about 1.2ft.
If you’re getting strikes, losing fish my advice is to sharpen your hooks. I sharpen hooks on lures and flies right out of the package and after every fish or two landed. I can’t stress enough about having sharp hooks on short striking fish. We’ve also been holding them with the boat rather than grabbing the rod right away. That’s gotten more fish to the boat than setting immediately. We pretty much know immediately when a chub hits vs a trout….big difference on the rod and the fight. One can waste a lot of time on chubs so we aren’t even stopping trolling bringing in that trash. Every fish on a topline and as low as 7ft deep has been a trout.
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. I switch lures on one rod between bites, but I don’t generally take out what has worked and by doing so, it’s pretty much the one that will get the fish in the boat once they come on again.
It’s been tougher catching for the average angler since the water got cloudier. As a suggestion, turn off your fish ID on your depth finder and reduce the sensitivity a little, you’ll see a big difference regarding artifact on your depth finder screen. We can see a lot of false “fish” readings on fish ID as algae’s begin to die off and drift down. When you see that “fish” layer 25ft thick from the bottom up, everywhere on the lake, generally that’s what it is. Turning off ID and turning down sensitivity will clean that up and at least you’ll know what is below you. We see a lot of diagonal lines in this layer, just remember, fish show up as arch’s not diagonal lines.
Locations: From The Springs to Eagle’s Nest has some fish...mostly outside the ledge but it changes daily. Miners Pt was holding some scattered trout. Pikes Pt has a few more trout too this week. Weeds can shift so check it out, if its too bad, move on. On the east side I’ve had the most success off the south edge of Miners Pt south side to just north of Eagle’s Nest to the point south of Eagle’s Nest. The bay out from Camp Ronald McDonald is also holding some trout mixed with chubs. Just out over the depths in the middle of the lake has been good for a trout or two on toplines. The west side has been good for us, however, mostly in close and shallow. But we caught fish all day there. Once getting up by Slough Pt the water color has taken a dramatic change. Water moving south from Spalding has dirtied up the north end of the south basin big time. In that browner water, pearl/white, yellow and chartreuse might show up better than anything else, black or dark brown can help contrast. It won’t hurt a bit to use an attractant and leave a scent trail right now. Not sure if big numbers of trout will move up into the brown water off the south side of Pelican Pt or the Youth Camp for a while, but we’ll be checking it. Kind of a first for the dark brown sludge line being so thick between Slough and Pelican.
Bait under bobbers: The bait bite really hasn’t been on hard the last few years. If that’s what you have to do or want to do, stagger the water column. However, with the trout rising in the water column, this is the time a free line starts working well. Usually tending a freeline can cover a swath of the water column if the trout are scattered in depth. I usually allow about a 5 minute free fall drift and gently reel back in to relocate. Allow the line to sink with the weight of the worm, don’t let a twist in the line hold up the drift, feed it if you have too. A few folks have caught a couple dunking worms, but not always filling the boat limits and getting quite a few chubs. Consider using some orange, green or beige power bait with a smaller nightcrawler (or half of a nightcrawler or mini crawler) or just by itself. It has been known to hold it’s own for fishing here.
From shore: The standards are basic night crawlers, power bait or jigs under bobber’s. Even meal worms can entice these trout. For jigs, typically small ones in olive, cinnamon, orange or brown…pretty soon small minnow patterns will work. Casting lures, spinners and spoons can also be productive but more so when the trout start chasing minnows, and the minnows are boiling on the surface, casting a small spinner through the mass can be deadly (generally black-yellow dot or yellow-black or red dot). Casting red/nickel or red/gold Cast Masters has also been a good go to. It won’t be long before we’ll see trout coming in closer to shore now. If I can get them in shallow water, so can you. October is just around the corner and the water is cooling off a little earlier this year. 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 and picks up again as fall begins to appear. 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 (below the water tower). The ledge is still accessible with a good cast from shore due to the lake remaining relatively low. One can also traverse the steep bank below the water tank. Getting down isn’t that hard, getting back up is a bit more of a challenge. Christie has been holding some smaller fish and few fishermen, timing isn’t predictable yet. 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. It’s still best to use a boat or kayak to access the deeper water. But if that’s all you can do, by all means give it a shot! It isn’t unusual to see trout push the minnows so close to shore the minnows beach themselves. Keep an eye on the minnows, pelicans and grebes (of which we have low numbers of so far compared to years past).
Fly Fishing: October is coming. The aquatics are there for the taking. Shrimp larva has been more prolific this season. It also depends on time of day and location. Be prepared with a sink tip or sinking line though. Consider a small minnow pattern too. We are seeing trout come up higher in the water column this week. So the changes I was expecting are beginning to happen. We’ve done pretty well trolling flies in the shallow rock piles and ledges along the west side this week. Orange has been working well. Remember that as water temps cool down below 61F, the shrimp and scuds begin to turn orange or brassy orange for adult shrimp. Orange is quite a natural color for this lake.
Always prepare for the worst & accept the best regarding the weather. Thunderstorms are normal, passing showers are normal. Cooler one day, warmer the next. One thing that will remain a constant will be cooler overnight temperatures from here on out. It isn’t unusual to see thunderstorms roll through even through early October before the real storms start passing through. Remember that a boat on the water is the highest point when lightening strikes. The best thing is to just head in and get off the water. When beaching your boat off the campgrounds, consider that the winds change the lake elevation from PM to the next morning. Fore and aft anchors and a long rope to shore is a good idea, bow out. Tarps are always good to bring. So come prepared for cool mornings now. It will start getting cold before too long. We are seeing yellow jackets and wasps increase and they aren’t happy with cold mornings…out prolifically during the day foraging. If you’re allergic, be sure you have your medication with you.
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.