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Lake Conditions and Lake Elevation
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Roads are plowed to the marina from highway 139. A1 remains closed. But the lake is mostly iced over from shore to shore. We are not quite to a foot yet from just local weather but we should get there soon. We aren’t predicted to get much snow out of this coming storm….but the cold temps we’ll most likely see….well, we’ve been negative to single digits so we’ll continue to see that for a few days for our low temps. High temps around freezing…so the lake ice isn’t going anywhere unless a big wind breaks it up!
We are heading towards our early spring. I do expect the creeks to drain a bit once things warm up. Our ground has been soaking it up and isn’t frozen deep or hard. Might take a day or so but it’s soaking in. We have seen below zero temps through April and have seen 31″ of snow fall on the first day of Spring….it’s just different. But we’ll start seeing some changes coming.
A few inches of water shows more dramatically up north than down south. But, we still need to get to last years elevation before we can get through the season launching…..that will remain the question.
The ice floes in other areas can drift with current or a breeze. With the warmer temps and rain, it’s not uncommon to see ice break from the north & drift around. But we did ice over….finally. We’ll see how long it takes to ice out. Generally winds break things up and push the ice to shore somewhere.
So right at the moment there’s little to no open water to fish in. The ramp is NOT plowed & I wouldn’t advise trying till we melt off the recent storm deposit. Depending on temps, it could take days and it could take weeks.
The difference throughout the drought and low water has been the dissolved oxygen level, washed out thermocline, cyanobacteria cautions and green water. Our food supply has also changed due probably to loss of habitat for leeches, damsels & other aquatics. What has become prolific is daphnia. A type of bug, water flealike crustacean that looks scuddy once hatched but only about 15-20% of the size of a scud. When you bring your line or down rigger it you’ll usually have some on knots, swivels, lure attachments and on cables and line cables, ball connectors. It appears as a translucent blob with a tiny black spec in it. Pretty much need a microscope to see the bug inside waiting to hatch. This is in clouds in the water column and the trout filter feed on it. It has mostly become the food of choice cuz the trout don’t have to work for it in poor water quality. However, it sustains the trout, it doesn’t grow them fast. Our 5 year old fish are about the size of 3 year old fish in better water quality.
Stay safe out there. Kayakers…..wear the dang life jacket. Why…..well, if your rods are tethered and your treading water….you’ll end up winding line around your legs. This did happen and fortunately our friend was rescued by a local guide. Had to be cut out of the line. So, let’s actually abide by the rules this fall and winter season. As water temperatures drop, so do survival rates if in the drink.
Scroll down this page for a list of elevations back to 2010. Our worst enemy for launching in gravel and silt IS PEOPLE POWER LOADING and OFF LOADING BOATS! This won’t change in the near or far future. It’s the nature of the beast on this lake. Doing this builds up a shoal of fines that accumulate in the launch channel and create a shallow rise just beyond it. Also dislodges rocks at the end of the cement causing a deep drop off. Please note that this is detailed in the Boating and Waterways boaters card course and test. We have only one launch to serve the lake…please don’t help screw it up before it screws itself up. LoL.
Expect some unmarked natural rock piles to be closer to the surface.
During this “climate change” I have not seen our water temps rise above any high temps I have seen in all my years up here….However, our last good icing over was in 2011. In higher water levels, we would see summer thermoclines keep fish deep for a month and a half if not longer. Drought years: Thermoclines form briefly and dissipate after a week to 3 weeks before there’s 1F to 3F difference between the surface temps and 45-50ft in July/August and dissolved oxygen levels are higher and in warmer temps. This has a terrible affect on the long term survival of a released trout in this high pH lake. The lake is generally in the mid to high 50’s on opening weekend, hit’s 74-75F on the surface at the peak of summer before cooling down. Cool down generally is gradual and begins in August. Sitting at around 65-66F on 6-29-22. In sync with most every year.
12-1-21: From Don Willis, Lassen County Surveyor: The results of our monthly Eagle Lake measurement this morning show that the lake is at the exact same level it was at a month ago. The elevation of the lake remains at 5091.96 feet as measured at the low-water ramp at Gallatin. Unfortunately, this is 1.76 ft. (21.12 in.) lower than it was one year ago at this time……”
11-1-21: From Don Willis, Lassen County Surveyor: “…The results of our monthly Eagle Lake measurement this morning show that the lake has risen 0.29 ft. (3.48 in.) over the past month. This is the first increase since last February! The elevation of the lake is currently at 5091.96 feet as measured at the low-water ramp at Gallatin which is 1.78 feet lower than it was one year ago at this time….” Note: pretty close to the amount of moisture received from the first storm!
10-1-21: From Don Willis, Lassen County Surveyor: “The results of our monthly Eagle Lake measurement this morning show that the lake has dropped 0.80 ft. (9.6 in.) over the past two months. We missed last month’s measurement thanks to Covid. The elevation of the lake is currently at 5091.67 feet as measured at the low-water ramp at Gallatin which is 2.25 feet lower than it was one year ago at this time. Unfortunately, this is approaching the low point that was reached back in December of 2015 when the lake was at an elevation of 5090.54 feet.”
8-3-21: From Don Willis, Lassen County Surveyor: “The results of our monthly Eagle Lake measurement this morning show that the lake has dropped 0.44ft (5.28″) over the past month. … The elevation of the lake is currently at 5092.47ft. … 25″ lower than one year ago at this time.” …
7-6-21: From Don Willis, Lassen County Surveyor: “The results of our monthly Eagle Lake measurement this morning show that the lake has dropped 0.42 ft. (5.04 in.) over the past month. This is a little over 25 inches lower than it was one year ago at this time. The elevation of the lake is currently at 5092.91 feet as measured at the low-water ramp at Gallatin. ….”
6-2-21: From Don Willis Lassen County Surveyor: …”The results of our monthly Eagle Lake measurement this morning show that the lake has dropped 0.35 ft. (4.2 in.) over the past month. This is nearly 26 inches lower than it was one year ago at this time.The elevation of the lake is now at 5093.33 feet as measured at the low-water ramp at Gallatin.
4-30-21: From Don Willis Lassen County Surveyor: “The results of our leveling this morning show that the lake has dropped 0.24 ft. (2.88 in.) over the past month. This is not good news for the month of April where an increase is typically observed. …. The elevation of the lake is now at 5093.68 feet, as measured at the low-water ramp at Gallatin. This is 2.13 ft. (25.56 in.) lower than it was one year ago at this time.” (Note: Nov 2020 elevation was 5093.74ft)
From Don Willis, Lassen County Surveyor: ….”The level was at an elevation of 5093.99 feet last month and was found to be at 5093.92 feet this month, a difference of 0.07 ft. which is under an inch. The small difference is likely due to different estimations of where the water level was thought to be by the rodperson. …..The level has only risen 0.2 feet (2.4 inches) since the beginning of January and Pine Creek is not currently flowing.”
1-4-19 Official Lassen County Surveyor Don Willis lake elevation 5094.33ft. Up 1.32″ in the last month. 10.56″ below last year at the same time. (Moisture in December in Spalding was 1.67″ as per my weather station at home)
5-1-18: Lassen County measurement 5096.12 (Peak elevation of 5096.7ft in 2017 was on May 20th)
9-4-17: 5095.41ft and lost .94″ since 8-6-17
8-6-17: EAGLE LAKE is dropping at a rate of 1.425″ per week since July 2nd. It is now at 5095.73′ and has lost 7 & 1/8″ during that time (about a month).
6-2-17: As per Doc Bateson our lake elevation perfectionist; 5096ft 7 and 5/8ths inches. That’s 5096.635’ it has dropped .065’ or .78” (a little over 3/4″) in 13 days.
4-18-17 Unofficial measurement at the Spalding ramp was 5096.54ft. Winds were blowing lightly so the elevation could be slightly off. Creeks are slowing down some now so we are probably going to see a slow down of rising. Any storm passing through can have flow pick up.
4-3-17 Lassen County Official Measurement: “We made our monthly visit to Eagle Lake this morning and found that the lake has come up 1.38 feet over the past month. The elevation at the Gallatin Ramp is currently 5095.78 feet above sea level and the lake has come up 4.99 feet since November 1st of last year. It is also 3.22 feet higher than this same time one year ago.
3-29-17: 5095.64′ Measured from the elevation tags at Spalding ramp. A gain of about 2inches in 4 days. Flows in Pine Creek subsiding a little this week from last week, so we expect to see a little slower rise unless a storm passes through.
3-25-17: 5095.45ft (unofficial) Measured between the elevation plate screws at the ramp in Spalding. A gain of around 6″ from the increased flow of Pine Creek and just over an inch of rain on 3-21.
3-19-17: 5094.948 as per Doc Bateson. Up a couple inches in the last few days. We have about 5/8′ to resach 5095ft. Up a little over 4ft from our lowest water level last year and about 2 1/5ft above last years highest level. So we are doing ok, but could sure use a lot more.
3-8-17: 5094.5ft according to the markers set by Doc Bateson at the Spalding ramp. Up around a foot in the last month.
2-11-17: 5093.38FT As per Doc Bateson. 2.52ft higher than Dec 3, 2016 (which had held due to Oct/Nov rains). 18.29″ of moisture since July 1 here at the house in Spalding. So the springs were still pumping good over winter too.
7-3-16: 5092.23; almost 6″ lower than 5-30, but around 6″ higher than last year at the same time. As per Doc Bateson.
5-30-16 5092.72: as per Doc Bateson, up 1/4 inch since 5-1.
5-1-16 5092.7FT Officially as per Doc Bateson, the lake is only 5.76 inches above last year’s elevation, May 2, 2015. Expect similar conditions to last season. We still have 27 days to go. Hopefully we see more showers and hold on to that 5+ bonus inches to help get us through the season launching!
3-19-16 5092.43FT. UP 1.835FT SINCE 11-22-15. 2.52 INCHES HIGHER THAN MAY 2 2015. As per Doc Bateson’s report
2015 LAKE ELEVATION
10-18-15: 5090.61 and holding
9-30-15 5090.6 ft
8-16-15: 5091.2ft as per Doc Bateson’s measurements. We lost 2 1/2 inches in 2 weeks and are only 2.4 inches away from our lowest recorded level in 1935.
8-1-15:5091.4ft as per Doc Bateson’s measurements. We had 2.41 inches of rain in my backyard in July (2.68″ at Spalding’s sewer ponds 2 miles NW) and the south end had more than we did up north but it helped counter evaporation.
7-4-15: 5091.70ft as per doc Bateson.
6-20-15: 5091.83ft; now just 9.96 inches from our lowest recorded level in 1935. (lost approx 4″ in the last 20 days.
6-1-15: 5092.16ft now just over a foot from lowest recorded level in 1935
5-2-15: 5092.22ft as per Doc Bateson. About 1 ft 3 inches above lowest recordered level in 1935.
July 28, 2013 5094.44 ft, about 5094 ft 5 inches.
July 7, 2013 appears to be about 2-3 inches below 5095ft…. or 5094ft 9-10 inches or so. Unofficial. Going by the end of the cement at Spalding ramp being out of the water & taking chances that the end of the cement is at 5095ft elevation.
June 1, 2013 was around 5095ft 1 inch. About 6″ of cement in the water at Spalding ramp.
4-11-13 5095.5 ft (unofficial by the markers at Spalding ramp)….I guess my estimate was only 3/4 of an inch off. Not bad for a girl ehe?
Ending Nov 2012 5093.70