ROAD CONDITIONS
  
  THIS LINK ALSO SHOWS THE AMOUNT OF SNOWFALL AND RAIN TOTALS IN THE LAST 24 HOURS, CLICK ON THE DOTS.  GREAT INFO FOR TRAVEL.
 
3-20-19
 ****SPEED LIMIT ON LOCAL HIGHWAYS IS 55 MPH  **** 
Although, that isn’t always the safe speed. 
JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE 4 WHEEL DRIVE DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD DRIVE 55.  DON’T PUSH THE PERSON IN FRONT OF YOU, SLOW DOWN. COLD TEMPS UP THIS WAY WILL KEEP THINGS ICY and FROSTY ESPECIALLY IN THE NORTHERN EXPOSURES AND IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS. FAIRLY GOOD CHANCE FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER THRU SATURDAY

USFS Road 21:   Snow. Snowmobile trail until further notice.

Wildcat Road(s): South: For snow mobile and ATV access for winter.   Sloppy later in the day.  Next week warms up so this road will be a real mess even for snowmobiles
  
A-1 Eagle Lake Road south from 36CLOSED TO VEHICLES BY LOCKED GATE FOR THE WINTER/SPRING. 
 
A-1 Eagle Lake Road north:   OPEN.   Maintained but can still be quite icy in the morning hours after a storm event.  So be careful. Good shape all in all.
 
Highway 139: ok. Rocks have been falling on the road on the grade coming up from Susanville, as well as near the grade at the old Stones Ranch.  Little to no snow along the lake shore north basin. Be watchful DEER ARE PRESENTLY MOVING.  Freeze/Thaw generally help the rocks fall as do rains.  We can see areas where snow falls for a few miles, then clears up. Varying micro-climates.  Just be careful.   NOTE:  Do not try to drive out onto the frozen lake or lake shore.  The crust along the shoreline isn’t strong enough to support a vehicle and neither is the ice sheet when it appears.  Don’t be stupid.  Every year people try and every year they get stuck.  LoL.  Expensive tow out folks. Slow down.
 
Highway 32: Check CA DOT Road conditions    WATCH FOR FALLING ROCKS IN THE ROADWAY.  This road has always been one for deer and wildlife crossing the road in front of you, year round.  Check CalTrans site. Take your time, often see chain control, deal with it. 
 
Highway 36:  Check  DOT  for road conditions and chain controls during a storm event.  See weather cams for road conditions.    Caltrans maintained.  This road can see a good snow fall during a storm event.  Take caution, check conditions, chain controls and slow down!! Fredonyer pass is generally the worst area during and after a storm event and Chester and Westwood can also be problematic.  Slow down, take your time and live. Check the weather cameras.  Don’t travel if you don’t have too during storm events.  Chester to beyond Mineral has more snow. All plowed but still along the sides of the roadway and can melt during the day causing icy spots once it freezes again.  It will clear up, just take your time.
 
Highway 44:   See Road Cameras and check conditions.  This road can close temporarily if there is an accident, heavy snow or a storm event.  So keep your eyes open.  Slow down. Allow for slower travel time & get to your destination safely.  Still seeing freezing and below freezing temps overnight and into the morning so anything that was wet can get icy during those times. 
 
Highway 395:  See Road cams and check conditions .  Can get icy during a storm event and yes, it can snow on this section of road.  WATCH FOR DEER, ELK AND ANTELOPE ALWAYS.  HEAVY WINDS CAN CAUSE DELAYS FOR HIGH PROFILE VEHICLES ANY TIME OF THE YEAR.  Those that don’t head the warming, often end up turned over, wrecking or hitting someone else. CHECK WIND FORECASTS ON THE NOAA LINK ABOVE WHEN COMING FROM RENO or LEAVING SUSANVILLE AND DRIVING A HIGH PROFILE VEHICLE.  ALSO CHECK CHP SUSANVILLE FACEBOOK PAGE.  Can be a white knuckle butt pucker drive during high winds.  Slow down.  CalTrans sign at 36/395 junction in Susanville as well as one in Reno.  Blowing sand drifts (zero visibility and some 100ft long) can also become a hazard in high winds any time of the year.  Remember that deer are prevalent in the Honey Lake Valley all year long.  The “Locals” name for 395 to Reno is “BLOOD ALLEY”.  Drive it often enough and you’ll understand what we mean.  Not always animals either.  Check Nevada DOT’s Video Gateway.  Really nice traffic cams for Reno. Zoom into map and more cameras show up.
 
Check the road cameras and conditions at the links above.
 
><)))(*>   THE “REEL” WEATHER     <*)(((><
FISHING SEASON OPENS MAY 25, 2019
 3-20-19
SEE ACCESSES , QUAD & TOPO MAPS, NEWS AND ISSUES BELOW
AND VAL’S THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED & REGISTERED

Text or Call 530 249-1430 or email us
 
NOTICE

HERE IS THE CONSERVATION PLAN FOR PINE CREEK IN RESPONSE TO THE POTENTIAL ENDANGERED SPECIES LISTING.  THE GOVERNMENT FINALLY FIGURED IT OUT!  EVERYTHING FROM GENETICS TO GRAZING AND WATER IMPOUNDS ARE BEING ADDRESSED.  Then, something happened.  Eagle Lake Guardians are the only nonprofit whose funding goes directly to helping restore Pine Creek and Eagle Lake.  Also, the only nonprofit going into battle to get it done. If needed, we will be seeking some legal action to get the motivation moving forward.  No one else can say that!!!

    2018 UPDATE:  American Rivers has applied for more grants.  Won’t know until April for one and August 2019 for the other.  We pretty much got the same update as  6-2018. Still waiting for funding and applying for grants.  6-11-18 Preliminary update is that benefits to the fish aren’t being discussed.  Some funding applied for and not successful.  Here is a 6-18-18 partial update from TU  12-14-18: It appears that funding dried up and nothing was done this season.   At this time no state or federal agency is funding the restoration. Here is a “conceptual plan” NOTE: that CRMP has been “working on restoring the creek habitat for 31 years for “fish” and little to show for it. But the big impounds were installed under their watch.  We are told that backing up this water enhances the wells in Spalding.  If Pine Creek is double the nutrients, then why are Spalding wells not under continuous monitoring.  More later on that.   NOTE 2: it IS like pulling teeth from a live gator to get any updates.   The whole conservation plan is to prevent the trout from being listed as an endangered species and restore the creek for a native spawn. Super Ditch still appears to be capable of trapping local water but now it’s for flood control of the highway and railway.  LoL.   These projects will also be monitored for years to come and will need our support. There are a lot of other issues that concern our trout and spawning. THE CONSERVATION PLAN IS WORTH READING AND WORTH ALL THE TIME EAGLE LAKE GUARDIANS SPENT ON EXPLAINING AND EXPOSING PROBLEMS FROM GENETIC ANOMALIES TO MASSIVE DIVERSIONS OF WATER FROM PINE CREEK AND POINT OUT THE ISSUES THAT DEVASTATED THE WATERSHED TO PREVENT A LISTING BY FIXING IT.  IF IT ISN’T FUNDED BY STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR OTHERS, THEN IT IS A WASTED PROCESS.  2019  USFS GRAZING PLAN HAS CHANGED FROM THE DRAFT.  It really is unbelievable what devastation LNF has caused this lake and watershed for a few bucks in cattle grazing.  Over 4000 units (2/cow&calf at $1.31 per unit).  CRMP INFORMATION IS ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH EMAIL.  NO PUBLIC INFORMATION AT THIS TIME.  Email Tim Keesey CRMP at thetims3@yahoo.com and ask for email updates. The cattle grazing at the north basins lake shore is now being looked into and evidence of misuse is being submitted, filed and printed by Lahontan for their case.  We’ll be getting and update from Lahontan and we hope for good news.  Massive cow crap inundating the lake is showing, the increased grazing on and in the lake since 2015 is obviously causing harm.  They have certainly torn up the shoreline area over the last years of low water, and higher water covers up hundred of tons of crap which directly affects the water quality.  The wave surge from a windy day can push water 100-200ft up the shallow shoreline which carries all the fresh nutrients right back into the lake.  Eagle Lake Guardians have been asked to assist the State with water testing of the lake station.  Guardians are committed to this lake and will assist in any capacity needed.   McClellan Ranch has been very conscientious and one of the best when it comes to protecting the lake. They still get five stars.

Go to eaglelakeguardians.org and donate through the new PayPal Button.  

NOTICE

Updated 2012 to 2018 fin trimming  
  Also, 2017 creel data was barely worth posting statement by DFW Paul Divine “With lower catch rates many anglers stayed on the water longer, past our survey hours, resulting in fewer anglers interviewed (on top of the already lower than normal fishing pressure)”.  
Put some fish in the lake & the people will come and start planting the lake with 2/per pound like we normally would receive rather than planting bait at 4+/per pound so they have half a chance at survival from the pelicans you are feeding during planting. If fall planters do better then plant them all in fall at least the average person would be catching a limit.  DFW should ask for volunteers to float out in boats, tubes or kayaks to keep pelicans from eating them as fast as they are put in.  Personally, in my over 57 years on the lake, this biologist and DFW in general is probably the worst we have had in over 30 years. That’s what happens when you have an environmental biologist that doesn’t actually fish the lake, spend several days a week seeing and watching it, or conduct weekly water quality tests, especially during our lowest historic elevations since the 1930’s. Ya see, folks, no data, no problem.  That’s DFW’s new strategy right from the USFS handbook.  LoL.  If you have complaints about the fish and fishing complain here.  Paul Divine Biologist:  Paul.Divine@wildlife.ca.gov  530 254-6363  Redding office Supervisor: Andrew Jensen Andrew.Jensen@wildlife.ca.gov 530 225-2300.  Have we seen a few larger fish come in in fall.  Yes, there is more food in the lake than the low number of trout can eat.  Tui Chub population is way out of control.  AS OF 12-14-18 A TOTAL OF 144,135 TROUT WERE PLANTED IN THE 2018 SEASON.  ABOUT 80% OF NORMAL ALLOTMENT.  Not enough, but beggars can be choosers. REQUEST SENT FOR 2018 CREEL DATA and UPDATED FIN TRIMMING.  Long on promise, short on delivery by DFW. 

<*)(((>< <*)(((><       ><)))(*> ><)))(*>
 
3-20-19
Spalding Volunteer Fire Department donation link 
I challenge all property owners and regular visitors to match or donate what they can.  Remember, if you, your family or friends have an emergency up here, chances are that Spalding Volunteer Fire Department will be responding.  Any amount will help. We have a great crew and our small fire department needs our support!!
<*)((((><

NOTICE

MARCH SNOW SURVEY UPPER PINE CREEK USFS
MARCH SNOW SURVEY LOWER PINE CREEK USFS

 PINE CREEK HAS TO FLOW AT 500CFS FOR 3+ WEEKS TO GIVE US 1FT OF WATER. THAT’S AROUND 5.57 ON THE GAUGE.  6 IS MAX (approximately 803cfs) AND AT THAT POINT CAN CAUSE DAMAGE TO THE EGG COLLECTION FACILITY BUT ADD WATER FASTER.  LOWER FLOWS (IN THE 4’s) JUST KEEP UP WITH EVAPORATION.  PINE CREEK HAS NOT CUT LOOSE YET. NOR HAS MERRILL.  PAPOOSE HAS BEEN HOLDING ITS OWN SINCE EARLY FEBRUARY.  (do note that average % reflects drought years too)

Might see a little water come into the lake.  But, it has to flow fast and hard for many weeks to budge this lake elevation.  Slow flows don’t cut the mustard but can keep up with evaporation and Pine Creek hasn’t cut loose yet.  Not bad but at the local lake basin we still have a way to go for total moisture to reach 2017 by about 11-12″.  So far for snowfall at 74″, 2017 was 74″.   2019 season total so far 16.01″, 2018 season total moisture 19.49″, 2017 season total moisture 27.11″, so we have some catching up to do before we see 5ft of water in the lake as we did 2017. We’ll see.  We haven’t seen any significant moisture this week with the passing storms.  Merrill hasn’t started yet but it will.   Papoose has been dribbling since 2-8. The tributaries along highway 139?  Some are draining a little but mostly on and off depending on the temps, nothing that will really help the lake elevation but some water is fanning out along the grazing areas that hundreds of cattle were on BLM throughout late December 2018 so there’s a great possibility of some heavy nutrient loading.  Cleghorn has been up and down.  Mostly only patchy snow around Spalding.  139 has very little snow left as does Stones Landing.  The south basin? Patchy snow in Eagle Campground (lots of bare ground).  The marina is about melted out.  Merrill has patches that are deeper and less exposed ground.  Christie and the Circus grounds have a little more.  But all in all, our snow is going quickly.  New photos up in our gallery so check those out.  I’ve see posts of places where metal roofs drop the snow beside a building and people say they have 5ft of snow.  LoL.  Okay.  But shoveling piles and metal roof drops are not the real deal.  We plow and shovel out areas where we can measure the snow without the drifts and without sliding off any roofs or vehicles.  If we didn’t do it like that we wouldn’t be able to accurately measure the snowfall.  Looks like we have a chance for inclement weather this week, but I don’t think it will be much.  Time will tell.   I’ll take the rain right now.  It will depend on the timing and temperatures.  Pine Creek has been draining some local melt but the temps have been too cold this week to do much more than keep the dribble.  We’ll take it.  We’ve been waiting for the creek to bust loose but she’s mighty late this year.  We’ll see.  Once she roars, it generally won’t stop in spite of colder temps.  Slow down? Yes.  Stop? I doubt it.   So hold on, this hasn’t been shaping up to be the same.  I’ve been asked if the lake will fill up this year.  No I don’t think so.  But I am hoping we get to 2017 level and we still have just over a foot to go to get there.   We still have a way to go to reach 2017 elevation which peaked at 5096.7ft.  Currently at 5095.62 ft (unofficial measurement at the Spalding ramp markers 3-19). Bring on the deluge.  IWe’ll know pretty soon and by mid to late April we generally have a pretty good idea.  We need a long duration of big flow and at this point, we haven’t seen it yet.  The flows have been from 3 too 4.68.  The highest is barely over the dam/weir.  But at 5.57 it’s at 502cfs, at 6 (which is max at the gauge) it’s just over 800cft.  So let’s see where we go once it starts.  There’s some water up there, just depends on how fast it gets here as to how it helps the lake.  Hard fast flows help the lake, slowed down flow helps the fish.  Balancing act.  Yes, I have the USFS chart for cfs vs the foot marks on the gauge, that’s how I know what the cfs is.   The fuller the lake gets, the longer we need to see that 500cfs flow for that 1ft rise.  That’s the math. The smaller tributaries are negligible for helping the lake elevation out, due in part to the sheer size of the lake. Short duration of drainage.  We’ll often see them flush at high levels for a few days, then back to normal. The tribs on 139 flush out storms but even if they flow for a few weeks after the main flush, a dribble doesn’t even counter evaporation and often fans out before even reaching the lake.

Eagle Lake is in the rain/snow shadow and we don’t see what is predicted for Chester or Tahoe.  But we do get snow, we always have cold temps.  What we have isn’t bad but not great.  200% including 10 years of drought isn’t exactly massive and the 30 year average goes back to the last drought years.  A lot of folks have only spent the winters here during the drought years which the recent drought really kicked in around 2007/2008.  They haven’t experienced 24ft of snow in a month like we have.  All I can say is that 24ft of snow in 92/93 we met with just a snow shovel. No need for a ladder to climb up on the roof.  Every metal shed that wasn’t reinforced was flattened.  Every tent type storage was also flattened or ripped. We have since purchased the equipment we need to dig out and not kill ourselves doing it, and finally get to use it again. LoL.  Eagle Lake can have some really strange weather.  Try growing vegetable gardens in summer.  In our zone it can freeze ANY month of the year.  Rarely have we seen it not.  We have seen temps below zero through April in the past so this is nothing new or unexpected.  We have seen 31″ of snow fall in one night on the first day of spring too so if one thinks spring means rain, that’s not always the case.  We’ve also seen snow fall on opening weekend in late May as well as the Fourth of July. But we’ll take everything Mother Nature tosses our way.  The forecasts have been funny.  When they say we’ll get 2 ft, we get a few inches.  When they say little to no accumulation we get 6-12″.  LoL.  We just wait till it’s over before we measure.  LoL.  The lake remains low and we could sure use a good flood and we hope it’s coming.  But at least, it appears at this point we may reach 2017 but we need Pine Creek to get going.  Hoping anyway.  We’ll see.  In no way do I believe it will the lake fill up with 10ft of water with what we have right now.  Lets get to last years high water, then shoot for 2017 level and anything above that will be a good thing.  I would rather see several inches of rain now.  Everything that falls locally has a direct affect.  But at this point, well just have to wait and see.  The entire lake is now open water so evaporation rates are part of the equation.

We are seeing some of our migrating birds arrive in small numbers.  This week, tree swallows are showing up, tricolor blackbirds, spotted towhee’s, a couple of finches. A few more species showing up every day. An osprey was checking things out in the Slough but didn’t stick around.  Probably moved to where the fish are out in the lake.  But all in all it’s very normal to see them begin to return in March.  Besides, snow melting, warmer temps, creeks dribbling and the upcoming spawn, the return of the tweety birds is my favorite time of year.  We had some western and eared grebes remain over winter.  That isn’t unusual, the south basin only froze over for a few days and pockets of open water remained.  In my last video, there were a half dozen sitting in a pocket by the marina. LoL.  We have quite a few species of water fowl, swans and geese hang out over winter.  But the sentinel pelicans are probably already checking out creeks.  Once there are fish, there will be hundreds in a very short time.  Mostly within a day or two.

 See lake elevations here.

Here’s what NOAA has to say:  Note that these change all the time so always check the links in the chart.  NOAA is pretty accurate for the most part.  Ventusky is great for many other weather related things and their wind charts are VERY accurate.  Barometric pressure, moisture also pretty darn close to mine here at the house. The link above goes to the website which works great on your desktop or laptop.  I love the ventusky app on my iPhone (iOS and Google +) but you will have to make some setting changes for F, mph, inches and barometer. By far, my favorite real-time weather app.  Using the menu you can see NOAA snow cover, wind gusts, direction and swirls, precip amounts, barometer and just about everything you can imagine.  Seems to be one of the more accurate fofr real data.  Another very accurate iphone app is Dark Sky, I haven’t seen it on Google+ or Microsoft Store.  Wind predictions have been right on with Dark Sky.  I really haven’t found Accuweather app to be all that accurate for our location but they are doing better here and there.   Many models are taken from Susanville weather.  And we are a far cry from that but Ventusky has a different model and it’s been very reliable and spot on for real-time, especially the winds and temps.   The weather chart above tracks the local precip, snow, wind and now has links to NOAA, Ventusky link and the webcam at the marina parking lot.  this takes you off site  There’s no real depth to the photo of the parking lot so when it’s white its hard to see how much or how little snow there is.  But it’s a view. 

Tonight

A chance of rain showers before 11pm, then a chance of rain and snow showers. Some thunder is also possible. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 29. Southwest wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Thursday

A chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 44. Northwest wind 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

Thursday Night

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26. West wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light southwest in the evening.

Friday

A 40 percent chance of showers after 11am. Partly sunny, with a high near 45. Calm wind becoming southwest around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Friday Night

Rain showers likely before 11pm, then rain and snow showers likely. Cloudy, with a low around 27. Chance of precipitation is 70%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible.

Saturday

A chance of snow showers before 11am, then rain and snow showers likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 41. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

Saturday Night

A slight chance of rain and snow showers before 11pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 18.

Sunday

Mostly sunny, with a high near 46.

Sunday Night

Mostly cloudy, with a low around 25.

Monday

A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.

Monday Night

A chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 26.

Tuesday

Rain and snow likely. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.

><)))(*> ~ <*)(((>
 
Of course we also need more trout planted for the future (this year isn’t it but more than in the last 6 years).  We were told we would get 170,000 trout planted in 2018, we got 144,135.  Some of those 4 to 5″ trout planted in spring most likely didn’t make it long.  2018 was a tough fishing for most folks during the spring and summer season since the massive reduction in numbers throughout the drought (which has only been half the problem the lake has). Fall was better fishing but then we didn’t actually have a lot of people, so even though it was fairly good, it was only by a handful of folks. A heavy fishing day was 25 rigs parked at the marina.  LoL.  We use to see hundreds between all the ramps but now only one single lane functioning for the entire lake.  Even in 2018, we are only at 80% of normal allotment and it will be years before these fish are big enough to keep.  Even when fishing picks up, the pods thin out quickly. Lack of launching availability, lack of trout being caught by everyone during the warmer part of the main tourist season, lack of water in the lake, blue green algae and poor water quality, has all taken a toll on our tourism and businesses. From what people tell me, they aren’t coming because of several things.  First and foremost has been the fishing and lack of catching in summer, the other is launching.  Most want to rent a cabin but don’t want to drive 17 miles to launch at a single lane ramp.  Or wait 30 to 45 minutes for other folks to get in and out of the water on a weekend.  But Eagle Lake Guardians are working on the issues affecting it all.  It’s a nasty job folks but someone has to do it for everyone’s benefit.  We don’t plan on failing.  Beat the dead horse to death multiple times is the only way to get things done.  We haven’t lost a battle yet, even though it has taken time to win for the benefit of the lake and trout.  We hope to have an update soon that might be very encouraging. Having a great following on this website definitely helps get the public involved into seeing what is going on, how the government manages  or mis-manages our lake and trout.  We thank all of you for being online here.
 
This year there were so many tui chubs that I was foul hooking more than were biting me.  LoL & that’s a bad sign if you ask me.  Since fall, they have moved out and down, not in their protective mode and laying low eating shrimp larva and other goo.  DFW reduced our trout stocking so dramatically over the last 6 years that we simply don’t have the numbers of trout we need to keep the tui chubs in check in summer (or other foods). With no grebe nesting for 5 years before 2017, we didn’t have the birds to keep the chubs in check either, so we have 5 years worth of chubs with no checks.  We have had more grebes the last couple years, but the damage was done by the time we had the new tules start growing for nesting.  Once the tui chubs end up in stage 2 schools protected by sub adults, the trout don’t bother eating them.  For the trout, it’s all about the young of the year.  After that it’s a done deal. Rarely do we see a trout with a 4-7″ chub in the belly. The grebes, pelicans and cormorants can choke one down though, however the babies need the young of the year.
 
DFW didn’t give us our “normal allotment” of trout planting (180,000) so expect to see reduced numbers again this year.  “2018 Allotment: 170,000 “catchables” due to low catch rates [duh, yep those tiny trout get caught alright]; 56,400 planted in spring at around 4 per pound.” direct quote from DFW. We didn’t get the 170,000 as indicated earlier by DFW, we only received 144,135 as of 12-11-18.  That’s only 80% of normal.  Fall plant appear to be back to 8-12″ fish which is better, some appeared to be around 14″.  We’ll see.  It will take years before this lake gets back to normal at this rate.  Not sure but I don’t think the right hand knows what the left hand is doing at DFW when it comes to this lake. LoL Every other lake gets bigger fish planted than we get and we supply the first generation eggs.  LoL.  We certainly can’t believe what they say one minute and then the next.  This is proven via email and is why we only deal with the state in writing.  Zero phone calls.  This way we have proof of what they say and what they actually do.  I am all for late fall, early winter planting.  In winter, numbers of the pelicans are fewer and they aren’t accustomed to the Dec planting so they aren’t hanging out at the ramp. The pelicans begin to return right before the creeks flow, cold weather and snow storms don’t really deter them, it’s more about the easy food supply & they don’t care what they eat, just that they eat.  They send sentinels (generally 3-4 birds) up to check on things in spring.  Once the creeks all flow, we have hundreds within a day or two. Papoose has been dribbling for several weeks now.  Started in Feb.  We’ll see the pelican sentinal’s very soon.  Our normal allotment is 180,000 fish at average 2/per pound (90,000lbs), we haven’t seen that number in many years nor have we seen 1/2 lb fish being planted on a regular basis.   The tui chub have over run the lake, a thought DFW never considered in the severe reduction of planting and size as well as no grebe nesting from 2012 to 2017, even 2018 we are 20% short of our normal allotment.  USFS holding back water from Pine Creek for grazing continues to be an additional part of the plight of Eagle Lake. 2019 grazing plan doesn’t appear to make much changes.  But, we’ll see, there just might be some positive changes coming.  We might see some larger fish here and there this year due to the massive food supply and fewer trout eating it.  DO tanking to nearly 0 in summer below 22 ft and the trout have to attempt to survive at 15 to 17 ft just to breath.  In part, to me, the increase in grazing the lake shores is to blame for the massive algae increase and cloudy water/low DO.  Thank 2 ranchers and USFS and BLM for killing this lake off slowly.  Guardians are working on a solution and water testing for nutrients will begin as soon.  In fall, a big day was having 20-25 boats on the water so basically less than 100 people were catching fairly nice fish.  LoL.  Not the masses we once had for summer.  It was easy to count 600 boats on this lake and everyone of them having a good time catching their fish in the past.  That ended when people couldn’t launch at multiple ramps or catch fish.  I’ve talked to several long time Eagle Lake anglers that won’t spend the money to come up here anymore because fishing is better elsewhere.  Launching, catch-ability and water quality/levels have kept them away for over 5 years.  We have lost our winter fly fisherman to Pyramid.  Sad what DFW and USFS have done.   2017 size was down from 2016 as per DFW Creel, so DFW “increasing the size of fish” wasn’t exactly the deal as per the data submitted as we always found the bigger fish and they didn’t run with the smaller fish.   Total lack of public trust now with DFW, USFS and BLM.  We’ll see if we can trust Lahontan Water Board, they may be coming around.  I and Eagle Lake Guardians refuse any phone contact, we want everything in writing.  
 
Over 5 decades, it hasn’t been unusual to see 5+ lb fish in fall, just because DFW stops creel census (due to lack of anglers mostly) and people stay out later catching and releasing (plus waiting later in the morning to contend with frozen fog and cold temps) certainly doesn’t mean that the big fish were not here.  We got em as did others.  With the reduced planting there just haven’t been as many and a hell of a lot less anglers throughout the entire season.  At one point our allotment was reduced to 75,000 (105,000 fewer), and in 2017 DFW raised it to 123,000 (still 57,000 fewer) but that had a lot to do with the lack of fish being caught by anglers than it did the lake elevation.  Unknown if the DO produced a die off.  So we are well below our normal levels of trout in this lake and it will take many years for any surviving 4 to 5″ trout to become even a pan size let alone a 2 to 3 pounder.  Also note that catch and release still has a fair mortality rate even in fall, especially when the trout is removed from the water, flopped on the floor, messed with until you get the hook out, clamped with a scale (the worst invention ever for a trout was the boka clip) and  dumped overboard.  Dead, generally.   Summer months has been proven to be detrimental for releasing, but not posting the recommendation kills off what DFW though was an over population of trout.  LoL.  Now they have an under population of trout and way over the biomass of tui chubs and that the food supply (everything) has taken over the lake.  DFW will never get the public trust again regarding the catch and keep, however, many of us old timers continue to practice it because we’ve see the devastation. We gut hundreds of fish every season, examine stomachs all year long.  DFW might cut open a couple.  LoL.  Analysis done by manipulated data, not actually being on the lake regularly or fishing, seeing the problems caused by their paper pushing agenda.  Trout are one of the most sensitive species and can’t be mishandled, removed from the water and tossed overboard.  Late fall fishing always picks up.  DFW doesn’t account for these fish because it’s either too cold or not worth hanging out to collect data from 20 people who might come back in around 3pm.  Basically we go out a little later in the morning due to fog and extremely low temperatures.  Remember, 2 out of 3 ramps/marina remain out of commission.   Maybe Pine Creek needs to be reconnected in totality for a few years.  
 
Over the reduced planting, by the numbers, this lake is STILL well over 250,000 trout short and a gazzillion chubs over populated.  This was very poor DFW management.  That’s what happens when biologists don’t actually spend much time on the water or actually fish the lake regularly that they mis-manage.  I would have said “care for” but that is far from it with our current biologist.  No one boat load of average anglers should be lucky to catch one ELT per day for 4 anglers let alone 1 in a week in summer.  Loss by hundreds of pelicans hanging out at the only ramp where these fish have been being planted isn’t part of the DFW equation.  300 pelicans in spring and fall can do some numbers damage to small dumb trout.  The birds had to follow the boats this 2018 summer, rather than the boats following the birds this year. Finally they were able to find minnows in close when the minnows moved into shallower water in the masses and to chase and feeding on the fall planted trout. I don’t mind saying that a pelican can eat 3 big 3lb chubs before it’s full.  That’s around 7-9lbs of fish to fill up a 22-24lb bird.  A 12″ or less trout is just an appetizer and it takes about 10 of those for a meal for a pelican. I would rather feed them chubs than have them get the trout. And I have seen a pelican swallow a 4 to 5 lb trout whole in fall as  well as in spring during the spawn.  It isn’t like they care what they eat, just THAT they eat.  I don’t mind feeding the birds at all and I really don’t think the anglers can put a dent in the chub population for many years, but we are giving it our best efforts until WE feel we have culled the population down to the right numbers.  I’ll be doing the same in 2019.  Obviously, we can’t count on DFW to do much.  LoL. Anglers (a lot fewer than in the past) will never be capable of depleting or reducing the population for decades. But, we will try for years to come. This is a man made problem & chances are that Mother Nature won’t be able to take care of the over population of chubs.

Eagle Lake trout are planted in larger numbers everywhere but Eagle Lake.  GMO E.L. Trout that is.  The trout are sterilized at fertilization before being reared and planted in other lakes & reservoirs.  So you are catching and eating GMO fish in every other lake but this one.  LoL.  Triploids and Diploids are genetically modified not to reproduce.  USFS is to blame for increasing grazing, taking water away from Pine Creek and the water quality issues that extensive grazing has done.  BLM is just as guilty of extensive grazing.  So we have a pretty big battle to fight to get the cattle moved off of and out of the lake and upslope where they can’t be as damaging to the Eagle Lake ecosystem. The low water levels and increased cattle grazing as well as increased duration has made for this green cloudy water, low dissolved oxygen and bacterial warnings.  Jeeze. Who wants to recreate in cow poop?

I don’t believe the birds can see through the cloudy green water to catch fish.  Only a few osprey remained after the spawn, pelicans were begging from boats.  The grebes can dive very deep…100’s of feet if needed (we don’t have that depth here) but the grebes are more adaptable to cloudy water.  People don’t come here to catch trophy tui chubs in summer. 20-30chubs a day was common in 2017 and often 2 to 4 at a time, same with 2018 season.  This is because they school so densely and when you run lines through the school you can’t help but have all the lines go off.  But the pelicans are fast at picking them up right away, just make sure they float.  Nothing goes to waste here. We don’t have the osprey we had in the past either and the eagles are also fewer.  Our resident eagles remain but no migrants stayed long at all.  Loons also in small numbers.  Between reduced planting, cloudy green water, more than the fishing has been affected by DFW.  We have many factors that could affect this lake for 2019 season.  From ash coming down Pine Creek, fire retardant and massive cow crap….all may have an affect on the algae blooms.

Tui chubs are very easy to determine on your scope.  They school in three distinct groups and generally well below the depth that the trout need where there is more dissolved oxygen (often scoping below 40ft).  Adult spawner’s, the nursery (several years worth, generally protected by several sub adults), and young of the year.  I call them by stages.  Stage 1, 2 and 3.  Tui chubs don’t need the amount of dissolved oxygen that the trout do and are often much deeper in zones where the dissolved oxygen is too low to sustain the trout and stack up from top to bottom in many cases.  This is a common occurrence in summer when the lake stratifies. So far in 2018 we haven’t stratified significantly so the trout are going to be found in higher dissolved 02 ranges again this summer.  Seeing a lot of bait out there now. I would rather see single fish in a spread on my scope than masses and by watching that I have been doing well at catching.  No skunks in my boat but there have been days I have worked hard for them.

In the north basins it’s much shallower but more visual as a carpet of chubs in early summer and is a good way to observe how they school when they move from point A to point B.  Over the drought years, the northern spawner’s had one year that they didn’t know where to go or what to do in the south basin (2013) but ever since then they learned from the southern spawner’s what to do & where to go.  Now so prolific it’s pathetic!  And since the grebes didn’t have any young to feed from 2012 to 2016 and the trout numbers were reduced the chub had fewer predators to keep their numbers in check and thus the population exploded.   Only a few trout had a minnow 4″ long.  Mostly because in the “nursery” school, the guardians keep the trout in check by running out of the school and hitting the trout like a linebacker.  Bamm!  The trout don’t even normally like to hang out with the chubs but often just on the outside of a big school or quite a bit above them.  We often have to get through the chubs to find the trout though.  And NOTE: you can smell the tui chub in the air.  They do release a gas when transpiring and in dense numbers it’s very obvious.  The minnows of the year are very “smelly” so in late summer and early fall, follow your nose & you’ll find the trout.  Am I culling chubs?  You bet I am.    4-6inch trout aren’t going to eat a 4 to 6″ tui chub and unless the adult chubs are within a few feet of the surface, the pelicans can’t catch em.  LoL.  Here we go again. We do have some new tules from the low water point so there’s more habitat for grebe nesting.  As long as we don’t go low again, we should see grebes.

2016 was the worst year in decades for blue/green algae clouding up the water and decreasing the dissolved oxygen in the lake. We did see a return of the blue/green algae in summer 2017 and once we cooled down in fall it cleared up a little.  We did start off clearer in 2017 with influx of 5ft of water than we have been for several years, but it didn’t last.  Lots of nutrients flow in every year, lots of nutrients from the shoreline grazing were covered up with water.  The lake remains much lower than normal yet the grazing numbers have not decreased, they increased.  I believe we will continue to see this phenomena for years to come. As of 2018 the lake water was very cloudy and greening up before opening weekend arrived.  It was nasty all summer and by late August I know of two dogs sickened.  Visibility greatly reduced in all basins compared to 2017 season at the same time of year and after complaints.   Adjust to conditions.  After my cousins kids got sick after swimming in 2017, they don’t even want to swim in this lake anymore.  Even into December, 4 ft down was all we could see.  PS) I haven’t even let my dog swim in this lake since 2015.  Too far away from a vet and that it costs around $1000 to cure your dog from cyanobacteria.  Think what it would cost to cure your kid.  We have never seen the lake so cloudy and green in my 59 years, my folks 79 years than we have the last 3 years. Perhaps that 150 years of grazing is rearing it’s ugly head, low water isn’t helping, but again, if we had the water from Pine Creek for the last few decades, we wouldn’t be at this severely low elevation and would have survived the drought just fine.  3 good water years and only 4 ft above our lowest point since 2015 which dated back to 1939.  This isn’t rocket science folks.  It needs to be exposed to be fixed.

There is no doubt fewer anglers on the lake and fewer visitors during the season.  People want to catch fish, not spend a lot of money for little to nothing.  This comes from the old timers who haven’t been here for several years and their reasons why. I have also been contacted by people who camp here and this year they are staying here but fishing other local lakes.  PS) I don’t eat the fish out of Almanor for several reasons.) If you follow my report and do what I do, you will catch fish here too.  The lake is fishing different that it has in the past, you’ll have to adapt to the changing conditions in the heat of the summer and search as we do for a small pod of trout here and there and the dissolved oxygen is the key, rather than the temperature.   Those of us that are spend more time on the water than most visitors, are use to this adaptation.   It will take years, maybe 5-10+ for this lake to recover under it’s current management by DFW and LNF.  The increased cattle grazing is rearing it’s ugly head.  Thus the water quality, blue/green algae, higher salinity, higher pH. We need some fresh perspectives before this lake returns to it’s former glory, or dies off completely. We’ve seen a lot of hype going on in 2019.  We don’t hype conditions, or fishing.  We believe that if you know what to expect you will deal with it rather than coming up with all these expectations and being disappointed and not return.  We aren’t in the business of making money so we have nothing to gain.  Consider your sources.

For catching the trout, we simply had to adapt to the water conditions and loss of dissolved oxygen at levels the trout normally would be at.  For me, the trout stayed around 17 to 20ft deep where the water temperatures were 72F, just like 2016.  2018 I found more trout 12 to 18ft deep and as low as 24ft briefly before coming up to around 15ft for most all of the summer months. During the warmest water temps I found em 4-5ft deep. Much deeper & it’s going to be chubs in summer.  Of course, all levels got monster tui chubs, on just about every lure or fly made, due to their stacking nature in summer.  The chubs are probably going to pose a problem in the coming years. Birds gotta eat but they need floaters not sinkers.  LoL. 

Inflow from the creeks undoubtedly brings in nutrients from the massive cattle grazing and feed the algae once the lake water starts warming up and days get longer. Since the lake is lesser in volume and nutrients increased (no reduction in numbers of cattle (increased in 2014), just a big reduction in the lake) I believe is the reason the blue green algae is worse than in years of higher water levels.  The lake just doesn’t seem to be able to absorb and digest the nutrients fast enough now.  2016/2017 5Dot had a few thousand cattle grazing all winter off 139 at an average of 10 craps per cow per day…then the water came up 5ft and covered all that crap. 2019 around 1000 cows were all up and down highway 139 (photos in our gallery) Google how much a cow craps per day.  10 times on average, up to 15 times per day.  2018 winter, so far around 800-1000 cattle up north…several in the lake itself.  We’ll be dealing with that fertilizer for years.  Poundage from 150-200 cows … 9750 to 13,000lbs per day and in a closed system!! No Wonder WE are GREEN!! (Note that the lower the lake is, the more property is owned by the ranchers.  It is not beneficial to them to see the lake back up to recreational levels.  Thus, Pine Creek water will remain locked up for grazing and the lake will remain low.  Guardians are working on this problem.)  The dissolved 02 has been dropping below 22ft in summer (that’s what blue/green algae does) to levels that won’t sustain the trout for more than a few minutes so in spite of cooler temperatures deeper, the trout need the oxygen and are now regularly living in water temps above 70F during the summer months.  Either we support the cattle industry or the lake and fishery.  At this point, I don’t think the two can co-exist until water levels are allowed to refill.  The lake has been suffering for years, Pine Creek for decades of decimation and diversion (86 water impounds in 40 miles of creek as per USFS documentation, & they don’t like having to give some of that back to the lake after decades of removing it from the watershed).  Along with Pine Creek, so went the native spawn and restoration is limited by funding (purposely?).  Perhaps a new petition will put a fire under the butts of those dragging their feet for non-other than grazing.  Along with DFW manipulating any free passage upstream until the spawn is over and water temps rise to unfavorable levels, managing days and numbers allowed, only makes for another predetermined out come in regards to any native spawn. Which hasn’t even been discussed regarding any current restoration projects OR USFS grazing plans. DFW took eggs from every ripe hen trapped at the trap that they could get.  Opened the gate for free passage at first flow (for fish coming back LoL), then only 2 nights during the peak once the fish entered the system from the lake, and then once DFW was done collecting the eggs and the water warmed up, flow slowed down and the trout were no longer interested in heading upstream did they open the gates so the fish had free passage…back to the lake as water temps rose to 70F by mid April.  But several didn’t make it as the creek began drying up…which only took a matter of hours.  Quite a few were observed near the A1 and Spalding bridges trying to get back.  Those we watched, didn’t make it as flows only took hours to end.  Maybe this lake and OUR trout needs to take precedence for a few years. They do what they want regardless of the lake, fish or local economy.  We’ll see who gets notified when the brook trout are chemically killed in upper Pine Creek and if any local wells are tested for any chemical contamination considering that they all say they are improving the ground water by impounding water for cattle.   Lake Davis? Noted that Pine Creek water flows underground? Well’s? We’ll see.

5 Dot moved their cattle back to the lake shore near the old Stones Ranch and highway 139 this 2018 winter.   Wave surge from winds just pull that crap and urine right back to the lake water.   I do believe that it has a lot to do with our blue green algae problem in summer the last few years.  Finally, they cows were moved but not until after 4 contacts by Lahontan water board.  Several contacts were ignored.  We have some help exposing this problem in the media outside the immediate area (locally, cows appear to be preferred over fish and the lake).  The water up in Troxel Bay is very ugly, brackish, green and smelly.  People reported they had to fence off their property at Stones just to keep the cows out of their yards.  Fish haven’t been up there for years.  Over the last few years of drought, masses of trout haven’t moved up much above the Youth Camp and the north side of Pelican Pt, even in fall to late fall.  The cattle were west of Spalding Road, halfmoon bay and all along 139 and from Christie to Spalding along the west side.  But they aren’t supposed to be at the north ends of the lake trampling the lake shore or lake bottom, or to be crapping in the lake all summer/fall/winter.  This rule has been neglected and not enforced for many years.  Public awareness is critical to this enforcement as the agencies only care about one thing….and that hasn’t appeared to be the lake or fishery which is the livelihood of  Lassen County.  If grazing helped prevent catastrophic wildfires it certainly didn’t help Spalding or Brockman Lava Beds (or any other heavily grazed areas) out during the Whaleback Fire now did it?

In spite of a fairly good water year and creeks flowing in spring, there wasn’t a lot of trout in the tributaries in 2017 and 2018 actually had fewer.  We’ll see what 2019 brings.  DFW had to electro-shock on a great water year due to not having the numbers of trout in the tributaries as they expected and started doing the same plan in 2018 until the miracle March got Pine Creek flowing.  2018 we had around 1300 + fish coming up Pine Creek during this years spawn plus around 100 that passed through upstream shortly before the water flow dropped off and heated up (100 was reported to us by Paul Divine DFW, his boss Andrew Jensen corrected that number to 250, big whoopty do).  We had roughly 1700ish come up in 2017, around 1500 in 2018. DFW utilized every fish every chance they had.  A far cry from the thousands we used to see in the tributaries.  No trout have been imprinted near Pine Creek for years (not planted due to low water levels and the only access at the Spalding ramp in which the channel to the lake isn’t deep enough or holds enough water to get them to move out before running out of oxygen).  They were lucky that the fresh flowing water attracted any trout at all.  Stones hasn’t had enough water for planting so until that area gets more water, it’s doubtful there will be many if any trout in the north basin for a while.  These trout would swim up a garden hose if fresh water was flowing in it, but they have to smell it in the the lake before they know it’s there.  In comparison, it was normal to clean out and rescue 7000-10,000 fish in Pine Creek, 1700-2500 in Papoose and Merrill when the lake was at her peak.  Now we are lucky to see 1300-1700 in Pine Creek and up to 200 in Papoose and Merrill. It was not uncommon to clean out several thousand from the small tributaries along 139 either and return them to the lake as these tributaries attract fish but don’t flow long enough for them to return on their own.  Mostly only 6 inches deep and 3ft wide as well.  To me, that is a direct result of fewer fish in the lake and crappy water conditions.  DFW no longer bothers rescuing fish unless they see a public nightmare coming.  I’m pretty good at doing that.  LoL. Someone has to.  Dramatic difference & probably relative to why catch rates for the average anglers were way down from historic ones.  Some bigger fish, but so few and far between for the public at large. 

There were a lot of disappointed anglers out there for 2018 and 2017 season (2016, 2015, 2014…).  Even though some of the fish being caught were larger, there is no consistency in numbers.  They have been few and far between for many folks this season.  2018 season was very poor for the average angler until water began to cool off.  A buddy calculated from the planting numbers by DFW that we are around 250,000 trout short of our normal planting allotment.  Thanks DFW. ALSO, NOTE THAT NEARLY EVERY FISH HAS BEEN MUTILATED BY FIN TRIMMING.  MANY HAVE ONLY ONE FIN LEFT IF ANY.  TAILS ARE SPLIT OR HEAVILY NOTCHED.  THANKS AGAIN DFW.  ONE FIN TRIM IS OK AND IN NO WAY ARE ANY “GROWING BACK”.  REMOVING ALL THE FINS IS CONSISTENT WITH MUTILATION AND HARMFUL TO THE FISH.  GO BACK TO FREEZE BRANDING THE TROUT NOT MUTILATING THEM.  Every time a fish is handled through the spawn another trim is performed.  I HAVE RECEIVED TONS OF COMPLAINTS FROM ANGLERS REGARDING FIN-LESS FISH.  I’VE CAUGHT HUNDREDS, GUIDES HAVE CAUGHT HUNDREDS WHICH IS WAY TO MANY TO HAVE SAY A GROUP OF ANGLERS CUTTING ALL THE FINS OFF. DFW DENIES TRIMMING EVERYTHING AND SAYS ALL THE TAIL TRIMS GROW BACK.  LOL. Although they submit the trimming fact sheets and always trim fins and tails at the trap or any fish they spawn or handle.  I was told a long time ago that DFW will never admit to trimming all the fins off.  Just ask one. hahaha MOST ANGLERS DON’T MUTILATE AND RELEASE…AND IF THEY DO, THEY AREN’T TRULY ANGLERS.  AND IT ISN’T JUST AN ANOMALY, IT’S MUTILATION to continue to mark a single fish every time it’s handled.  We did have a fly fishing group that came up and trimmed fins on every fish they caught.  Although this particular group hasn’t been up in years (due to poor fishing), I seriously doubt they are responsible for several thousand fish in 3 days fishing.  LoL.  Chances are that the markings are to determine hatchery fish from an native fish in the future. But so far any native spawn restoration hasn’t been being funded by state or federal agencies.  Questions/Complaints: Paul Divine 530 254-6363 Paul.Divine@wildlife.ca.gov AND Andrew Jensen in Redding office at 530 225-2300 andrew.jensen@wildlife.ca.gov are those who you should file complaints with. As long as Eagle Lake and Pine Creek watershed is the cash cow for a few thousand bucks for grazing, the millions of dollars lost income, business and property values for Lassen County means nothing.  Perhaps the Lassen Pack of wolves will take care of these cows for us! LoL! They have a taste for beef & I don’t have a problem with that.  Cows run slower than deer, antelope or elk.  That’s the chances one takes when open ranging for profit at the expense of the public.  I don’t see why wildlife should be killed just so a domestic animal can graze cheap.  The ranchers own plenty of land, alfalfa fields and can easily feed their own animals an pollute their own property and water sources.  Eagle Lake and Pine Creek are considered as separate entities….unfortunately, therein lies the problem.  One can not survive without the other and the trout need both to survive.  Eagle Lake appears to have been sold out to the lowest bidder and left a deposit of at least 10 craps a day per cow…water is the new gold in CA and the state doesn’t care where it comes from as long as it benefits the few and not the natural habitat it was destined for.  Pine Creek is the lake’s ONLY tributary capable of feeding the lake substantial flows to replace evaporation and raise the lake elevation.  Pine Creek water shed belongs to Eagle Lake, not the cattle industry responsible for high nutrient loading and taking water from the lake.  Funny that the fish habitat hasn’t been discussed within current restoration projects.  But we won’t stop putting the blame in the rightful place folks. And we don’t plan on turning down the heat with just a little fix here and there, we plan on turning it up.  Forget about eating fish, start eating more beef but you might want to see what is in it first.  No beef is tested for heavy metals.  Organic means nothing.  All beef is considered organic if kept on a farm pasture or open range without testing.  Yep, you spend more for organic but get nothing more.  Check your sources.  LoL!  Cloud seeded water heading south is used to grow crops that aren’t tested either. And that cloud seeded water is what is being sucked up by the vegetation as well as the cattle.  Ever wonder why Alzheimer’s and Autism has increased substantially in the last 20-30 years?  I don’t. Aluminum isn’t the heavy metal being tested for and since we have no mining up here, mercury levels are always lower but definitely present.  So, perhaps we need DFW to add aluminum testing of the fishes flesh.  We have been being poisoned for years (crops from Delta water once it gets there) and don’t know it….we’re not supposed to.  LoL.   Agenda 21.  Look it up, it’s part of the plan to kill humans and decrease the human population without us knowing about it.  LoL.  Stack em and Pack em.  Nobody will be allowed to live outside a bit city.  Thank God I’ll be dead (hopefully) before that happens.  LoL.
 
Meadows to be restored in “flood plains” to cool the water down.  That makes a lot of sense while it bakes in the full sun due to few if any willows survived after being planted in the heat of summer in a dry zone. So far DFW and Lassen RAC hasn’t funded any restoration projects that funding has been requested for.  So, TU and American Rivers is looking for funding elsewhere.   That 1970’s study didn’t say what the powers that be wanted it to say so it has no references in any current data used.   But, finally referenced once so they still have a copy or they used ours online. Just didn’t reflect using Eagle Lake inflow to promote grazing over the health of the lake and tributaries.  It didn’t fit the agenda of the USFS to sell us out to the cattlemen so it was conveniently lost by the county and LNF…but I highly doubt they knew other copies existed so we scanned it and posted it online on Guardians.  But it’s high time that Eagle Lake, Eagle Lake Rainbow Trout and Pine Creek start taking priority over a few bucks in intensive cattle grazing.  This county, the lake and our state is losing millions of dollars in revenue just so the ranchers get cheap feed, free water and the feds get a few thousand dollars so they get a “sale” on the books.  At the expense of the lake, fish and businesses.  So more wolves the less attractive it is for the cattle ranchers.  Chances one takes for open grazing on public lands.  We are currently assisting in restoration of Pine Creek watershed.  Apparently, Guardians have been some of the only groups that have funded anything for restoration, despite being told we are standing in the way.  Guardians are about the native spawn and creek restoration to restore that native spawn.  We have put funding towards that where others have not.  So don’t believe what you hear.  Progress is slow.  CRMP has been working on restoring Pine Creek “riparian” habitat (under riparian water rights they can take as much water as they want) but there has been very little done to restore FISH habitat and the LAKE quality NEVER comes into play.  This needs to be changed.  We need a wet El Nino year.  With massive rains, heavy flows, blow those holes in the diversions and flush the creeks out into their channels & to the lake. 
 
The drought didn’t cause all our problems, they began long before the drought.  There are many players who benefit with the demise of Pine Creek and the lake.  Unfortunately, some of these players are also in charge of the restoration….the fox in the hen house needs to be kept in check.  Nasty job but if no one does it, it won’t get done.  We are certainly willing to do the job no one else wants.  It’s about the lake, watershed and trout, it’s all one system, not separate.  We are tired of hearing complaints from those who choose nothing to do with helping the lake and trout which both need water to survive.  We know who they are.  Pine Creek is our number 1 tributary and the main water source for Eagle Lake, trout spawning creek and has been destroyed over the decades.  We have always aimed at getting the three elements rejoined, no matter what the personal cost is.  Eagle Lake Guardians have been saving some money up in order to take the matter to a higher level.  This year is it.

<*)(((><

Why Lassen resists helping Eagle Lake that once provided for a lot of income to the county for a few thousand dollars in grazing fees is beyond me. $$$$ for the cattle industry?  Buddies? In its current condition, it isn’t the public draw it once was…fishing has been poor for many folks for several and that needs to change. Even if DFW plants more trout, it will be years before they are sufficient for catching, especially when planted at 1/4lb or less.  We have some plans up our sleeves, but we have learned not to detail our plan until it is done or some how, some way, something gets tainted.  Once this community is joined together to help the whole lake, things will begin to look up. Our definition is simple…save the lake and it will return to it’s former glory as will the local businesses and economy as well as promote for a natural spawn.  Eagle Lake Rainbow trout, Pine Creek watershed and Eagle Lake are fractured and the USFS doesn’t appear to want to put it back together.  So only one store/RV park is open in Spalding (at our peak, 3 stores).  Stones has RV sites available but the store and restaurant remain closed. No restaurant in Spalding (had 2 at our peak).  One local guide working (and working other lakes as well) when 7 had been our norm.  As long as the scientists and biologists don’t see the trout, creek and lake at its entirety and only see it as separate, Eagle Lake may be in serious trouble.  Unfortunately, DFW thinks this is good management and great public opportunity for catching ELrT.  LoL. The only ones they are convincing of that is themselves.  General public knows different.

We are still at a critical point when it comes to the native spawn.  Don’t believe what you might be told, unless it comes from Eagle Lake Guardians.  We hear some real, let’s just say, interesting things coming from others.  At least it’s good for a laugh. 
 
The electro-shocking for removal of the brook trout in upper Pine Creek has only curtailed numbers briefly and was stopped, I believe it will need to be chemically treated which will take out all the fish and probably most of the food supply temporarily.  I am certain that if this process is done, there will be public meetings for input (rolling my eyes), a half dozen EIR type reports/analysis (years worth) and if it is done it most likely will not be done while water is still flowing into the lake….but it does flow underground.  This lake is not like Davis where the tributaries continue to flow but the ground water does, but it does subsurface.  Ours stop surface flow for many months, although the ground water would still be of a concern since all our drinking water is from wells, including the water district in Spalding which is the most tested water supply at Eagle Lake.  We’ll see if DFW holds public comment on the chemical treatment when it comes.  And I will insure that new tests will include any other contaminants.
 
Pine Creek and Eagle Lake should be restored for the lake and the fish, not restored to enhance more grazing.  That’s what seems to be killing the lake from nutrients and removing water from the watershed.  I believe I got my point across so far but we are constantly keeping an eye on things.  Words matter in draft plans, tell me the restoration is for enhanced grazing & I will jump right down your throat!  It’s not about the cows, it’s got to be about the fish and we are the only ones doing that.  There is only one way to save the businesses and livelihood of the resort communities, county, lake and trout, that is to restore the drainage to Pine Creek.  Restoration of Pine Creek is essential to establishing a native spawn as well as getting the lake elevation back….but only a spawn is the driving factor…a minimal spawn at that.  But, what if they don’t have a healthy lake to come home to? We will post all communications on Facebook. 

It all works together.  Climate change, climate manipulation, impounding water to prevent it from coming to the lake as nature designed, less snow pack come into play, but on what should have been a good water year, we are still 9ft down from our prime, and over 5ft below what scientists determined was good for the fish.  Funny that Climate Manipulation in the US (west and east) is never part of the Climate discussion yet probably has the biggest effect on it. 

The petitions were never about anyone wanting the listing of the trout, they were done in order to get Pine Creek restoration moving forward and ignored since 1995.  Intent on original petition was to get water back to the lake and to allow the native spawn for the gene pool after decades of manipulation of the fish…all after CRMP screwed things up.  Unfortunately, the scientists are only looking at the trout, creek and lake as different things when historically, it all worked together as one.  We have seen data manipulated as well.  Perhaps, this is where the barrier to restoring anything has been.  As long as the agenda is to graze cattle for penny’s and lose millions in the economy and stress the lake and trout and increase the tui chubs to explosive levels, we are screwed.  The trout have to make it back to the lake and, that has happened but mainly in the same year they went up to spawn. Some, but no large numbers of trout have “possibly” returned the following year but only in single digits.  Other telemetry tags have been found in the dry creek bed after the creek stops flowing.  The more water locked upstream raises the water temps sooner than normal and that in itself stops the fish from moving further up.  Our first tag found was near the A1 bridge, another near the Spalding bridge, two others from fish that returned to the lake the same year they were tagged.  The ones found in the creek were from fish that tried to get back but ran out of flow before making it to the lake.  The newer PIT tags are small capsules inserted under the skin near the dorsal fin so most people who don’t fillet their fish don’t find them until after they cook the trout.  Don’t worry, they are harmless when cooked and actually may retain information so keep them and send them to local DFW, or bring them with you when you get back up, give them to Karen or myself and we’ll make sure they get to the right people.  Getting the the trout back to the lake in the same year is going to require longer flows.  And I have no doubt that will require another study.  LoL.  Personally, I think these fish just want to get upstream, spawn and come back in the same year.  The system worked until grazing came in force in the mid 1800’s.  Perhaps 170 years of that is the problem and not the solution.  Anything that gets above 44 (rarely) would have to stay until the following season….and they might bring the minnows with them rather than head to uncharted waters 20 miles upstream from 44.  The creek needs to flow cooler and longer to the lake.  The minnows need water to survive long enough to make it to the estuary where there would be plenty of protection, food and cover if the lake was back to normal. The water that is slowed down to improve grazing warms up too fast.  Of course the flows are dependent on what winter and spring brings.  That’s a no brainer. If weather manipulation wasn’t occurring, would we have better snow pack in our watershed or at the lake? We’ll never know because the weather manipulator’s won’t be stopping anytime soon.  

 By not listing the trout, we have less red tape to get and keep projects moving forward.  Where it began is about the fish, it’s ending in grazing.  Funding requests so far denied.  Maybe it’s the plan that needs changed for funding to be secured? So something has to change.  We may see a native spawn decades from now, but without a lake, what’s the point?  Supposedly, the “restoration” for the native spawn has been going on since 1986 & all they did was mess it up worse than it was.  LoL The big impounds for grazing water were installed and finished up in 2005.  Where the lake has gone from that point….is down.  As long as this lake is below 5100ft elevation, the trout in the lake are threatened.  Every report shows that, & every agency knows that, but has done nothing.  It wasn’t all from the drought.  Mother Nature will respond once the attitude of the water diverter’s change. The lake had been robbed for decades and as water levels dropped, the robbing didn’t stop.  We aim to keep the changes coming, regardless….even if we have to sue to get it.  
 
Too bad people can’t catch what they used to, if they could they would be here in spite of only one ramp to serve this lake.  DFW really screwed this lake up by severely reducing the trout population, increasing the tui chub population and not conducting water quality testing regularly.  Many thinking it’s a waste of time and money to come up, fish for 38 hours with 5 rods in the water and be lucky to catch one! Campgrounds with lots of empty spaces, store struggling, no food & Stones Landing restaurant, bar and store still closed.  Well, folks, I am certain that if the quality of the fishing was like it was in the past, more people would be here fishing.  Unfortunately, other lakes have better fishing so folks are going where they can have fun.   A 3 to 4+ pounder hasn’t been uncommon in fall/winter for the drought years either. We have photos online to prove that point.  But the bigger fish meat quality isn’t nearly as good as the smaller 2 to 3 pounders. I would rather see folks catch limits of 2 to 3 lb great quality fish than to spend a weekend or two weeks than catch 1 or none.  I think this  lake has some serious problems. I know there are a lot of unhappy anglers.  We had to learn from last years nasty conditions.  Trout stay in warmer water if there isn’t an ample supply of dissolved oxygen where it is cooler, perish when released when surface temps and water temps where they reside are over 70F or released over deep water once they expel their air bladder.  If they sink to the bottom, they can’t recover their oxygen. It was never about the food supply, the food supply has over taken the lake. 
 
My fishing partner and I are already planning on fishing other lakes in between fishing this one, including the 2019 fishing season.  Almanor is pumping out some big numbers of large trout.  Antelope is also a very good fishery.  But, check regulations for Almanor on how much fish one should eat.  We are used to good meat here at Eagle, so Almanor trout don’t cut the mustard for most of us.

Blue green algae a new normal for Eagle Lake fishes.  We have always had a little of it, but the last few years it has been extreme for us.  We really need this lake back to normal levels before we see her clear up significantly.  After 55 + years of great fishing and lots of big fish, we have found other lakes with better catch rates and big fish.  This year we caught plenty of 5 to 7 lb rainbows elsewhere.  Countless other people have contacted me regarding camping here but fishing other lakes.  Why not, I am & I live here!! But I do have to keep some secrets!!   I’m just glad I had so many years of Eagle Lake before she ended up in the condition she is in now and Mother Nature isn’t the only culprit.

At higher water levels, the catch and keep recommendation had been posted for years during summer which was highly supported.  Not posting it in critical times such as blue green algae blooms (since that may become our new normal) I have always believed that we lose fish during certain conditions.  Was DFW wrong then, or wrong now? I have had a lot of other people comment similarly about that.  Personally, I believe it hasn’t been posted just so the numbers of trout are being reduced.  General consensus:  DFW lost support for many things as well as losing respect of many anglers.  Most of us have lost all respect for DFW locally.  As long as we are paying high prices for licenses, we are going to catch and release.  I have gone barbless or micro barb hooks and NEVER remove a fish from the water to release it and avoid playing it out and never take a picture of a fish out of the water that I release.  They just don’t do well.  But, DFW doesn’t seem to care what you do and won’t compensate the yearly allotment to compensate for loses.  At one time, with higher water levels, our yearly allotment of hatchery trout was 250,000.  That was reduced to 180,000 sometime in the early 1990’s.  Since the drought, our lowest number was 75,000 and catch rates dropped severely the last few years.  In 2017 (our best water year since 2011) we regained a little at 120,000 but at 3 to a pound for the most part and in 2018 4 to 5 per pound.  So we are still short on the trout population in this lake.  Since it is based on biomass and tui chub population exploded (note that DFW has no clue as to how many chubs are in the lake when assessing “biomass” LoL) more trout might not be the answer.  The answer may lie in the reduction of or culling of chubs.

Without the lake at prime elevations (5106ft is considered full, 5100 is considered the lowest for the health of the fish as per all the studies), our watershed and our special trout are put back together, we have nothing. We need to get Stones Landing ramp back online (only water will help) so we can once again see Mariners Resort open up for business again.  We still have impounded water on Pine Creek and the green slime algae hasn’t exactly left.  We would have probably come up an extra 2-3 ft had the impounds and springs been transferred to the lake.  What is it worth to you? It is worth everything to me.  It’s environmental & yes a political aspect as well, one has to be willing to step on a few toes to save the lake and make some waves, press the DFW and LNF on all counts affecting this lake and our trout.  We will step on more than that if we have to & proved that a long time ago. And, we aren’t done just yet.  I have watched the climate change and tracked it since I lived here year round.  It does have something to do with it but 86 impounds and water diversions on our main spawning and feeder creek has had devastating affects all for just one or two ranchers at most for cattle. Headway is slowing being made. Sound familiar IE National Geographic Water and Power series, Monterey Agreement, Agenda 21 and privatizing public resources is here.  Federal Gov might own the lake but the State owns the water.  However PG&E has been manipulating our weather for many decades by cloud seeding for Lake Almanor and Lake Shasta, again, Monterey Agreement and sending every drop of water out.  This has potentially reduced our snow pack as well as our local moisture.  So it’s not all Mother Nature’s cycle.  We have a man made problem.  Regardless of having a fair or good water year, the lake is still below all recommended levels for the health of the lake, vegetation and trout.  Losing Eagle Lake and blaming it on climate change is mute when the climate is being manipulated to begin with.  AND THAT is never a part of the climate discussion.  Of course the trout and native spawn aren’t part of the creek restoration projects yet either.  LoL.  Eagle Lake isn’t saved yet.  Eagle Lake Guardians are still working on issues and another plan that if we disclose it, the pool will be tainted so we’ll leave it at that.

But, slowly, the impounds are going, wells were coming but no longer appear to be being considered.  That restoration was the critical part of keeping the trout off the listing.  The first two pages were about USFS and State employees having immunity from past poor decision making regarding Pine Creek (in which well over 80 water projects exist with only 7 permitted), We’ll see if that still stands after more poor decision making in contrast to the conservation plan.  The last impound was finished around 2005…our last year of good water was 2005/2006 and we have lost water in the lake ever since.  The critical part is getting the fish and minnows back to the lake before the creek dries up and water temperatures spike. Pine Creek has to flow, flush and keep flowing.  Fish need water to spawn.  If there is no spawn after several more years and restoration projects don’t get funded, then the trout are basically screwed.  31 years of “restoration” by CRMP to restore a native spawn and not much to show for it but intensive grazing.  And they wonder why no one up here respects CRMP.  LoL.
 
Also as a note, CRMP leaders haven’t even been on Eagle Lake or ever fished it.  Also, worked out of the Honey Lake Irrigation District….which is about more water for other uses.  Unbelievable?  No that’s just something normal for Eagle Lake.  Professional screw ups that don’t see the repercussions of there actions.  As a note; I will not talk to DFW without recording every conversation now.  Over the decades, CRMP has caused more of our problems than they have ever fixed, this is why people showed up at their meeting and were disgusted with their runaround BS.  CRMP has very little support locally, known only for cattle grazing over fish habitat.  Now CRMP is patting themselves on the back for restoration? I had a discussion with Trout Unlimited recently about the plan and other things that were not in the best interest of the lake and trout.   More to come on that issue.  Some one has to do this job folks, it isn’t pretty but it has to be done.  We are thankful that we have a lot of support from the anglers and visitors.  One fair water year isn’t going to cut the mustard.  The lake needs to be at an elevation no lower than 5100ft before it isn’t considered detrimental to the trout….or local economy.  So in spite of somethings going well, others are not.  And of upmost concern is enforcement of the signed conservation plan that federal and state agencies have appeared to be violating and not telling anyone.  Yes, folks, we are watching every move whether we say it or not. 
 
 
<*)(((><
 
Lake Conditions  for  water temps & Lake elevation by date
Ramp Conditions for launch ramp info.
Tips and Tricks  for ideas & set ups dialed in for fishing Eagle Lake. Most methods are covered. We make no claims of knowing everything about Eagle Lake, but we do know a lot about catching Eagle Lake trout in their native waters.
Eagle Lake Fishing Report on “Best Fishing Locations and Depths”
 
FISHING ACCESSES, TOPO MAPS   Note that USFS has a new app for quad and topo maps. I believe you are given the option to purchase them through the app. I love having the maps available on my phone no matter if I have signal or not.  EAGLE LAKE ACCESSES, QUAD MAPS AND TOPO MAPS: USFS QUAD MAPS OF OPEN ROADS AROUND THE EAGLE LAKE AREA: The links below go to maps saved from Lassen National Forest website. Any questions you have should be directed to Eagle Lake Ranger Station staff. I am only providing them for quick access for our viewers. More information on road closures in the Forest is available on their website. All these maps have the access roads pretty well lined out for you to access say, Wildcat Point (Pikes Pt Quad and Topo) or the Youth Camp from Gallatin (Gallatin Quad and Topo). On the larger maps, one can enlarge a specific area and crop and print the selected area on regular paper.  NOTE: I SAVED THESE TO MY IPHONE AND I HAVE THEM WITH ME MOST EVERYWHERE, helpful in names of places over Google or other maps/gps apps.  There are also some very good topo map apps that work when out of cell signal.  One is free (maps not as detailed as the pay for version which is older maps with greater detail).
 
(popular drive to see wildlife; County Road 105 & ends at USFS 21)
ZOOM IN You can also zoom up and crop specific areas of these maps to print. I personally did this myself to use to compare to other maps I had when bumpin’ along the dirt roads & believe it or not, there was some very good information on all these maps. USGS has just about everything you could ever need or want for maps…. Hunters might just benefit very well from downloading some of these maps and satellite images.
 
LNF HAS NEW ROAD MAPS OUT NOW ON THEIR WEBSITE.
Copyright 2004-2019 By Valerie Aubrey, Eagle Lake Fishing