ROAD CONDITIONS
9-19-19 
****SPEED LIMIT ON LOCAL HIGHWAYS IS 55 MPH  ****

36 and 44 still have some construction going on.

Gallatin Road to the marina: Still has some nasty humps and bumps in the straightaway after Eagle Campground and the second left bend.  Take it slow.
 
USFS Road 21:   Open.  Pretty good shape. 
 
Wildcat Road(s): South:   Good shape considering. 
  
A-1 Eagle Lake Road south from 36:  IS OPEN.  Watch for logging trucks entering the roadway.  Watch for crews clearing brush. Watch out for the potholes and shoulder sluffing. Watch for deer and wildlife.  From the recreation area to Spalding:  Expansion cracks are rough, check trailers, tie boats down.  Over the years of traveling this its a good idea to check for stress fractures in trailers.  This road is pretty much a nasty, bumpy, thumping piece of crap road and I hear complaints about it from towing tourists daily.   Start watching for lumber trucks and equipment. WATCH FOR CATTLE IN THE ROADS.
 
A-1 Eagle Lake Road north:   OPEN.   Good shape. Watch for deer and there’s also been some antelope near the road.  Easier route, better road from Spalding to Susanville in spite of being a bit longer, it’s just as fast.
 
Highway 139: Good shape.  Rocks can fall on the grade from Susanville.  Be watchful DEER and ANTELOPE ARE PRESENT and occasionally a small group of elk.
 
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 for any construction.  
 
Highway 36:  Check  DOT  Good shape.  See weather cams for road conditions.   Caltrans maintained.  Construction about 6-7 miles west of Eagle Lake Road.  15-20 minute wait.  May see controls overnight for a couple weeks, then just during the day.  Check road conditions.
 
Highway 44:   See Road Cameras and check conditions.  This road can close temporarily if there is an accident, there’s been some bridge work and some construction being done so keep and eye out.  Progress near 36.  Shouldn’t have too much problems.    Watch for deer.
 
Highway 395:  See Road cams and check conditionsCorridor has been smoky from the Walker Fire.  Some construction to Reno.  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, high profile or not.  Slow down.  CalTrans sign at 36/395 junction in Susanville as well as one in Reno show wind advisories as well as if construction is going on.  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, this section of road is also know for some very bad auto accidents.  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 CLOSES DEC 31, 2019
9-19-19
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 and/or getting the job done to help the lake.  Also, the only nonprofit going into battle to get it done.

    2018 UPDATE:  American Rivers has applied for more grants.  Grants were not granted for American Rivers/TU plan.  DFW granted DFW $45 for some projects and $10mil of that for studies.  One would think that with all the decades of studies, DFW would already know what to do. :-/  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 for grazing 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 but we’ve got a little more water in Pine Creek.  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.  One thing about storing water in meadow restoration is that A) it doesn’t reach the lake. B) The water heats up in full sun for 10’s of miles, by mid April 2019 we had peaked at 68F water temp at the trap which shut down the trout movement from the cooler lake for spawning. The trout need cold water, warming it up (no shade, no riparian habitat has been successfully initiated in over 35 years of CRMP “restoration”.  What might work for the west side of the Sierras, doesn’t always work for the east side.  We need flow and cold water, not hot water and reduced flow.  Artificial lakes remain holding back water from the lake….and fish.  
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).  The cattle grazing at the north basins lake shores and west shore is now being looked into.  Lahontan Board investigative Order for LNF, BLM, 5 Dot and others now public.  See photos contained within the documents. Massive cow crap inundating the lake is showing, the increased grazing on and in the lake since 2006 is obviously causing harm.   The federal government and ranchers have until 7-17 to come up with a plan that helps the lake more than devastating it. We’ll see.  Incomplete data was received, cattleman’s association, farm bureau and others fighting for the cows to keep pooping in the lake and tearing up the shoreline.  Lahontan continues to work on the issues, but very slowly.    The cattle 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.  Thus, more weeds and more algae. Eagle Lake Guardians have been asked to assist the State with water testing of the lake water at designated stations.  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 lakes.  They still get five stars.  5Dot gets -5.

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.  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.   Yes, there is more food in the lake than the low number of trout can eat.  DFW can’t get enough spawnable fish in Pine Creek for the artificial spawn numbers they want.  Hello? Again, fewer trout, fewer trout to come upstream.  The water quality needs to be better in Spalding, Buck’s Bay and Stones before large numbers of trout can be planted and imprinted to return.   We won’t know how many fish went up Pine Creek until review of video by DFW.   LoL.  Perhaps DFW needs to have two sonar counters for upstream and downstream tally.  The video is overly time consuming for having to watch months of video 24 hours a day to count.  The suckers don’t come in till late when water temperatures warm up.  It can’t be that difficult or expensive to upgrade from video to a directional counter.  Around 1000 were sorted this season at the trap.  Glad to see DFW abiding a little closer to the plan this year.  DFW didn’t get the number of eggs collected as they wanted.  Not enough fish in the trap.  Which has happened every year of good water since the reduction of planting.  Electro-shocking resulted in finding more fish but eggs over ripe. Trout were trapped above the lake, no DFW personnel were around to help rescue them.  Perhaps they can replace the losses. 

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9-19-19
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!! I can’t stress how important our Volunteer Fire Department is and having the necessary equipment only helps EVERYONE. They play a critical roll here for EVERYONE’S safety, residents and tourists included.
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Spalding was posted under a caution on 8-29, samples were taken 9-5 and we await results.  This is a precaution due to visual assessments and microscopic photos of the algae.  Just be careful with your dogs swimming.  Symptoms come on very quickly & holiday weekends are hard but not impossible to get into a vet.  Be sure if that in the event that happens that you inform them of swimming in the lake.  If the water is very cloudy, take caution in it. (Note: a part time resident fell in at the Spalding ramp and cut his knee and shin.  A nasty infection requiring treatment ensued.  FYI

It’s pretty ugly water up our way.  See our video gallery for the Flyover of the lake on 9-4-19

Low temps remaining in the low to mid 30’s, high temps 50’s to 60’sF.  Predicted to warm up again for a few days as well as clearing up for Friday and Saturday.  Sunday we have another chance for showers.  All in all, we need the rain, but warmer temps are coming again.  The cold morning temps can help put a little fog on the pond in the early morning, especially after any moisture falls.  Predicted to see 70’s to 80’s next week. We are seeing northerly winds which in general can blow through the night.  This is a normal pattern, it’s just a few weeks late.  LoL.  Its the time of year we can see our roads get frosty in the mornings so take caution driving/towing a rig.  We did get some rain this week.  In the last 2 days we are over an inch.  This morning well over 1/4″ so at least our danger of a fire is diminished substantially.  However, the dirt roads into Wildcat that had nearly a foot of fine clay dust in spots can become sumps for a while until it dries out a bit. 

NOAA changed their link info and ever since Accuweather has been a bit more accurate on winds, direction and speed.  Don’t really know what happened with NOAA but so far, the changes made are not as accurate as they were, however, they all differ to some degree.  I use several apps but still post the NOAA report below until I find one better, probably Ventusky is the most reliable and real time and it shows the wind currents and mostly in real time. NOAA has been regularly 10F to 15F off on temps which is Susanville model, so keep that in mind. Just be sure you have other apps….Dark Sky (iphone) Ventusky (great app for either type of device) and Accuweather are my most accurate weather data apps. Ventusky shows wind currents, speeds, barometer, temps and everything else, just click on what you want the map to show you.  Use it all the time in winter when planning a fishing trip to another lake after this one closes for the season.  It’s been right on.

Always come prepared for just about anything, any time.  Always bring some tarps, rain gear, gloves and stay safe out there always.  Sunscreen (anytime of the year). Right now our worst “bugs” have been yellow jackets and they get nasty with the warm/cold.  Mostly the worst at the fish cleaning sinks!!

Here’s what NOAA has to say:  Note that these change all the time so always check the links in the chart.   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.  Seems to be one of the more accurate for 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. The weather chart above tracks the local precip, snow, wind and now has links to NOAA, Ventusky link takes you offsite.

Today

A 30 percent chance of showers, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 60. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Tonight

Mostly clear, with a low around 32. Northwest wind around 5 mph.

Friday

Sunny, with a high near 68. Calm wind becoming northeast around 5 mph.

Friday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 35. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm.

Saturday

Sunny, with a high near 75. Calm wind becoming southeast around 5 mph in the afternoon.

Saturday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 39.

Sunday

A 30 percent chance of showers after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 71.

Sunday Night

A chance of showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 34.

Monday

Mostly sunny, with a high near 69.

Monday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 36.

Tuesday

Sunny, with a high near 78.

Tuesday Night

Mostly clear, with a low around 40.

Wednesday

Sunny, with a high near 81.

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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.  We are told that we will get 144K for 2019, now 170,000.  Some of those in 2018 were 4 to 5″ trout that were planted in spring most likely didn’t make it long, we did see a few in the tribs that were 7-9″ long that were most likely from that planting.  DFW didn’t get the eggs they needed in 2019 artificial spawn as they didn’t have a lot of trout in the system at the trap that were ripe and ready, let alone the water temps were warmer in the creek than in the lake and a lot of eggs were over ripe.  Need numbers increased as in reality, only a small percentage of fish in the lake come up the tributaries in spring.  But it is up from a 50-60% reduction. Personally, I think the lack of numbers of trout in Pine Creek compared to history is a direct result in the reduced planting and lower numbers of trout in the lake and no imprinting by not planting in the north basins due to low water and water quality issues.
 
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 in summer 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 for the average angler, 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. One ramp in Spalding may function for a while, Sept 2019 it is still usable but the channel is getting shallower and there’s about 4ft of water out in the middle off the ramp.  As of September, it’s very weedy and brown cloudy water.  I wouldn’t want to have to launch here, however, on test days it is faster but I have to remove weeds from my water pump intakes and be very careful to dodge as many as possible and get to deeper water to take off.  Channel is a little less than 3ft.  I advise people to be sure to check their motors for weeds and heavy water plugging up intakes and keep your motor up a bit getting through the channel.   Those in Stones have a 45 minute drive to the south end. Eagle Lake Guardians are working on the issues affecting it all.  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 have learned that we have to go for 100% and settle for half.  Either way, the lake will benefit.  We’ll go for what we have to.  We have been confronted by ranchers already so we are on watch.   We thank all of you for being online here.  We never had problems with numbers of trout for egg collection until DFW reduced the trout planting.  Of course during the drought years when the creek didn’t flow they had to electro-shock the south basin to collect as many as they could for eggs.  However, on a fairly good water year, good flow in Pine Creek and they still had to electro-shock.  Found that the eggs were over ripe.  Perhaps they need to consider adding more trout, electroshock ealier, not later in the spawn & perhaps imprint at Rocky Pt or Spalding in fall, they might help themselves when it comes to egg collection. 
 
2018 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.  Chubs in 2019 have been being caught earlier in the season and very prolifically being caught this summer.  It’s very noticeable scoping the lake….one doesn’t run out of chubs on the screen.  LoL.  DFW reduced our trout stocking so dramatically over the last 7 years that it doesn’t appear that we 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.  2019 we have much fewer grebes and about 25% of the pelicans we had last year.  Perhaps we’ll see an increase later this summer. 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.

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.  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 by the hundreds. The pelicans thin out but don’t all leave until the lake basins ice over.  They 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.  The tui chub have pretty much over run the lake, a thought DFW never considered in the severe reduction of planting and size.  Yet, DFW can’t determine how many tui chub there are, yet decrease the trout planting due to the biomass?  LoL.  Perhaps DFW needs to contact OFW since they figured it out for one of their trophy trout lakes.  When one can troll for 7 miles on this lake and keep catching chubs 2 to 4 at a time, apparently we have a problem.  Trout planting reduced due to biomass? But DFW can’t say how much of that is chubs?  LoL.  Kinda faulty science, or perhaps no science.  We’ll see what 2019 brings but 2015 to 2018 DO tanking to nearly 0 in summer below 22 ft and the trout have to attempt to survive at 15 to 17 ft at water temps 70-73F just to breath.  We are on this algae bloom crap within the depths since 2014 that is a first for Eagle Lake in depleting dissolved 02, we’ll be collecting water samples for the state, but we also have our own microbiologist team ready. 2019, so far we had a minor thermocline but by mid August, the trout were up higher in the water column.  Lahontan has been very lacking up here, USFS LNF rarely goes out on the lake, doesn’t perform water tests even though doing so is in their management plan,  BLM hasn’t even bothered testing any water and provides the largest cattle impact in Troxel Bay.  Eagle Lake Guardians and some of our members and friends have really been pounding the state.  And we are holding them accountable as well as publicly exposing the issues.  We feel that the Water Board has been working on the same issue for over 40years and it’s actually time to stop rhetoric and do something. We aren’t going away, we aren’t accepting no for an answer.  Time is up before there isn’t a lake left to save.  Interesting that we have to save the lake from those public servants who’s job it is to protect.  That’s way to obvious to everyone but them.  One thing I can say, the south basin is in better shape now without cattle on the west shore than it has been in years.  We still have water quality issues, but thankfully, no cattle are adding to it this season so far.  Time will tell.  We are awaiting results of the water board plan and decision.

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 in a few weeks, there just might be some positive changes coming.  Apparently, some may be a violation. :-0 imagine that? In part, to me, the increase in grazing the lake shores and old lake bottom is to blame for the massive algae increase and cloudy water/low DO below the normal depths for the trout.  USFS says no increases, but we’re out there seeing that the cattle come in well before time and stay well after the time they should be gone.  Apparently, so does the water board after testing, visualizing and having evidence collected. Thank 2 ranchers and USFS and BLM for killing this lake off slowly.  Cyanobacteria caution on the south basin only in 2018 because no one bothered checking the north basins.  But, we are on it this year since no one else is.  Guardians are assisting the State Clean Water Team with water sample collections for testing for nutrients, surface pH, dissolved solids and surface conductivity. 

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” and catch ability 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 and we’ll be making sure they stay around.  I and Eagle Lake Guardians refuse any phone contact, we want everything in writing. This has taken well over 35 years and the time is now to heel Eagle Lake and return her to her prime.

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 go out later and stay out later catching and releasing. It 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 it looks like 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, or dying generally.   Summer months has been proven to be detrimental for releasing, but not posting the recommendation yearly over the last 15 years, kills off what DFW though was an over population of trout.  LoL.  Now it appears they have an under population of trout and way over the biomass of tui chubs and that the food supply (everything) has apparently 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 and released fish do better. But, if I take photos of fish out of the water, they are going home.  I never remove a fish from the water if I’m releasing. 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 and stay out later.  Maybe Pine Creek needs to be reconnected in totality for a few years.  
 
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 so far. In the past, it wasn’t unusual to catch a few chubs in summer, however when you can troll 7 miles of the lake without turning around and never get out of them, that’s a whole new ball game.  Waste of time when reeling in 2-4 at a time every few minutes.  Houston? Looks like we have a problem? 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 in 2018 summer, rather than the boats following the birds this year. This didn’t start of by feeding the pelicans chubs, the pelicans didn’t appear to be able to find and reach the chubs to eat. It is not a new phenomenon, that’s what the pelicans have done for my entire life here. 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.  It isn’t like they care what they eat, just THAT they eat.  The apparent overpopulation of chubs is a man made problem & chances are that Mother Nature won’t be able to take care of it. Personally, I don’t really care what people do with the chubs they catch at this point.  But, I do care about our suckers.  Chubs are not the suckers, Tahoe and Red-side shinners both have sucker mouths.  We need all the filter fish we can get and release these special species alive if caught.  We don’t generally catch many however in 2019 I have seen several dead ones on bottom and on the surface.  So please be kind to the suckers.

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 basically catching and eating GMO fish in every other lake but this one.  LoL.  Triploids and Diploids are genetically modified not to reproduce. 

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 caution warnings in 2018.  Jeeze. Who wants to recreate in cow poop, massive algae and everything else that comes with it?  No one that we know of, however when the agencies don’t tell you what their findings are, basically because they don’t do the required testing from their own management plan.  You have no idea why your dog or kid got sick.  Usually, if a sickness occurs within 8 hours of swimming, it’s best to tell a doctor or veterinarian where you were and what you were doing before the sickness occurred.  Just a good thing to do so it doesn’t take months to cure.   Eagle Lake Guardians and the State water board are going to be watching intensely, all three basins of the lake, but the water board needs a greater professional presence and stop taking LNF word for it that all is ok.  LNF doesn’t have a good track record when it comes to honesty and reliability in many issues.  The people are now informed.

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. I covered 7 miles of lake and never ran out of chubs.  We don’t have the osprey we had in the past either and the eagles are also fewer.  Our resident eagles remain but migrants haven’t stayed long at all.  Loons also in small numbers.  2019 we have only a few hundred grebes, 2018 8000-10,000 and lots of babies.  We are concerned about the grebes for 2019.  Census in early August 2019 so we’ll have partial numbers. Between reduced planting, 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 being covered with water….all may have an affect on the algae blooms this season, perhaps seasons to come.

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.  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 trout.  No skunks in my boat but there have been days I have worked hard for them.  Getting out of the chubs has been the hard part.

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, at least that’s been not only my observation but that of most people who spend time on this lake.   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! Which is pretty brazen for a tui chub who has little protection of a skull plate.  LoL.  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.   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.  DFW has no idea how many chubs there are in this lake, but by my years of observation there’s more than ever.  Oregon FW has figured out the biomass problem and took care of it.  Perhaps CDFW should ask Oregon what they did.  To base trout planting on biomass then one must have an idea of the biomass of chubs in order to assess the biomass to begin with.  With zero grebe nesting for 5 years (2012-2017) there were few predators.  Fewer trout to cull the population and now the school of juveniles are too large for the average trout to eat and about the same size of the trout planted.  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.

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 unless we can instill changes ASAP.  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 IF you catch it soon enough.  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.  This isn’t rocket science folks. Eagle Lake has been neglected by Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and we’re calling them out on it.  Admission to that fact has been received.  They are trying to do good by Eagle Lake now.  Guardians will insist upon that keeping up.

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.  Several folks calling me this 2019 season wondering if it will be worth it to come up or should they go elsewhere.  I leave it up to them, but they haven’t caught fish the last few years and haven’t been happy with water conditions.  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.  Perhaps we need some fresh perspectives and people who actually see the lake from an anglers perspective 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.  We offer the photos in our gallery so you can see what the lake and ramps look like. We want the lake back to prime just as much if not more than anyone.  We live and breathe here, 24/7 365.

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. Miles of lake & tons of chubs.

The dissolved 02 has been dropping below 22ft in summer 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 recreation, lake and fishery.  At this point, I don’t think they 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?).  DFW finally left the gate open longer this year so more fish could pass. Flows in Pine Creek should remain a little longer which will help the fish upstream. Maybe this lake and OUR trout needs to take precedence for a few years.  We are on our way to that.   Just glad to see DFW following the plan just a little closer…not all the way, but closer.  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. And this year we have the water board on board as well as a team of micro biologists waiting.

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.   We put the pressure on em and they were briefly moved out.  However, they were moved back in in March…back out after the water board order.  30 days to respond, 60 days to comply.  I do believe that it has a lot to do with our blue green algae problem in summer the last few years, water board confirms.   We have some help exposing this problem in the media outside the immediate area.  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 fair water year and creeks flowing in spring, there hasn’t been a lot of trout in the tributaries for 2019 (1000 sorted at the trap before rocketing water temps stopped the trout from coming upstream from the lake). DFW counting from video for 2019 that passed upstream.  We had roughly 1700ish come up in 2017 for sorting, 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 of good quality 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.  Water quality testing is in this basin is a priority, but it hasn’t seen a fish up north for years.  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.  This year, due to compromised weirs we rescued about 600 out of Papoose and 700 from Merrill.  Better than in the last 8 years.  But now we are lucky to see 1300-1700 in Pine Creek.  We’re hoping that 1000 went upstream, at least 600 are needed for minimal success.  To me, the low numbers and low egg collection is a direct result of fewer fish in the lake and crappy water conditions.  Public pressure in this matter has been helping.  Dramatic difference from the old days.  Some bigger fish, but so few and far between for the public at large. Numbers appear to be much lower than in the past and the tui chub have taken advantage of that.

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 and now still 20% below normal.  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. Considering how thousands are mutilated, DFW blaming the anglers.  LoL.  Yeah, we’re just cutting everything off that sticks out.  NOT!  DFW submits 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.  Even if you would catch a nice fish, the mount wouldn’t be what you want without fins or a split tail.  Due to the shear numbers of trout missing most or all their fins, DFW won’t admit to doing it and it isn’t all hatchery wear, it’s appears as a well healed scissor cut at the joint.  We did have a fly fishing group that came up and trimmed fins on every fish they caught in the 90’s and early 2000’s but they haven’t been here for years and 7 anglers couldn’t account for thousands of fish in 3 days.  LoL   Chances are that the markings are to determine hatchery fish from an native fish in the future (as well as year planted) and how many times it was handled and anesthetized (which is a carcinogen for the fish and handlers). But so far any native spawn restoration hasn’t been being funded by state or federal agencies but that could be due to the plan not being followed.  We’re changing things for the betterment of the fish, not the betterment of the cows.  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. You’ll get feel good talk, but if you want action, file a complaint with CA EPA. LoL.  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.  However, I also believe the wrong wolf was introduced.  Chances are that the extinct CA grey wolf was a subspecies of the Mexican grey wolf, smaller in size which has been documented. Migrating north from Mexico as are seen in southern CA makes a lot more sense in not only size of the wolf, but on the territory.  The introduced grey wolf is twice the size of the extinct CA wolf and chances it actually migrated from Canada or the Rocky Mountains are lesser than if coming into Ca (which WAS Mexico at one time) from Mexico.  The ranchers own plenty of land, alfalfa fields and can easily feed their own animals and pollute their own property and water sources.  Ranchers take their chances with cheap grazing that affects others and other watersheds.  Deal with it or feed your own cattle with your massive alfalfa stash rather than selling it at a premium price to southern CA equine industry. 
 
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.  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 and keeping it up. And the lies from all agencies just don’t stop, we’ll be exposing that too.  Lahontan admits to neglecting all our concerns regarding this lake, we’ll be posting that update soon. 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 naturally.  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.  CRMP failure to be successful in establishing riparian habitat restoration over 30 years, was an agenda for those who they work for….irrigation and cattle and stationed at Honey Lake Irrigation District.  LoL.  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 and now at the expense of Public Health.  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, we are shaking things up and have made statewide precedence that is currently in its second draft.  Guardians are about the native spawn and creek restoration to restore that native spawn and the lake habitat.  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.  Eagle Lake Guardians are shaking the pillars of Heaven as we speak.
 
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 head of CRMP never spent one day on the lake nor does he even fish, I asked and offered to buy him a day license and take him out on the lake, so far my offer has not been accepted LoL….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.  Talk all you want but until you can say you’ve acted, you’ve just spitting words to see where they land.  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.  We hope to see the water board take action, however, we remain skeptical and have no public trust that they will act or do what they say.  That’s what remains the truth in this matter.  Until they can prove their worth, they remain useless.

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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, water quality has tanked since grazing the lake bottom extensively and as the lake rises a little every year, all those nutrients go right into the lake. 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. But we’re glad to see DFW making meager changes to their private plan vs the public plan.
 
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. Eagle Lake Guardians are in the process of insuring the wells are tested and minimally monitored. This lake is not like Davis where the tributaries continue to flow but the ground water does, but it does go 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, lake and water quality and we are the only ones doing that.  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.  Will Turner has been instrumental in assisting us as our consultant and resident ass kicker.  LoL.

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 it was 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 but we’ll know if other funding has been authorized pretty soon.  Maybe it’s the plan that needs changed for funding to be secured? So something has to change.  We may see a true 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 take legal action to get it.  We would prefer to have the water board use their power, DFW to get out of the pockets of the ranchers, CRMP to actually see what they have done to the lake (having not spent one day on the water).
 
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.  Cyanobacteria not being checked for the entire lake.  LNF not checking anything for public health, the county not checking, Lahontan ….well, we’re insuring that Lahontan gets on board.  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. 
 
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.  Cyanobateria was present in 2018 but had only been checked due to our filing complaints with EPA.  We did complain about the north basins as well, but only the south basin had a caution warning posted.  This was due to failure on Lahontan, Lassen County as well as LNF and BLM.  We aim to fix that.  We do have admission that Eagle Lake has been neglected.  So we’re helping fix that neglect, publicly exposing the neglect and emails is coming.  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. If Oregon can do it, what the hell is wrong with CA DFW?  LoL.  Pockets.

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.  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.  We have gained a few back, but in the current funding requests 15 others may go too.  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 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. We’ll see what they say when the new 2019 CA grazing plan is signed. LoL. Looks like the USFS might have a little work to do before grazing can move, so we’ll see how fast they move on that for a few thousand bucks. 
 
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 but American Rivers appears to be the lead, TU second.  LoL.  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. We are the ones taking these issues on.  Personally and as a group.
 
 
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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