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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. 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 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.
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.
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 what a critical roll they play in EVERYONE’S safety, residents and tourists included.
FISHING SEMINARS AT EAGLE LAKE MARINA PATIO SATURDAYS 4PM TILL LABOR DAY!
Catch and Keep Recommendation was posted early in June. This is not a law but for preservation of the trout due to water quality issues. It is on the bulletin board at Eagle Lake Marina but I haven’t seen one in Spalding. If you want bigger and more trout to survive over summer, don’t release them at this time. Due to lack of posting during the drought years, this has lost a lot of public support. However, most locals understand when it needs to be implemented and do it ourselves. Touring public doesn’t always see the signage or understand the problems associated with releasing trout in this lake in summer. If you catch and release at this time, chances for survival, despite seeing the fish swim away, are very low. We’ve seen quite a few dead trout on the bottom the last few weeks, now holding over deeper water & you wont see them.
Yes we had several reports of fish stranded in lower Pine Creek pools. Local DFW has been on vacation and no one here has the equipment needed to rescue and transport them to safety which would require a tank truck with oxygen. Buckets and ice chests won’t cut the mustard for the distance from the lake. No response from DFW in Redding to previous emails, doubtful they would have responded to another.
We’ve had a nice week. Mostly light winds but we’ve seen some gusty ones show up later in the afternoon. As of late Saturday and Sunday, lake wind advisories have been posted on NOAA. So far, not much out of the ordinary but small boats are often the ones paying the piper, larger boats do better.
We are warming up. I’ve seen low 90’s briefly but mostly settling into the mid 80’s. NOAA predicting similar conditions next week. Mid to high 80’s and by Thursday 90F. Overnight temps still cooling off nicely, mostly normal at 43-47F.
Lake is warming up too. We’ve seen 70-71F surface temps by 11AM but mostly still settling into the range of 67-68F by morning. We can’t start counting the days until we see 70F early in the morning.
Thunderstorms pop up anytime the conditions are right. They may or may not be predicted far in advance. When the humidity, dew point and temperatures all work right, they can pop up pretty quickly. Very normal for us to have summer thunderstorms. We’ll take the wet ones for certain!! Our low temps still on the cool side, we’ll take that too. It can cause some fog and mist to form up briefly on the water early. The kids came up with a good explanation last week, “the dragons breath” after I told them the legend of the serpent. I loved it! LoL. It generally breaths heavier in fall when we see pea-soup fog form.
Always come prepared for just about anything, any time. Always bring some tarps, rain gear, gloves and stay safe out there always. Sunscreen and bug repellent. Once we see some sunshine & some warmer temps the bugs will be thick again. Mosquito’s were in full force as were buffalo knats (that’s what we call em) fat body, smaller than skeeter & a hump on their back….nasty biters and we haven’t seen a whole lot of them the last few years, but a wet spring seemed to bring on the numbers. Lemon/eucalyptus works pretty good. Pets need something too or the bugs will drive them crazy (but the fleas will go away up here). What we do have is species specific fleas and rodents & rabbits can transfer fleas to dogs even though they may not stay long on a dog due to warmer body temperatures. But, head the warnings from USFS about rodents and feeding them. I’ve used the lemon eucalyptus on my dog. I’ve sprayed my hands and rub ears, belly and back. Don’t get it near their eyes. I have not had or seen any reaction other than fewer bugs. But if your dog is sensitive to the eucalyptus, use something else. My dog prefers the smell over the bugs. LoL
Sunny, with a high near 87. Light and variable wind becoming southwest 5 to 10 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.
Clear, with a low around 47. Southwest wind 5 to 10 mph becoming light and variable in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.
Sunny, with a high near 85. Calm wind becoming west around 5 mph in the afternoon.
Mostly clear, with a low around 48. West wind around 5 mph becoming calm in the evening.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 86. Calm wind.
Mostly clear, with a low around 47.
Sunny, with a high near 88.
Mostly clear, with a low around 48.
Sunny, with a high near 90.
Mostly clear, with a low around 48.
Sunny, with a high near 87.
Partly cloudy, with a low around 46.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 82.
DFW didn’t give us our “normal allotment” of trout planting (180,000) but we are told by dfw we will get 170,000 in 2019. We’ll see. We didn’t get the 170,000 as indicated in 2018 by DFW, we only received 144,135 as of 12-11-18. That’s only 80% of normal. 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 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 in summer, apparently we have a problem. The chub will come up out of the depths and off the spawn in August. My friends were fishing too deep, targeting 35 to 40ft and caught plenty as early as mid June 2019. Trout planting reduced due to biomass? But DFW can’t say how much of that is chubs? LoL. Kinda faulty 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 that is a first for Eagle Lake in depleting dissolved 02 for the last 4 years, we’ll be collecting water samples for the state, but we also have our own microbiologist team ready. 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, but 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 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.
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. BLM doesn’t even do water quality testing and the north basin that they manage the grazing is the worst degraded basin on the lake! Spalding is second, south basin is third but had the cyanobacteria warning posted in 2018 because no one bothered checking the north basins. Guardians are assisting the State Clean Water Team with water sample collections for testing for nutrients.
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 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 35 years and the time is now to heel Eagle Lake.
Over the reduced planting, by the numbers, this lake is STILL well over 250,000 trout short and a gazzillion chubs. 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 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. 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, 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 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. 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.
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?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
Eagle Lake Fishing Report on “Best Fishing Locations and Depths”
2015 CONSERVATION PLAN