Denis Peirce: Cooler temperatures, hot bites at Eagle Lake |

Denis Peirce: Cooler temperatures, hot bites at Eagle Lake

Eagle Lake has been cooling down nicely over the course of the last few weeks. The surface temps have dropped into the low 60s. The best reports from the holiday weekend were from anglers fishing the east side of the lake’s south basin. The tui chub minnows were in the shallows along the east shore with both the trout and the birds taking advantage of the situation.

Guide Doug Wilmes fished this area for four days and had good results each time. The hot lures were trolling flies in cinnamon and in orange. Other reports mention brown wooly bugger streamers and brown grubs as catching their share of trout also.

The best locations combined shallows with schools of bait fish, in close proximity to deep water. The primary depth for Doug was 15 to 21 feet for Thursday and Friday. On Saturday he moved closer to shore and trolled in water as shallow as 5 feet. In the shallowest situations the minnow schools were parting for his boat to pass through. The trout were keyed in on the baitfish schools and had them corralled in the shallow water.

On Sunday Doug was catching mostly 14-inch fish trolling at 15 to 20 feet. He then dropped down to 30 feet and the fish size jumped back up. It was his experience that the trout were schooling by size.

Doug boated his largest trout of the year this past weekend. He took a number of fish above the 3-pound mark. The largest for the weekend went 4 pounds 10 ounces. The schools of minnows are attracting some of the largest fish in Eagle Lake. How long this pattern holds is unknown. The best sign for concentrations of tui chubs is to watch for diving birds.

As the water cools the fish will migrate north into the shallow north basins of the lake. There are signs of the beginning of this migration. It will all depend on how rapidly the water cools which is all based on the weather.

Doug fished mornings on Eagle and spent one afternoon/evening at Antelope Lake fishing from the bank. He reports brook trout up to 14 inches being taken by shore anglers near the dam. The best technique was to fish the steep bank that had deep water within casting range.

The bottom has weed growth, so he had to float buoyant baits three feet above the bottom anchored by a sinker. Inflated crawlers and power bait both worked well. There were anglers fishing the area all day who took home limits of brookies.

Ed Dillard passed along a report from Davis Lake. The fishing is good for trollers working the deep main channel of the lake. The shallows are warm and the fish are in the cooler water. Ed uses Needle Fish in Fire Tiger, Red Dot Frog and Copper Redhead for the majority of his guide trips.

The valley salmon season opened Saturday on the Sacramento River from the Carquinez Straits up to the Hwy 113 Bridge at Knight’s Landing. I could not get any salmon reports from my usual sources.

I made a call to Brett Brady (Bare Bones Guise Service) to check with him. After fighting the crowds during the salmon opener on the Feather, he chose not to fish salmon on the Sac. Instead he went striper fish on the Sacramento about 20 miles above Knight’s Landing.

He launched at Tisdale and spent the day fishing with minnows for stripers. He reports two other fishing boats on the water from early in the day until late morning. He and his clients had action all morning with the largest striper going 8 pounds.

The majority of the fish were small “shakers” but there were enough bigger fish to keep it exciting.

The common denominator was rocky rip rap banks and any rocky points extending into the river. Brett assumed that the fish were feeding on crawdads but at the end of the day when the fish were cleaned they all had been dining on shad.

The Lower Klamath River continues to hold good numbers of salmon and steelhead. These fish can be seen rolling on the surface. The place they are not being seen is on the end of angler’s lines.

These fish have lock jaw and are tough to hook. Tommy from Little Ray’s Tackle reports one of the best guides on the river fished an entire day for three salmon. He traveled as much as 20 miles upriver to find salmon willing to bite.

This week is the New Moon and even more fish will be moving out of the salt water. The water temps are currently in the low 70’s and need to drop to the mid 60’s for the bite to turn on.

Tonight, the Gold Country Fly Fishers will hold their September meeting. The guest speaker will be guide Hogan Brown. He will be presenting a program on entomology.

This is the study of the insects trout eat. Hogan guides the Lower Yuba, the Feather and the Sacramento Rivers. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and the program starts sometime after 8 p.m.

The location is at the fairgrounds, park at gate #2. The meeting is in the building formerly known as the Senior Center.

Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union and is host of “The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report,” which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. Contact him via e-mail at

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