Got fish? |

Got fish?

During the first week of February, an angler on the Yuba below Highway 20, noticed an injured eagle on an island in the river. The bird had a broken wing and was starving due to immobility.

Ultimately the word was passed to Mike Furtado of the Wildlife Rehabilitation & Release Association. Mike went down to the river and was able to capture the bird.

He identified it as a female bald eagle.

Bald eagles numbers have made a dramatic comeback over the last couple of decades. Most of the lakes and larger rivers in our areas serve as feeding grounds for bald eagles and other fish eating birds of prey.

Mike says that the prognosis for this bald eagle is good. He is nursing a golden eagle as well. But he needs help providing food for his two patients.

These are fish-eating birds that mainly feed on trout and salmon. He is asking that trout anglers donate fresh, whole (not gutted) trout. There are significant and necessary nutrients in the internal organs of the fish. The fish muscle that we consume is not a balanced diet for eagles. Although fresh fish is preferred, frozen is not out of the question.

Mike has offered to come pick up fish for his birds. He lives close to Hwy. 20 in the Penn Valley area. Many potential fish donors drive close to his location on their way home from Collins, Englebright, or Lake Oroville. And, to your benefit, delivering fish might get you a close-up look at a bald eagle. Mike asked me to help him let the angling community know what these birds need. He can be reached at 432-3274.

On another note; Scott’s Flat Lake received a large planting of trout last week. This is the first of the season of which I am aware.

Most of the rainbows were in the less than a pound range when planted. Scott’s Flat receives trout plants through the spring, until the water temperatures get too warm for good survival rates.

Besides pursuing rainbow trout, these plants provide another angling opportunity. There are large fish in Scott’s Flat that view a planted rainbow as an entree. Chief among these are largemouth bass and brown trout.

Years ago I heard a statistic, that 40 percent of all trout planted in some Sierra lakes are eaten by larger fish. If you want quality instead of quantity in your fishing, Scott’s Flat might be just the ticket.

There have been a considerable number of large browns caught in late winter and early spring by trollers using lures imitating rainbow trout.

Concentrate your efforts where underwater shelves drop off into the pelagic zone, where the larger browns live. This is not shooting fish in a barrel, big browns do not get that large by being dumb. It can take multiple trips to get one shot at a really good brown.

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

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