The latest from Eagle Lake and Spaulding Tract

By: George deVilbiss
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It’s been reported here numerous times that there’s a drain pipe continuously draining water from Lassen County’s Eagle Lake, a region which is controlled by the Bureau of Land Management.


The BLM recently completed a study of the effects of the constant water flow from what is known as the Bly Tunnel. Water flow is estimated at 7-10 cubic feet per second, on a constant, 24-hour a day basis.


The BLM’s claim is that water will find a natural way out of the lake because of the type of ground so they will do nothing about the Bly Tunnel. The water will mainly only flow, as it is, when the lake is at or above a certain level. Below that, it might flow minimally only because of ground seepage.


Stopping the water flow would destroy the riparian habitat developed by the water flow over the years. Downstream water users in the Willow Creek Valley use the resulting waters for farming in the area.


The major cause cited by the BLM for the decreasing water levels in Eagle Lake point to Mother Nature being the cause and reason, not the Bly Tunnel. Continuing drought is one of the major contributors and natural evaporation also is cited.


We’ve had a pretty good winter this year, but the early reports I’ve gotten from the region are that snowfall in this part of the Sierra is still not having a major impact on the water level at Eagle Lake.



Spaulding Tract is a major port of call for many anglers, especially during the lake’s opening for fishing on the Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend.


George and Rudy Walker own and operate the Eagle Lake General Store. Their store is always packed, their gas pumps are seemingly always busy, and the upstairs bar provides plenty of entertainment once the fishing is over for the day.


This year may be different. Rudy is facing a major illness and George tells me that they will be staying in their wintering grounds in southern California until the situation is resolved.


That means if you go to Eagle Lake for the opener, the store will not be open. The fuel pumps will not be operational. And their docks, usually completely full of boats, are not even in the water. Start making other arrangements if you go to Spaulding Tract and rely on the General Store’s services.



Salmon: The season’s been open now for a couple of weeks after a two year closure and Mother Nature just won’t cooperate. Seas will eventually get better, but for now, but it’s been a rough ride for even those with great sea legs. A few fish have been caught by the Bay Area fleet, but nothing really super great in the least, with the action around the Farallones.

Bodega has had a better bite for the boats going 12 miles out and a downright good bite is expected if the seas will lie down. Pat Heaviside, skipper of the Bragg-N at Fort Bragg tells me he had a charter but they backed out when they learned of the rough waters. A couple of boats did make it out and had plenty of people on board. When the boats came back into the docks, a grand total of three small fish were checked in. Quieter waters are also needed up there.


San Francisco Bay: Numerous boats are working the bay already for halibut but continuing weather and water conditions are also affecting this fishery. Live bait isn’t yet available so they’re mainly trolling. If the weather turns fair, I’ve done well in the halibut catching just drifting frozen anchovy.


Sacramento River: Bunches of stripers all throughout the river from Garcia Bend upriver to Verona. Regardless where you drop anchor, however, you can expect a lot of bait stealing shakers to work you over so just take plenty of bait. Cut bait and bloodworms will give you plenty of action. Further upriver, from Knights Landing to Colusa, there is also a good striper population. While anchoring with bait will get you bit, you’ll actually do better drifting big minnows.


Lake Pardee: Especially because of the continuing cooler weather, planted trout have been sticking around the Rec Area Cove a little longer than normal for this time of year. That means the bank anglers continue to score well. Top spots for the shore slingers have been around the launch ramp, Blue Herron Point, the parking lot behind Tom Sawyer Island along with the Island itself.

Trollers are heading as far up the river as Columbia Gulch and Indian Rock. Cool weather and water are keeping the fish in the top 10 feet so don’t try going too deep for holdover rainbows up to six pounds. Small flashy lures or a night crawler will get you bit.


Lake Camanche: Don’t tell Brent West from Folsom and his son that the trout trolling is only so-so. They were hauling a small Rebel down only 5-8 feet near the South Shore to limit on rainbows last weekend. The biggest of the 10 trout hit the eight-pound mark. And even bigger trout were caught by other anglers working the main body of the lake, both trolling and still fishing from shore. Now is definitely the time to go.

Bass are definitely in the pre-spawn mode and most are in 4-18 feet of water. Senko’s have been doing a lot of the reported catching.


Camp Far West: The lake will soon be at the brim and water will roar over the spillway, which means launching is certainly no problem. The other good news is that numerous bass in the 3-5 pound class have been caught. Last week’s weather kept many off the lake, but the weather is improving so it’s time to go. Work the structure areas and the rocks around the dam and you’ll get into the bite too.


If you have any questions, comments or concerns, contact George directly at GeorgesColumn@AOL.COM.