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#99291 10/11/07 02:35 PM
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all i can say is WOW. if any of you guys/gals want to experience a unique trophy trout fishery, eagle lake is the place.

eagle is a natural "remnant" lake once a part of the great lake lahontan. after the last ice age and through the present, as lahontan receded, landlocked basins were left creating individual lakes such as pyramid, mono, walker, and eagle wherein each body of water developed unique characterstics as did the trout within them. eagle was one of the lucky ones in which fish can still survive. mono lake is devoid of fish. pyramid lake is famous for its gargantuan cutthroats.

the eagle lake trout is prized by any fisherman who knows about these rare fish. they forage on tui chubs and speckled dace also naturally surviving there. there is an active hatchery facility at the lake that seeks to maintain the genetic purity of the eagle lake strain. they conduct spring and fall stockings totaling over 250,000 fish per year. fall stockings contain the larger fish raised to ~ 1 lb. the hatchery tags all fish with liquid nitrogen which leaves a lifelong circular dark spot just below the dorsal fin. this allows one to distinguish the native fish from hatchery fish. they routinely inspect fish brought back to the docks, take relative weights, and track the success of each stocking event. once a year in the fall, they also release ~10,000 fish raised to 3 pounds.

due to poor rain totals this year, the lake is way down, and the pH has climbed to the mid-9's. there have been large fish kills in years past when the pH's rose to over 10. regulations are strict and strictly enforced to protect this place. due to the current conditions, all catch and release is prohibited. they've observed that at the high pH levels, the stress to the fish from catching kills it so they want you to catch and keep (i.e. you could be done for the day if you catch two fish before sunrise). its a two fish per day limit, with a "four in possession" rule, which comes into play at the bug stations between CA and NV. despite the heavy regs, its definitely worth a trip there.

prior to trip, the fishing was expected to be really tough by all who reported on it. once there, lots of folks we talked to were getting skunked. it was really tough fishing from both conditions and catchability standpoints. by all accounts however our group did really well, and my brother and i stumbled onto to a couple of techniques that really kept us on fish. i wish I could turn the clock back. the lake conditions ranged from calm and beautiful to raging waters with 6+ ft swells and 40-50 mph winds. The weather was really cold and we got snowed on one day……it was incredible to be fishing in the snow. in years past i was told 4 and 5 pounders ruled the day, anything less was thrown back. 11.5 pounds is the lake record. in our group this year, the "average" fish caught was ~2 lbs. my largest was 4.25 lb....which tied my brother and another feller for largest fish. they fight like salmon and really test you and yer equipment.

i never used to take any pics at all on these kinds of trips. i am getting a little better about this these days, and did get a few pics of these wondeful fish we caught.


my first eagle lake trout…..a sweet 2 pounder


me and brother with one of our limit catches


another limit catch for us


last day roundup.


all fish are put in community ice chests and divied up on last day.


being a newbie in the group, they let me keep a couple of my four pounders, these are the four I got to take home. we caught many more males than females, and most were wild fish. not too many hatchery fish. in the top fish you can discern the hatchery mark


the meat is intensely colored, pink like salmon. last night after getting home, we cooked one with butter in foil on the grill……..best tasting trout i have ever had bar none.


somebody slap me and wake me up

i dont want to go back to work


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Awesome! That's the largest average sized trout I've seen taken anywhere (except for Cecil Baird's pond) I noticed their aren't any fishing poles in the pictures so I can only deduce that your special "techniques" involved TNT ;\)




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Any idea where all the carotene (or whatever) comes from to color the meat so red? From the tui chubs and speckled dace?


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The larger trout I've caught from the Obey River in TN have had the same color. I always assumed it was from crayfish but have no basis for believing this.

On a sidenote:
Carotene turns things yellow (think carrot). I used to feed my show chickens corn gluten meal because it had high amounts of carotene (and protein) and would turn the chickens skin yellow. Someone decided that chicken with yellow skin was more desireable to consumers. Many commercial poultry producers now dye dressed chicken skin yellow. Dried marigold flowers work too. Wierd huh.




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 Quote:
Any idea where all the carotene (or whatever) comes from to color the meat so red?


Scuds, aka freshwater shrimp, is what I have been told. I have also been told they taste much better with the red meat too.

Very nice trout D.I.E.D! ;\)

Last edited by Shorty; 10/11/07 04:38 PM.


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I'm definitely not fishing enough. I absolutely need to go fishing for big trout sometime. I'm really glad you brought the camera.

Do you know any more specifics about the liquid nitrogen tagging method?


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thanks guys, they are the biggest "average" trout i've ever seen as well and the setting couldnt be more beautiful.

ryan, i always noodle for my fish, and if that dont work, i have a handy supply of plastique in the tackle box \:D

lots of folks tried anchored slip bobber fishing with some productivity but this technique was limited to weather conditions and only produced a few fish a day for the group of 12 people as whole. one boat almost exclusively trolled a variety of small dodger/flasher set ups with some success but it wasnt consistent. similarly, my boat attempted jigged and trolled grubs and trolled small flashers w/ trailing night crawlers but it was not consistently productive. you cant fish anywhere near the boat even in open water. trolling at distances of 150' is requried and the worse the weather the better the bite. my brother and i broke the secret code on the last day of the trip and found the best action of the entire trip and of the entire group's experiences when we toplined a certain lure of which i am sworn to secrecy by the council of the elders.......but i do hope it works as well next year. it was not a road runner \:D

as far as meat color, if i had to guess, i'd say it was the shrimp too. i tried to examine the stomach contents of every fish caught. during these larval trawling sessions, i observed in almost every fish what i interpreted as the remains of digested brine shrimp..it was a greenish color the consistency of apple sauce, but i could see some shrimp like parts. in addition to this stuff, one fish had a belly full of hardshelled mollusks \:o another fish produced an undigested leach and another fish had hellgramite looking larvae. i saw no whole forage fish, even though, as i understand it, the main forage base are the chub and dace.

there are large patches of tules around the lake that hold large numbers of fish. problem is that the water is clear and only 1 to 3 feet deep in the tules...the fish are really spooky...boats that fished the tules didnt do too well. i mostly fished open water. it seemed like the open water fish contained the "stuff" while the tule fish (mostly caught by the only guy in our group using a kayak [major stealth mode]) contained the leach, mollusks, and other larvae. all fish had deep pink meat though.

Bruce, i learned (a little) about the stocking and tagging practices from a P&R (Parks and Recreation) lady, but we didnt get to chat very long, the weather was really bad that day, and she was in a hurry. she said they anesthesize (sp?) the fish, then "burn" the mark. if yer serious about trying it, it probably wouldnt be too hard to track down the exact methods by finding a contact at the eagle lake hatchery, P&R or CA DFG (Dept. of Fish and Game).


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On warm blooded livestock, it's called "freeze branding." The severe cold damages the skin, much less than high heat. The resulting mark typically has white hair rather than the animal's original color.


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thats interesting theo, i wonder if its a cheaper overall process too (for fish and livestock)?

i just came back in from feeding the fishies....they missed me. i kept some roe from the few female eagle lake trout to add to their dinner plate tonight....man they attacked it.....a rare special treat probably like a bacon wrapped filet tastes for me.


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Set up costs for freeze branding would be higher than for simple hot branding; but LN2 itself is not really very expensive once you're set up to handle it. At work we buy it for $0.30-$0.40 a gallon in bulk. Of course, we buy 4,000 gallons at a time.


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i have a question about freezing fish.

the fish i dont cook whole, i fillet. i first put the fillets in plastic trays filled w/ water so the fillet is completely submersed and freeze them, after frozen, i remove the fish filled ice block and put into ziploc bags and back into freezer.

do any of you have a different and/or better way to freeze fish so they last a while in the freezer?


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Hey DIED. I'm not sure why, but I don't like the idea of freezing fillets in a block of ice. I would buy a foodsaver vacuum sealer thingy and put the fish in as dry and clean as possible.

Spend some money and stimulate the economy!



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I skip one step and freeze them right in the ziplock bag with lotsa water. I've kept BG for 2-3 months and CC for close to a year like this with no degradation noticed.


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D.I.E.D., I want to add that your brother seems to be moreso cultivating the Santa look. What gives?

You might have to post a photo of Santa and his first generation spawn.


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"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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GW, are they made in the USA??
actually we've looked at those, but havent really had enough fresh caught fish coming into the house to justify the cost. if i have a good fishing winter though, i'll revisit that, thanks for the reminder.

theo, i tried the direct to bag, but the silly things leaked in the freezer before freezing (these were ziplocs too and not some knock off brand.......maybe it was a bad batch) so my wife figured out the two step process which works pretty good.

sunil, under that fashionable hat is a shiny cue ball for a head.....mr. clean w/ a goatee. if you didnt see it, santa's distant cousin is in the fourth picture.


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"if you didnt see it, santa's distant cousin is in the fourth picture."

For some reason, I did feel the Christmas vibe from dude in the fourth picture, but I couldn't place it.

Now I know. He's Heat Mizer with beard.


Excerpt from Robert Crais' "The Monkey's Raincoat:"
"She took another microscopic bite of her sandwich, then pushed it away. Maybe she absorbed nutrients from her surroundings."

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 Originally Posted By: dave in el dorado
theo, i tried the direct to bag, but the silly things leaked in the freezer before freezing (these were ziplocs too and not some knock off brand.......maybe it was a bad batch) so my wife figured out the two step process which works pretty good.


Previously unmentioned trade secret, never before shared with the left coast - I put the ziplock end at the edge of the freezer compartment with the zipper bent up by 90 degrees or more. The freezer wall keeps the bend in the bag from unfolding. I haven't had any leaks this way with several different brands of bag, mostly cheap bulk knockoffs from the local restaurant supply food store.

Give it a try some time where a leak won't mess up your freezer compartment and see if it will hold water this way for you, if you want.

I don't imagine you were trying to freeze with the bag completely jam packed full of fish and water (to the point where the expansion from freezing would cause the zipper to bust open), but that could cause a problem too.


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Great photos Dave. Sounds like you had a fun trip!

 Originally Posted By: dave in el dorado ca
i tried the direct to bag, but the silly things leaked in the freezer before freezing


This explains why your iced tea had such an unusual flavor! \:\)


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Maybe you don't know how to use Zip lock bags, Could be possible!!!

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someone suggested to me that I try laying filets out flat on a cookie sheet and cover with saran wrap. Then after they are frozen, put in a ziploc. Then you could take out a few or as many as you want. Has anyone tried that?

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Theo's freezing method has always worked for me.

I wonder if those Compound W wart freezing kits would work for branding fish?




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Here's a picture Dr. Dave Willis sent me of a freeze branded walleye. I'll let him add commentary.


Last edited by Theo Gallus; 10/15/07 08:34 PM. Reason: Restored picture to full view.

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Thanks, Theo.

This biologist is holding a small walleye that just had a freeze brand. Down in the lower right hand side of the image is the actual marking device. The wooden box is holding the insulated bottle of liquid nitrogen. What is down in the bottom right of the picture is the metal fitting that connects to that bottle, thus connected to the cold temperature of the liquid nitrogen, and that fitting then sticks out through the wooden box. You simply hold the fish up against that cold fitting for 2-3 seconds, and you have your mark. It works best for simple marks like horizontal or vertical line, an x, an o, etc. More complex symbols tend to bleed together. Walleyes marked like this had pretty good mark retention, still being visible on most 18 inch walleyes 3 years later.

Obviously, if I would just post pictures myself, Theo wouldn't have to do stuff for me!! \:\)

Last edited by Dave Willis; 10/15/07 08:44 PM.

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From Bob Lusk: Dr. Dave Willis passed away January 13, 2014. He continues to be a key part of our Pond Boss family...and always will be.
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I wrap my filets in saran wrap and then put them in the ziplock freezer bags. When I want fish I just pull some out of the Ziplock bag. I have had some in the Freezer for months with no problems. Then when the bag is empty I use it again.


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Guys,

Anything from zooplankton on up to shrimp and crayfish will add carotene to produce red flesh. The gluten that produces a yellow color is different. Aquamax has gluten meal and seems to color up my brownies really nice. (see pic below)

Trout are good at eating zooplankon. In fact in some lakes that's all there is.

Something I've never tried is to add a little paprika to fish feed that I feed to brookies. It's supposed to make their reds at spawning time more intense artificially.

Last edited by Cecil Baird1; 10/27/07 05:33 AM.

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