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Area: 28,000 Acres
Lat: 40.64642
Lon: 120.740742
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Every Kid in a Park. Initiative that gives every U.S. 4th grader and his or her family free access to 2000+ federally managed lands and waters. Educators can also participate.
Eagle Lake - Site # 69
Eagle Lake is the second largest natural lake entirely within California.
RegionalRegional - worth visiting if you are already in the area. They may be located farther from populated areas or with more limited wildlife species.

: 641x432 Mountain Bluebird at Eagle Lake. Photo by Tom Pritchard. : 1024x682.66666666667 White-headed Woodpecker at Eagle Lake. Photo by Tom Pritchard: 1024x682.66666666667

Background: Pine and cedar forests cloak the south shore of this large lake set beneath the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Ranges, while juniper and sage dominate the north side. A species unique to the lake, Eagle Lake rainbow trout, attracts fishermen from through out California and beyond. Large schools of young Tui Chubs attract western grebes, eared grebes, buffleheads, many diving ducks and cormorants, terns, ospreys, and bald eagles fish for both small and large fish from the skies. American white pelicans, cinnamon teal, and other waterfowl feed near shore, as do many shorebirds. Quiet marshy areas are home to egrets and muskrats.
A small interpretive kiosk with multiple interpretive panels is located by the Pine Creek fish trap downstream of where the road to Spaulding crosses Pine Creek. The interpretive panels describe the unique closed basin hydrology of Eagle Lake and the Eagle Lake Trout that has developed in this highly alkaline natural lake. To reach this site from Susanville, travel around Eagle Lake on Lassen County Road A-1 to the northwest side of the lake, then turn on the road to Spaulding and drive approximately 1 mile to where this road crosses Pine Creek. Turn left directly after the bridge over Pine Creek and drive .1 mile to the fish trap site.

In March or April, depending upon the runoff , there is a great opportunity to view large numbers of Eagle Lake trout swimming up stream to spawn in Pine Creek below the Pine Creek fish trap. The Pine Creek fish trap, built and run by the California Department of Fish and Game, diverts these fish into the trap where they are kept alive and milked of eggs and milt. The fertilized eggs are raised at two hatcheries and the young fish are then planted back in Eagle Lake and other lakes. The best times to view the spawning fish and observe the operation of the fish trap is in March or April. During the spawning run, volunteers assist Fish and Game biologists and explain the fish trap operation to visitors. To improve your chances of viewing the fish trap in operation, contact the California Department of Fish and Game, (530) 254- 6363, before driving to the fish trap site.

The Eagle Lake Basin is largely undeveloped with 80% of the lake shore managed by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. Native Americans fished, hunted and gathered food at the lake before the arrival of settlers in the mid to late 1800's. In 1923, a two mile tunnel under the northern flank of Black Mountain on the lake's east shore was completed that drained Eagle Lake Water into Willow Creek to provide irrigation water for Honey Lake Valley, 20 miles downstream. The tunnel drastically lowered Eagle Lake but was not successful as an irrigation enterprise and was later closed and the lake has gradually refilled itself.

The Habitat: Vegetation varies from tall ponderosa and Jeffery pine and incense cedar forests that dominate the lake's south end to the drier north end of the lake basin characterized as a sagebrush steppe ecosystem where ponderosa and Jeffery pine inter mix with and then give way to juniper, mountain mahogany and open stands of Great Basin shrubs and grasses. Volcanic land forms dominate the lake basin, however, Gallatin Peak on the lake's southeast side includes granite. Mountains surrounding the lake rise nearly 3,000 feet above Eagle Lake's 5,100 foot elevation to the summit of Fredonyer Peak (7,943 feet) at the lake's north end and Roop Mountain (7,608) at the south end of the lake.

The Experience: The Eagle Lake Basin is located at the intersection of the Cascades and the Sierra Nevada Mountain ranges and on the western edge of the Great Basin where all waters drain into the basin and none flow to the sea. Eagle Lake sites in its own hydrologic basin within the Great Basin. All waters that flow into Eagle Lake remain there with no surface outflow. Despite the lake's closed basin hydrology, it contains a thriving fishery best known for the Eagle Lake rainbow trout. Other fish include Lahontan redside, Tahoe sucker, and tui chub. Many species of waterfowl, grebes, white pelicans, great blue herons, cormorants and other aquatic birds live at the lake. Vegetation includes pine and fir forests on the mountains around the south, west and north sides of the lake with sagebrush steppe ecosystems dominating the northeast end of the lake.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: Wildlife viewing if possible from cars at pull offs along Highway 139, Lassen County Road A-1 and from the roads into the Stone's, Bucks Bay and Spaulding subdivisions as well as the roads into the Forest Service campgrounds. Wildlife viewing is also possible from various public lands shoreline segments (get copies of BLM and Forest Service maps that show where public land is located). The Osprey Trail, located on the southeast side of the lake beginning directly north of the Gallatin House and Eagle Lake Children's Camp also provides an opportunity for a short hike along the lake shore and then a short climb up a trail to the Osprey overlook. The osprey overlook is also accessible by a driving up a ? mile dirt road to a paved parking area an accessbile paved connector trail to the overlook. An accessible five mile paved trail for walking and bicycling links all developed campgrounds and the Gallatin Marina on Forest Service land at the south end of the lake and provides good opportunities for viewing wildlife along the lakeshore and on the lake.

Viewing Tips: High probability of seeing waterfowl, western grebes, eared grebes, white pelicans, shorebirds, ospreys and deer from May through October. Western grebes and waterfowl perform courtship displays in spring. Look for bald eagles year round with highest concentrations in winter. Excellent car viewing along Highway 139 at the northeast end of the lake and along the lake's north, west and south shorelines at these locations: Rocky Point, along the strand in Spaulding, at Christie Day use area,at the Gallatin Marina and along the 5 miles of non-motorized trail that connects all the Forest Service campgrounds at the south end of the lake. Opportunity to view Eagle Lake Trout spawning at Pine Creek Fish Trap during spring run off, usually in March or April. Contact California Department of Fish and Game for details (530-254- 6363). For assistance, BLM and Forest Service have campground hosts at campgrounds. Stores in the Stones and Spaulding subdivisions and at the Gallatin Marina are open spring through fall. There are no staff available specifically to provided guided wildlife viewing trips, however employees are helpful in directing people to parts of the lake where wildlife are likely to be seen. Private fishing guides will take people out in their boats for fishing and various waterfowl and other bird life are regularly seen while on the water.

Site Notes: Eagle Lake is the second largest natural lake entirely within California. Visitors are often impressed by the largely undeveloped character of the lake. With only 20 % of the lake shore in private ownership and not all of that developed, there are large segments of the shoreline that remain primitive where man passes by in boats or on foot but rarely remains for long.

Nearby Viewing Sites: Willow Creek Valley. Highway 139, the road to the north end of Eagle Lake, passes through Willow Creek Valley. Deer and antelope as well as various hawks, golden and bald eagles and sand hill cranes can sometimes be seen during a drive through Willow Creek Valley. At the north side of Willow Creek Valley is the Willow Creek Wildlife Area where there is a small parking area, a bulletin board and walking paths along the tops of earthen dikes adjacent to canals that provide good opportunities to view waterfowl, occasional deer and antelope.

Festivals & Events: No wildlife viewing festivals; however, Eagle Lake is a destination for many people who enjoy the lake's undeveloped scenic beauty.
Check with BLM.

Visitor Information: Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association - (530) 365-7500 - http://www.shastacascade.com
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: Yes
Open: Sun,Mon,Tues,Wed,Thur,Fri,Sat
Hours: 24 hours
Year Round: Yes
Seasonal: Fishing is closed from Jan 1 until the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Viewing from pull offs along California State Highway 139 and Lassen County Road A-1 are open year-round, 24 hours a day, subject to snow conditions. From January 1 to late spring, County Road A-1 is closed between the south end of the lake and Lake Forest subdivision two miles northwest of California Highway 36.

Road Information:   Paved.  Gravel.  Dirt. 
 Roads available year-round.
Road Hazards: All road types are found around the lake.
 Number of Parking Spaces: 0
Parking Fee: No
Proximity to viewing area:Immediate
 Pull-Through Parking: Yes
Parking Notes: 

Special Tips: None.

How to Get There: From Susanville, follow Highway 139 north 25 miles to Eagle Lake. Continue 5 miles along lake shore using numerous wildlife viewing turnoffs along the lake. Turn on County Road A-1 and follow it around the lake and back to the junction with Highway 36, two miles west of Susanville. These roads provide a 70 mile loop drive from Susanville to and around the lake and back to Susanville. The segment from the south end of Eagle Lake to Lake Forest subdivision, two miles north of California State Route 36 is closed from January 1 until the snow melts in the spring (call Lassen County Road Department for information about when the road is reopened, 530-251-8288).

For access to the lake from Lassen County Road A-1 take various side roads that take you to lakeshore areas. At the north end of the lake look for Stone's Road in the Stone's subdivision that will take you to the Stone's Boat Ramp, further west look for Lakeside Drive in the Bucks Bay subdivision that will take you to the Rocky Point shoreline access road, an unimproved dirt road that follows the shoreline for 1 mile to primitive self contained camping areas, on the northwest side of the lake, Spaulding Road extends two miles south from Lassen County Road A-1 to the Spaulding subdivision and the paved road along 'The Strand' provides views of Eagle Lake and adjacent tule habitat.

At the south end of the lake, look for the Christie Day Use Area that provides parking, picnic tables, a vault toilet, and shoreline access along 5 miles of paved non-motorized shoreline trail open for walking and bicycling. Lake access is also available from the following developed Forest Service campgrounds: Christie, Merrill, Eagle and Aspen as well as from the Gallatin Marina and Gallatin Beach. Access to the shoreline trail is available from all of these developed areas.
 

Contact Information
Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Agency Site URL: http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/fo/eaglelake.html
Physical Address:2950 Riverside Drive
Susanville, CA 96130
Agency 2:2950 Riverside Drive
Susanville, CA 96130
Manager Phone:(530) 257-0456 Contact Us:by Email
Site Phone:BLM (530) 257-0456,USFS
County: Lassen
Addition Website: