Fish Sniffer On Demand Digital Edition Issue 3905 Feb 14-28 - Page 16

14 Feb 14 - 28, 2020 MAP FEATURE VOL.39 • ISS. 5 Sugar Pine is not big, with a reservoir capacity of 6,921 acre-feet and with a surface area of 165 acres. Tahoe National Forest manages the recreation facilities under an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. Sugar Pine Reservoir: Quality Rainbows, Bass and Channel Cats in the Pines S ugar Pine Reservoir, a pretty mid-el- evation American River watershed lake located north of Foresthill, is most renowned for its rainbow trout fishing, but it also offers sleeper fishing for small- mouth, largemouth and spotted bass, channel catfish and sunfish. The reservoir is a relatively quiet, peaceful one with a boating speed limit of 10 miles per hour, preventing water skiers and personal watercraft enthusiasts from marring your fishing experience – and making it a good lake for family camping and fishing adventures. Sugar Pine is unique for being one of one of two lakes in a 150-square mile geographical region characterized by rushing streams in deep canyons filled with wild rainbow and brown trout. The only nearby reservoir is Big Lake, a privately-owned lake and campground. Sugar Pine is not big, with a reservoir capacity of 6,921 acre-feet with a surface area of 165 acres. Tahoe National Forest manages the recreation facilities under an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. True to its name, sugar pines and other conifers surround this scenic reservoir. The reservoir sits at an elevation of 3620 feet on Shirttail Canyon, a tributary of the North Fork of the American River. Sugar Pine is one of the favorite lakes for Cal Kellogg, Fish Sniffer Editor, to target rainbows. He’s landed lots of rainbows and some bass at this peaceful lake, although he’s never landed a brown. While the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) plants rainbow trout in the lake in the spring and fall, browns are exceedingly rare in the catches at Sugar Pine. The CDFW last stocked the reservoir with catchable browns in the 1990s. “I’ve spent hundreds of hours on this lake,” said Kellogg. “The biggest rainbow trout I’ve ever seen caught here was a 22 inch rainbow that my wife, Gena, hooked on the second ever date with me 25 years ago. She caught the fish right off a point near the launch ramp.” Kellogg has found success at the lake over the past year by trolling a variety of offerings, including Cripplures, Hum Dingers, Wedding Rings and his new orange and red Trigger Spoons on lead core line are. Last year in April, May and June he caught an estimated 75 trout on the reservoir, most of them from 11 to 15 inches long. “The largest – and only brown – I’ve heard of was a 5 pounder caught by Olin Bycroft of Foresthill, but browns are pretty rare here. Sugar Pine fishes best during the spring,” said Kellogg. “Sugar Pine is a good put and take fishery for trout,” he noted. “If the fish are on top feeding on tiny insects, I will often fish a worm 3 to 4 feet deep under a slip bobber.” Sugar Pine has great shore access for bank anglers, with a hiking trail winding around the entire lake. I have targeted trout every time I’ve been to Sugar Pine. I’ve caught easy limits of rainbow trout while shore fishing three out of the six times I’ve been there while using PowerBait, nightcrawlers, Kast- Cal Kellogg Fish Sniffer Editor, holds up a rainbow trout that he masters and Panther caught while trolling from his kayak at Sugar Pine Reservoir. Photo by CAL KELLOGG, Fish Sniffer Staff. Martins. The only time I’ve trolled there I also caught my limit of trout. into Sugar Pine Reservoir in 2020 to date,” Rainbow trout draw most anglers to the he stated. “We attempted to plant it with lake when the CDFW stocks them in the a 2,000 lb load a few weeks ago but had spring. The Department has historically to cancel due to low snow. We will be planted the lake with both catchable making up the plant we had to cancel as rainbows and fingerling rainbows, but soon as the boat ramp is accessible. We hasn’t planted fingerlings since 2010. will be planting more pounds of fish into The CDFW is now planting only Sugar Pine this year than the last two years catchable rainbow trout and Eagle Lake because we have more fish on hand.” trout in Sugar Pine, said Jay Rowan, Cali- While most of the fish caught at Sugar fornia Department of Fish and Wildlife Pine are recent planters, a decent number (CDFW) North Central Region Senior of holdover rainbows in the 14 to 20 inch Environmental Scientist. range are caught here also. In addition, The CDFW planted 3,600 Trout ~ Kokanee ~ Salmon ~ Shad pounds of rainbow OFFICIAL SPONSOR trout, a total of 6,560 fish, in Sugar Pine in 2019 and 240 different 3,600 pounds of size/color rainbow trout, a 18 Proven combinations! total of 6,640 fish, Kokanee/Trout Dodgers! in 2019, according to Dale S. Burkett, American River Trout Hatchery Fish Hatchery Manager II. “We haven’t planted any fish Sugar Pine is a great place to take children to catch rainbows from shore when the fish are biting. Photo by DAN BACHER, Fish Sniffer Staff. 82 YEARS of Catching TROUT & KOKANEE 100% Made in the USA Without a DICK NITE... You’re Not Fishin’ Right! •