Photo of Eagle Lake,  El Dorado County, CA

Fishing Eagle Lake

El Dorado County

Fishing Eagle Lake

El Dorado County

Only a mile from the trailhead at Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay, Eagle Lake offers great fishing for rainbow trout in a high Sierra setting. Although it attracts a lot of day hikers during the summer, early risers can be there at dawn and get in several hours of quiet fishing before the first knapsacker arrives.

It is only a short hike, but Eagle Lake is not a great place to take small children for fishing because access to the lake along the shoreline is impeded by trees and bushes. However, experienced anglers will have no problem.

Eagle Lake also serves as a great place from which to launch a longer fishing-backpacking trip into the Desolation Wilderness. A night at Eagle Lake will help to acclimate hikers to the elevation and have them ready the next do to push on up to the wonderful fishing lakes that abound in the wilderness.

Eagle Lake, El Dorado County, California

Eagle Lake


From Eagle Lake anglers can head on up the trail to Velma Lakes, a family of lakes at about 7,800 feet. Gentle terrain there makes moving from one lake to another easy, even where there are no established trails. More ambitious hikers continue on to Lake Fontanillis, another mile beyond the Velma Lakes. Not far beyond that is Dicks Lake. Good fishing and campsites can be found at all these lakes.

Yellow-Legged Frog Habitat Restoration in the Desolation Wilderness

In an effort to restore the habitat of the endangered yellow-legged frog in the Sierra, US Fish and Wildlife has removed all fish from the following lakes: Lucille, Margery, Tamarack, Ralston, Cagwin, LeConte, and Jabu as well as from connecting streams and a pond west of Lake Lucille.

Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County, California

Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe

In My Creel

  • Mepps silver Plain Aglia
  • Acme Fjord Jr.
  • Hot Shot
  • Luhr Jensen Tiger Tail
  • Acme Kastmaster
  • 3/8 oz. black Rooster Tail

I stuffed a number of lures and spinners into my daypack.

Nearby Featured Trips in El Dorado County

  • Dardanelles Lake - an easy 3¾-mile hike from near South Lake Tahoe leads to the lake with good fishing.
  • Susie Lake - basecamp for fishing the Desolation Wilderness
  • Velma Lakes - hike 4 miles from Lake Tahoe's Emerald Bay to these wilderness lakes with brook and rainbow trout.
  • Wrights Lake - a magnificent mountain lake in the Crystal Basin. Campgrounds on its shores. Fish practically from your doorstep.

Bridge on trail to Eagle Lake, El Dorado County, California

Eagle Creek Bridge

Recommended Books, Lures, and Flies for Fishing Eagle Lake

Making Your Way to Eagle Lake

To reach Eagle Lake drive on Highway 89 along the west shore of Lake Tahoe to Emerald Bay. There at the bend of the road turn into the Eagle Falls Trailhead parking lot. There is a $5 fee to park. If you can find a parking space outside the lot, it is free.

Fill out a free day hiking permit there at the kiosk. The Desolation Wilderness is one of the rare places that require a permit even for day hikes. The climb to Eagle Lake is actually slightly less than a mile and only ascends about 450 feet, but because of the many steps it will seem a little longer and higher.

During the spring and early summer Eagle Falls is roaring. My photo journey was in the late fall, so only a small amount of water was running then. The bridge crosses the creek at upper Eagle Falls. Not long afterward you arrive at a clear area with spectacular views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe.

When you reach the turnoff to Eagle Lake, you are almost there. Continue on a short distance and you will soon catch glimpses of the lake ahead through the trees. The elevation of Eagle Lake is about 7000 feet.

Lodging and Camping

Tahoe is a busy area in the summer and on weekends, so be sure to have reservations if you plan to stay in the vicinity. Lodging is available at South Lake Tahoe and in Stateline, Nevada.

Closer to Emerald Bay you can find lodging at Fallen Leaf Lake, Camp Richardson, Meeks Bay, and Homewood. Vacation cabin rentals abound in the area. Bayview and Eagle Point are the two nearest campgrounds. You could also consider D. L. Bliss State Park or Sugar Pine Point State Park. There are several designated backpack campsites at Eagle Lake. Campsites there must be at least 500 feet from the lake.

California's Best Camping

For complete information about campgrounds on the west shore of Lake Tahoe, see

California's Best Camping website logo

Fishing Supplies

Fishing supplies and other necessities can be found easily in Myers and in South Lake Tahoe at the following shops:

  • Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, 2705 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
  • Sportsman, 2556 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
  • Tahoe Bait and Tackle, 900 Ski Run Blvd., #102

High Sierra Trails

Pyramid Peak and Lake Aloha, California

Lake Aloha, Desolation Wilderness

High Sierra Trails website logo