I must now rate Susanville, CA as a difficult destination. When Ruth & I first visited this town several years ago, we liked it a lot. That’s why we returned. However, I wrote about it on May 30, 2021, and had to call it a sad destination. The reasons are obvious when you read the blog. The cause of its difficulty that I didn’t mention is water. This state may be heading into an unprecedented water crisis.
Three sources I read in preparation to write about Susanville again called Eagle Lake “the second largest natural lake in the state”. Eagle Lake is 16 miles from Susanville and the only subject I could get a local man to talk about. The man loved Eagle Lake and worked at the Best Western motel where we stayed. He loved it as his favorite local destination. I googled the largest natural lake in California and Eagle Lake was not even on the list. It told me that Tulare Lake was the largest natural lake in the state of California, which I learned has 300 natural lakes.
I began doing research and found that Tulare Lake is larger than Lake Tahoe but dry. Tulare was described as a freshwater dry lake with residual wetlands and marshes in the southern San Joaquin Valley. How can a dry lake with wetlands be larger than Eagle Lake? Then I learned that Tulare Lake went dry for the first time in history in….1899 and remained dry for most of the 20th century. Why it it still listed as an existing and important California lake?
Eagle Lake is said to have over 100 miles of pristine shoreline and is famous for its Eagle Trout. It is called a fisherman’s favorite spot, and that is why the man at the motel loved it so much. I read that Eagle Lake has camping facilities, boating opportunities, and swimming galore. The article went on about it being a biker’s favorite place, and it recommended that I check the latest fishing news. I did and it was ideal while Eagle Lake, a large natural wonder, was not even listed among California’s biggest lakes. I overheard other fishermen talking about road conditions near Redding on the Sacramento River that involved snow difficulties. I read that Eagle Lake is a place to fish, boat, ski, windsurf, sail, and swim. I read that each year the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released up to 175,000 Eagle Lake Trout into this lake to assure a catch for almost everyone. The article went on to rave about what good eating these trout were, and it said that 10 pound trout were not impossible to catch. It talked about the 326 campsites at Eagle Lake. It raved about picnic areas, beaches, and rollerblading opportunities at this very large lake that isn’t even listed among California’s biggest. On the next page were photos of smiling fish catchers followed by a vivid map showing how to get to Eagle Lake. Another travel guide had bald eagles on its cover that could be seen in the area.
The coming California water crisis must be very bad. Ruth & I did not see Eagle Lake on this trip but we saw Mono Lake, The Salton Sea, and Lake Tahoe listed among California’s largest lakes. But Eagle Lake was not. This is very confusing to outsiders. What gives?