Collins Lake Status

Last Updated: January 26th, 2021 8:23pm

Campground: Open
Day Use: Open
Boat Launch: Open

What to expect

  • Masks are required in the store (Thanks for helping us stay open!)
  • Maximum of 2 vehicles per campsite (first one is included in price)
  • Maximum of 6 people per campsite, including children
  • All campsite occupants must be from the same household
  • No sharing space among different household groups, even if registered in different campsites

Please review the details in this PDF before you arrive.

Tons of Trout

One of my favorite things about writing up Collins Lake Catches is seeing the variety of strategies and techniques that folks use to entice trout, bass, crappie, catfish, redear and bluegill.  I still remember being a kid in Elmer’s cove, learning the magical power a simple jig can hold over a defensive bluegill and hearing stories of catfish caught on s’mores.

Weekly plants are top loading the lake with TONS (literal tons) of Trout

…additional net pen releases will start sometime in the next 2 weeks

Dan Cowan & Chey Bernal brought this haul a FireTiger & Rattletrap

Last week I mentioned you should look for fish moving off shore and for the trolling game to pick up;  “Wyatt the great” and his family from Lincoln are backing me up with six trout caught trolling KastMaster, still in the top 15ft.  Kimberly was trolling about the same depth with a HotShot rig when she hooked this 4.75lb rainbow.


You’ll see most strategic variety at the seasonal transitions, especially during the winter-spring as Bass are in pre-spawn and trout start to move farther off shore.  PowerBait is typically very good for trout all year round, and if you only get out once or twice a year it’s not a bad bet;  PowerBait is what the Johnston family used (orange), Rick Perry used (green) and Don & Janae (Peach w/Salmon Scent).


But if it’s all you’re using… and you’re using it all the time it can become tiresome and even if it’s very good, it’s not always the best…

Check out this dark 5 pounder Ronnie Luman caught on a spinner… or this 7 pounder caught by Scott Bergenstock of Auburn on a broken-back Rapala South of the boat launch…or if you haven’t seen it yet, the 10.5 pound trout Paul Nederveld caught a week ago trolling a rattletrap near the dam.

Spring inflows churn the thermocline into a gentle gradient almost like an early turnover.  Trout tend to spread into deeper waters.  Although the surface temperature appears almost unchanged the warming water runs deeper.  Some bass fishermen will start looking for pre-spawn bass instinctual gorging themselves well before the surface thermometer reads 55F.  And SOME fishermen will find them.  I love bass fishing with crawdads but it’s still early for that- Bass haven’t the beds and you’re better off hunting farther off the bottom, I’d start with a rubber worm.

If you don’t have a boat you can always rent one or,  if you want your own piece of shoreline, being careful for slick mud & poison oak (which doesn’t yet have its trademark leaves), try the Hidden Spruce Trail that follows the North-West waterline.

Crappie are still preferring the cold deep water, and will until they start fanning beds in late spring- they are hard to find.  Crappie will still swallow a minnow in the cold but you have to find them.  Run a fish-finder near underwater ledges and look down at least 25ft.  

Elaine Breifman showing a beautiful Largemouth

It’s a beautiful time of year, the oak trees are putting on new leaves in that yellow green that seems too fresh and bright to be real.  Daffodils are in full bloom and wildflowers are beginning their show.  You’ll see rainy days in the weather report but typically it’s not the full days of rain we’ve seen in February and March- some guys swear that the moments after a downpour are a fishing wonderland.  At least I can say with certainty that our scaled friends enjoy the current and fresh oxygenation of a good inflow.

Nice Catch?  Send me a picture &details:

Campsite 56 – As of this writing available 4/27 – 5/5 for a 7-night minimum stay, 30ft max trailer

If you’re looking for lakefront camping we still have sites available during the weekdays, you can check availability & book online or give us a call.  The weekends on the lakefront from here on out are getting booked up, especially for longer rigs, but regardless, if at all possible I always recommend taking time off to camp & fish during the weekdays when the crowds aren’t so dense. 

That being said, with the current weather system breaking Thursday evening and highs in the 60’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday are looking pretty fantastic!

See you on the water, Ed

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