The only thing I can imagine is that the forage base in the lake must have been plentiful........or that is a brood fish, but to have caught two of them and to have seen others makes me think they are lake run fish (Santeetlah sits at 1,800 feet or better and is 160 feet deep) that had a good year eating shad or whatever the forage base is. They seem to be in the river from about now until the end of February. I have never caught one after the creek reopens in April. I wish I had had a scale espacially for the first fish, it was a pig! 4x tippet and no net, broke my line as I slid it on the bank. The last nudge was with my boot!
I put them back, and wouldn't mind seeing more flyfisherman on the creek through these months. The creek is pretty heavily populated with people and the trash is not pretty. Maybe with a little more notoriety and reputation, a clean up of the creek can be organized.... With the locals, not people on this board.
Anyway bring some stoneflies and salmon eggs; I like pale pinks and oregon cheese in about a size 10 or so.
John (send an emal if you like; email@example.com