Walker Lake Derby on Nov. 27 offers big cash prizes for anglers

The big, annual, Thanksgiving weekend Walker Lake fishing derby will be held this year on Nov. 27.

That derby has a theme of "A Fisherman's Holiday" and is sponsored by the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce.

The entry fee for adults is $25 per person. The entry fee for youngsters is $10.

In the adult category, there is a first place prize of $1,500 for the heaviest creel weight for the day. Second place wins $750, and third place is $500.

In the youngster's category (ages 11 and under), there is a first place prize of a $100 savings bond. Second place will win a $75 savings bond and third is a $50 savings bond.

Any trout caught with a tag from any previous derby will be worth $100.

On derby day, the official fishing hours will be from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. The fish weighing station will close at 4 p.m.

Then on Saturday night, the winners will be announced at a no-host cocktail hour/buffet to be held at the Mineral County Convention Center at 6 p.m.

At that function, there will the traditional "Liars Contest." which will award $100 to the biggest liar of the evening.

So if you are one of those many anglers who have not fished at Walker Lake this year or who have never fished there, you have been missing out on a ton of fun.

In my less-than-humble opinion, fishing at Walker Lake at this time of the year as compared to fishing some other local waters is very attractive for a number of interesting reasons.

According to "Don Q," here's why:

If you fish at Lake Tahoe:

- The limit is five fish of which not more than two can be Mackinaw trout.

- The most frequently caught fish at Tahoe is the Mackinaw.

- You need a boat to fish for "Macks."

- Shore fishing is almost non-existent.

- That boat must be equipped with an electronic fish locator.

- If you troll, you need to use downriggers or heavy steel lines to reach the depths where the Mackinaw are found.

- The weather can be brutally cold during the winter months at that elevation of 6,200 feet.

- It is about a one-half hour drive to the Cave Rock or Sand Harbor boat launch areas, which both charge a launching fee.

If you fish at Pyramid Lake:

- You use only artificial flies or lures.

- The limit is two cutthroat trout 16-19 inches in length. Or you can catch one trout 16-19 inches and one that is over 24 inches.

- You must release any cutthroat less than 16 inches or between 19 and 24 inches.

- You can not travel by vehicle at the north end of the lake.

- There is a daily fee of $6 per fisherman.

- A daily fee of $6 per boat.

- The boat ramp at Sutcliffe needs some serious modification.

- It is about a 2 hour drive to the Sutcliffe or Pelican Point boat launch areas.

On the other hand, if you fish at Walker Lake:

- The limit is five cutthroat trout, regardless of size.

- The trout are comparable to if not larger than those at Pyramid, with cutthroat in the 5-7 pound class not that unusual.

- You can fish equally as well anywhere from shore as you can from a boat.

- You can use bait, including minnows taken from the lake.

- The best fishing is along the west side of the lake, all along U.S. 95.

- There is no charge to launch your boat at Sportsmen's Beach.

- The weather is noticeably warmer at Walker Lake than here in Western Nevada during the winter months.

- It is about a 2 hour drive to Sportsmen's Beach. (1 1/2 hours if you drive a little red pickup like I do!).

With all that said, if you now have an interest in fishing at Walker Lake, here's some additional tips from Don Q on where and how to fish there:

- From shore: fish at locations such as 20-Mile Beach, Sand Point, Sportsmen's Beach, "The Cliffs," the old state park area or on the far south end of the lake.

If you're a bait fisherman, use Chartreuse, orange, pink or Captain America Power Bait.

If you're a spincaster, use No. 2 Tor-P-Do lures, such as red/white striped, yellow/black dot, Chartreuse/black dot or the new Fire Tiger.

- From a boat: troll between Sand Point and Rock Point, in front of Sportsmen's beach, in front of "The Cliffs" or on the far south end of the lake.

Troll with large, silver or Fire Tiger colored Kwikfish or silver colored U-20 Flatfish lures or with various colored Tor-P-Do lures in the No. 2 or No. 3 size.

- As a special tip, If you have a minnow trap, you can trap Tui Chub for bait. Then as a shore fisherman, you can use the minnows under a bobber. Or if you are a boater, you can troll with a minnow behind silver flasher blades.

Finally, plan enter the Nov. 27 derby.

For a $25 investment, you could win the $1,500 first place prize for the heaviest string of trout.

That money would sure buy a lot of very nice Christmas presents for your friends, relatives and one other person. That person is "Don Q" who gave you the tip to fish at Walker Lake. Don't forget him at Christmas time.

Good luck to you.

For information, call Bob Tompkins at the Gun and Tackle Store in Hawthorne at 702-945-3266 or Bob Weaver at the Mineral County Chamber of Commerce at 702-945-5896 during business hours.

- Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what Don Q's two largest trout are at Walker Lake so far this year.

If you grins and responds, "Don Q caught a 7.73 pounder and a 6.82 pounder on Nov. 6," he might have read last week's Outdoor Page.


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