Topaz Lake, located along U.S. 395 on the Nevada-California Stateline, will open for the 2006 fishing season, one hour before sunrise on Sunday, Jan. 1.
If you like to fish, and don't have anything else planned for that day, this could be a fun way to start the new year (weather permitting!).
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take U.S. 395 south from the Carson City area for about 40 miles until you reach the lake.
You can't miss it!
WHERE TO FISH:
From shore: Best bet is along the beach on the north end or on the California side, along U.S. 395.
From a boat (Dependent on the weather!): Troll along the shoreline on the far side of the lake or near the rocky point by the Douglas County Campground or right down the middle of the lake.
HOW TO FISH:
From shore: Bait fishermen should use Power Bait, red Salmon eggs or nightcrawlers on the bottom. If you fish with nightcrawlers, inflate them to float them just off the bottom.
Spincasters should try small lures such as Daredevils, TOR-P-DO's, Kastmasters, Super Duper, Panther/Martin, etc.
Fly fishermen should use flies such as Hares' Ears, Prince Nymph, Stone Flies or Woolly Buggers.
From a boat: Troll with silver flasher blades plus nightcrawlers or with flashers plus lures such as a No. 5 black/silver or black/gold Countdown Rapala or an orange-colored Broken-Back Rapala.
WHAT YOU'LL CATCH:
Mostly rainbow trout, mostly 10-13 inches, with an occasional larger fish, up to about 4-pounds.
An occasional German brown trout. The average size will be about 1-2 pounds.
There are also reported to still be a few Tiger Trout, which is a hybrid crossbreed between a male Eastern brook trout and a female German brown trout, remaining in the lake.
If you should catch one, it will be pure luck, but what the heck, a fish is a fish!
The lake limit is five trout, 10 mountain whitefish and 15 warmwater game fish, of which not more than five may be black bass. Realistically, all you should normally expect to catch is trout.
Be advised that the area within a 100-yard radius of the Topaz Marina is closed to all fishing.
NDOW has planted tens of thousands of trout in the lake in preparation for that big opener. Here are some of the plants, all in the 7-9 inch class:
Oct. 5: 9,774 rainbow trout.
Oct. 6: 10,819 rainbows.
Oct. 10: 11,846 rainbows.
Oct. 13: 10,647 rainbows.
Oct. 20: 5,681 rainbows.
Oct. 21: 2,504 rainbows.
Oct. 21: 2,500 rainbows.
Oct. 21: 1,535 rainbows.
Oct. 31: 5,454 rainbows.
WIN BIG MONEY:
If you catch a fish with a small tag inserted by its Dorsal Fin, run, don't walk to the Topaz Store. You will have caught a prize fish that could be worth a ton of money!
A large number of tagged rainbow trout have been planted in the lake by the Topaz Lodge.
Those fish are worth anywhere from $50 to $1,000 for the lucky angler. Yep, $1,000! Not too shabby for having fun, fishing!
Many of those planter rainbows are eye-popping 10+ pounds!
One of them is a 15 pound rainbow. Another is a 12-pound rainbow with a $1,000 tag in it!
So, if you do catch one of those $1,000 fish, just remember who was the one who suggested that you fish at Topaz Lake: Your newest and bestest pal: Me!
Plus, if you catch any tagged fish from previous years, they are also redeemable. Wow!
Either a valid Nevada or a California fishing license is good anywhere along the shoreline or out on the water at the lake.
If you fish with a Nevada license, you had better also have a Nevada Trout Stamp.
If you fish on the California side with a California license, you MUST wear it where it is readily visible above the waist.
Topaz Lake will close its 2006 fishing season, two hours after sunset on Sept. 30.
Before I forget, I would like to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas.
I hope that all of you (and me, too!) get whatever you asked Santa to bring this year.
Merry Christmas for 2005!
Call Chuck Fields at the Topaz Marina at (775) 266-3550 or the Topaz Store at (775) 266-3337.
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you if any Nevada State Record fish have ever been caught at Topaz Lake.
If he grins and says, "Nope, not so far," he wins.
• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.