Wishing you a merry Fishmas

The Kids Fishing Derby entry in the Parade of Lights on Dec. 2.

The Kids Fishing Derby entry in the Parade of Lights on Dec. 2.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

Hello fellow anglers.

A very merry Fishmas and happy holidays to all. The weather is changing and keeping a few anglers inside. But if you read this report, you might get your gear out and head out between our weather makers.

Before I get to your report. I would like to thank a few anglers that weighed in on my last report, mainly in regard to the California Boaters card.

First, a mariner or commercial fisherman does not need to have a boaters card. This is true, because they are required to take the U.S. Coast Guard safety course to obtain their license. 

Also exempt are someone operating a rental vessel, someone operating a vessel while under the direct supervision of a person 18 years of age or older who has a California Boater Card.

The state says a person is exempt from needing to carry the California Boater Card if they are a resident of a state other than California, who is temporarily operating a vessel in California for less than 60 days and meets the boating requirements, if any, of his or her state. A person in a contest of racing a boat, personal watercraft or sailboat is exempt from needing to carry the California Boater Card. As it relates to the last question, Harbors and Navigation Code 678 does not give a reason for why a person racing a boat does not need to carry. Just to let you know, I hear your concerns and questions. So I reached out and communicated directly with Kristi Jones from the California Parks Department to answer your questions. The original report was written with information I received from the CDFW, which I found did not include all the facts about the boaters card, which actually came from the state parks department. But being real about it, why would you try to find excuses for not considering taking a boaters safety course?

It’s free and educational. Plus, it saves lives. I know I will be proud to show my new boaters card when asked, even though it was not a requirement for me to do so.

Now, for your brief report on what is going on in our local area.

CAPLES LAKE: The Caples Lake Resort is scheduled to open on Dec. 26 for lodging. The dining room is TBD, they are shooting for mid- to late-January. The lake has not yet started to freeze over but has started to get a little ice around the edges. Please stay off the ice until we have a confirmation of 6-8 inches of ice.

RED LAKE:  The ice has formed and there have been some people out ice skating. I have not confirmed how thick the ice is as of this date. I would use extreme caution when venturing out on any frozen body of water. The edges form first and extend outward. Simple meaning, the ice is thinner the farther out you go.


INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Both roads were open to the lake. Use caution on either you take. One becomes slippery with snow and ice, whereas the other one becomes slippery and muddy. Anglers have done good to fair using inflated/scented nightcrawlers. Some have done well with Powerbait by the dam area. The campground is closed.

EAST FORK CARSON RIVER ALPINE COUNTY: The river is running clear and low. Reminder, catch and release with artificial lures or flies only until the last Saturday in April 2024. This week the Alpine County Fish Commission planted the river with 1,200 pounds of 2-5 pound rainbow trout. For more information stop by the Carson River Resort or the Creekside Inn.

TOPAZ LAKE: The lake level is still up, and the water is mostly clear. I fished this week for a few hours and ran into a little green slime on the north end. Nothing to mess up your line or get stuck in your prop.  I fished from 9 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. I boated nine catchable rainbows and kept one in the 3-pound range. Most of those fish were caught in an hour and a half. You definitely have to do some traveling. I found two out of the six areas I fished produced. I was using 25 feet of mono with lead core line, followed by an F-5 black/gold Rapala. I recommend changing patterns until you find what they are hitting on. I have also had good luck in the deeper waters with a J-9 fire tiger pattern. NDOW planted 900 pounds of catchable rainbow trout in the lake this week the day after I fished it.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. I hope to see you on the waters soon.

In January I will be looking forward to seeing you on Red Lake doing a little ice fishing, if we do not get 10 feet of snow this year.

If you get a photo of your catch, send it to sports@recordcourier.com. Good fishin’ and tight lines.


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