Sierra fishing making a transition to winter

Caples Lake has some snow on its shores as mist rises from the water on Nov. 15. Winter fishing is on the way, but has not quite arrived yet.
Photo special to The R-C by Mike and Gwen Nicolli

Caples Lake has some snow on its shores as mist rises from the water on Nov. 15. Winter fishing is on the way, but has not quite arrived yet. Photo special to The R-C by Mike and Gwen Nicolli

Hello fellow anglers.

I hope you are enjoying time with friends and family over this Thanksgiving weekend. The seasons are changing and so are some fishing regulations in California.

As of Nov. 16, the lakes in Inyo and Mono counties have closed to fishing for the season and will reopen on the last Saturday in April. Along with these regulation changes, come the changing of river and stream fishing for most of California. I say most of California for a reason. There are some streams and tributaries that are closed to fishing until next year. While many change over to catch and release with use of artificial lures and flies with barbless hooks. I recommend checking the CDFW regulations for any area you plan to fish. 

Now as most anglers know, Topaz Lake is now open all year long, which being on the state line, will allow you to use a California or a Nevada valid fishing license. Be sure to check the expiration date on your license since both states now have a 365 day expiration date. Also a reminder, California is requiring a boater’s safety card when venturing out on any California body of water. As of 2024, anyone younger than 60 years of age must have a boaters safety card. In 2025, all boaters must have a boaters safety card. You can go to to get all the information and sign up for a safety class online. The classes start at zero dollars, and all are approved. The reason California has this requirement is for the safety of the boater and their passengers, as well as the public around them. There have been many instances where a person goes out and buys a new boat to enjoy a weekend with the family. They learn to ski and fish. But do they know what to do if they see a buoy with a circle on it? Or diamond shape? Circle means areas with restricted operations such as speed limits or a no wave zone, while a diamond buoy is to alert boaters for hazards. And if you see a buoy with a diamond and crosshairs, this means boating is not allowed in that area. The most important of all is the orange flag. If you see a boater waving an orange flag, slow down and look, because there is a person in the water. I asked the California Park Department if they would accept my Nevada state boaters safety card. I was told that there were many different regulations in California, and I would need to take one of their approved courses. Which I am taking now. It is always nice to have a refresher course to keep up with new rules and reminders of the old ones.

As of the new year, I will include one question in each report for you to think about and research on your own. And following that report, I will give you the answer to the previous question that was asked. Driving and owning a boat comes with responsibilities. Due to changing weather and fishing regulations, most of you will be enjoying family, football and a lot of food over this weekend. I have narrowed down this report to the basics.

CAPLES LAKE: The EID day use and boat ramp are closed for the season. The resort is closed right now. But is expected to open back up in mid December. I have also been told that they may be opening up the restaurant in the new year. The lake got its first snow on the Nov. 15. The lake will start to freeze over the next month, and I hope to be ice fishing by January. Only if there isn’t 10 feet of snow on the lake, like last year. For more information check out the Caples Lake website at

RED LAKE: No fishing reports over the last few weeks. The lake is starting to freeze over. Stay off the lake until the ice is 6-8 inches. See you at the end of December or January for ice fishing.

BLUE LAKES-TAMARACK LAKE-SUNSET LAKES: The road is closed for the season.

BURNSIDE LAKE: As of this week, the road was still open. Use extreme caution if you venture in. There is one way in and out of the lake, and the road is not so flat.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: The lake was tested and has not had any detectable blue green algae. Anglers have been using inflated crawlers or green Powerbait by the dam. Always rinse your catch when you get home before eating or freezing. Both roads are open. You will see some construction going on along the road by the lake. They are installing guardrails along the dirt road and there has been talks to include railing down by the dam area to restrict overnight camping. I have not heard back from BLM about when the campground will reopen.


CARSON RIVER EAST FORK ALPINE COUNTY: The fishing regulations have changed to catch and release with artificial lures or flies with barbless hooks. It does get mighty cold up there. But when Renee and I fished the last day of the regular season. There were plenty of big fish still left in the river. And we released all of our catches. The Carson River Resort is open all year with cabin rentals. Fish in the mid-morning and sit by the river with a campfire by evening.

TOPAZ LAKE:  The lake level has fluctuated a bit within a foot up and down. The Douglas County ramp and day use is open all year for anglers and us diehard winter campers and fishers. The NDOW recently planted 7,000 catchable rainbow trout. Shore fishing has been good on the Nevada side of the lake. I have not fished or heard of any anglers on the California side recently. Trollers have been doing well with flashes and a half crawler. Or try pulling a spinner behind the boat. Take you time when boating this time of year. Hyperthermia can set in within seconds if you fall overboard. And always keep an eye out for fellow boaters that may need assistance.

MONITOR AND EBBETTS PASS: Both are open as of this week. keep an eye on the weather. This time of year they can close on a day’s notice with inclement weather.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. Remember to let someone know where you are going and when you will return. Carry extra supplies in your vehicle in case of a breakdown, not all areas have cell service.

If you get a picture of your catch, send it to sports@ See you on the waters soon.

Good fishin’ and tight lines.


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