Ample water (and fish) on opening day |

Ample water (and fish) on opening day

Staff Reports
Several fishermen were out on Topaz Lake Friday for the traditional New Year's Day opener.
John Flaherty |

Never mind the frigid conditions, fishing enthusiasts kept with tradition Friday when they turned out at the crack of dawn to ring in a new season at Topaz Lake.

There was an abundance of fish caught on a day that saw temperatures still in the teens at mid-morning. Gail Gardner-Dublanc wrote on Facebook that she and her family caught 17 fish on opening day, then 20 each on the second and third days while trolling all three days. Two of those fish were caught by her 5-year-old granddaughter, Katelynn DuBlanc.

“On average (the fish weighed) 2 pounds,” DuBlanc noted. “The biggest two were 2.7 pounds and 2.6 pounds.”

New Year’s Day also signals the start of the Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby and its opportunities to win weekly prizes as well as end-of-the-derby prizes. The derby continues until April 17, when the grand prize of $1,000 cash plus fishing gear prizes will be given away. Among the featured attractions are tagged fish that have been planted in the lake. Each tagged fish is worth $100 instant cash along with $10 of free slot play at Topaz Lodge and 10 entries into the derby’s weekly drawing.

Even if the temperatures are cold, there is never anything wrong with getting paid to go fishing.

“They said it was real cold out there, but you catch a $100 tagged fish and that takes a little sting out of the cold,” Rick Ross, general manager at Topaz Lodge Resort & Casino said in an interview last year.

A $50 cash prize is awarded for the heaviest fish at the end of each week. The second-place catch each week is worth $25 in free play at Topaz Lodge.

Any untagged fish that weighs 2 pounds or more will receive $5 in free slot play and 10 entries into the drawing.

Derby participants must be at least 21 years of age with a valid fishing license. Weigh-ins are handled at the Topaz Lodge General Store.

Call Topaz Lodge at 266-3338 or 800-962-0732 for information.