Fishing starts strong at Topaz Lake |

Fishing starts strong at Topaz Lake

Tim Sullivan, left, and Mickey Mckeon of Gardnerville show off the fish they caught on opening day on Jan. 1 at Topaz Lake. Sullivan went home with one fish that weighed 3 pounds.
Eileen Sullivan / Special to The R-C |

A lot has changed since last year at this time in regard to water conditions for fishing at Topaz Lake, where low water levels stemming from three successive dry winters made it challenging to launch a boat.

Conditions are much more favorable today, thank you. And anglers have taken advantage to get a nice jump on the annual Topaz Lodge Resort & Casino Fishing Derby, according to resort general manager Rick Ross.

“It’s going pretty good,” Ross said on Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve had 200 fish turned in that are 2 pounds or better and eight tagged fish.”

New Year’s Day signals the start of the 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.

Hundreds of anglers braved frigid weather to cast their lines on New Year’s Day. Ross noted that he saw a number of campfires off the shore at the crack of dawn.

“You’ve got to be in pretty good spirits to be out there at 5 a.m.,” he said, chuckling.

A $50 cash prize is awarded for the heaviest fish at the end of each week. The second-place catch is worth $25 in free play at Topaz Lodge. Untagged fish that weigh 2 pounds or more are worth $5 in free slot play and 10 drawing entries. 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.

Higher water on the lake was welcomed by those who like to fish from their boats.

“Those storms in December put enough water in the lake to launch boats,” Ross said.