Use caution on the ice |

Use caution on the ice

Keri Capps of Wellington was the first week winner of the Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby with a 5-pound, 10-ounce catch.
Keri Capps / Special to The R-C |

Hello fellow anglers. There is a lot going on in our local fishing world, despite the weather.

With Topaz Lake opening up and the higher lakes having good ice on them this year, I received as many reports this week as I normally would in the middle of May.

Before we get to our reports, I would like to do a little education about ice conditions in our area. Local weather temperatures have been extremely cold during the end of December and into this year. Many of our urban ponds like Baily and Mitch’s pond have frozen over. The ice that covers these waters are only about one to three inches thick and very unstable. This is due to our recent daytime temperatures in the mid-30s and even 40 degrees. Our higher lakes such as Red and Caples have been in the single digit night temperatures, only getting to the mid-20s during the day. With snowfall on top of that the ice structure continues to build in strength and depth.

I have read many stories on the web and seen many ice fishing shows on television that indicate you can walk on two inches of ice and four inches of ice will hold a car. To me, my life is not worth testing those theories. I only start ice fishing when I have a confirmation of 8-10 inches of ice, and even then, there is always a risk of the ice fracturing or breaking.

I watched ice skaters on Little Washoe Lake last week and there was only three inches of ice on it. With the combined weight of 15 people that is a disaster waiting to happen. Unfortunately last week an individual tested the strength of a couple inches of ice that was on an urban pond in Reno and died doing it.

Stay off of our local ponds and streams. Always use caution and common sense when you are near a frozen body of water. Hypothermia can kill you faster than drowning ever will.

If you want to ice fish join us at Red Lake or Caples Lake.

Now for a local fishing report.

LAKE TAHOE: Mackinaw action has been hot. Anglers have been fishing 150-200 and progressing to 250 feet of water. The best areas have been the Tahoe Shelf near Tahoe City or Cal/Neva Point. Flashers and a minnow or white Flatfish lures have been most productive. The average fish have been 3-8 pounds with a few up to 15 pounds. Toplining has been spotty at Deadman’s Point or the Sand Harbor area. Be careful of the boat eating rocks when fishing in shallow waters. Call Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters at 530-544-6552 for more information.

TOPAZ LAKE: The Topaz Lodge fishing derby is on and so far 220 fish over 2 pounds have been weighed in at the general store. Also, seven tagged fish have been brought in so far since the season opened. Aaron Wilson from Wellington brought in the first tagged fish of the year. Each tagged fish is worth $100 cash. The first week’s winner was Keri Capps of Wellington with a 5.10-pound rainbow (the second-place winner wanted to remain anonymous). The second week winners were Jason Mathis from Wellington with 4.0 pounds, while Sherry Haar from Wellington took second-place. I wonder if they have a fishing club in Wellington, all of the winners have been from there so far this year. Topaz Marina is getting closer to opening, I spoke to Chuck Fields this week. Chuck will let me know was soon as the ramp is open and the boat rentals are available. The Douglas County ramp is open with the small dock for now. Call Topaz Lodge at 266-3338 for more information.

CAPLES LAKE: The lake has 18 inches of ice with two feet of snow on top of that. Josh Otto from Woodfords has been getting around a lot on the ice as you will read in other reports. Josh caught some nice rainbows using a gold Kastmaster lure off of the dam in 10 feet if water. Night crawlers have also been doing well for anglers. Call Caples Lake Resort at 209-258-8888 for more information.

RED LAKE: The lake has 15 inches of ice with a foot or so of snow in it. Anglers have been using Kastmasters or small jig spoons and doing well for cutthroat and rainbow trout. Night Crawlers or salmon eggs are also producing some good catches. If the weather holds, we will be out this Sunday to do some ice fishing ourselves.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: The lake as of last week had about 4-5 inches of ice in it, with a few inches of snow. With our recent temperatures I would recommend staying off of the lake. The edges may have some decent ice, but the farther you venture out, the thinner it will be. No fish is worth the risk. A few anglers ventured out and caught some small rainbows two weeks ago when the ice was thicker. Call Creekside Lodge at 530-694-2511 for more information.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. remember no matter where you go, tell some one where you are going and when you will return. If you get a picture of your catch send it to If you have a question in our local fishing area call the Naw Line at 267-9722.

See you on the waters. Good fishin’ and tight lines.