Mac the Naw: Tips for ice fishing trips |

Mac the Naw: Tips for ice fishing trips

Doug Busey
Special to the Tribune

Hello fellow anglers. With frozen lakes, it has been a little quite in our local fishing area.

This is good news, though, if you like ice fishing, but remember that not all frozen lakes are safe to venture upon. Personally, I will not ice fish on a lake without at least 6 inches of ice on it. You may read in other fishing reports or see a television show on ice fishing that states, “as long as there is 3 to 4 inches of ice it is safe.” I am here to say that is so not true.

Ice forms around the edge of lakes first, and then progresses to the center. Meaning the farther out you go, the less inches of ice. I do not want to deter anglers from ice fishing, but be smart. Now for your local report.

CAPLES LAKE: The lake had 24 inches of ice on it last weekend. Anglers are out ice fishing and doing well. Best areas are the dam and the spillway. A few anglers have hiked down to the Woods Creek area. Best baits are fresh water shrimp or night crawlers. Best lures to jig with are Kastmasters or small spoons like the Thomas Bouyant. With the warming weather, the lake get a little slushy in the afternoon. I have had my best luck fishing 10 feet off the shore with a white crappie jig. The Caples Lake General Store is closed for the season, but the resort is open for those that would like to ice fish in the morning and ski Kirkwood in the afternoon. Or vise verse. For more information call the Caples Lake Resort at 209-258-8888.

RED LAKE: The lake has about 30 inches of ice on it as of last week with 6 to 10 inches of snow on top. I fished with friends Deanna Lucier and Geary Ness from Minden, Nev. We jigged with Gold Kastmaster lures then switched to night crawlers. It was a tie on bait that worked best. After a good day of fishing we caught and released about 15 brook trout and kept two for dinner. I must say, though, this was the first time I have seen an angler use a chain saw to cut a hole to fish in. They made it through the thick of ice, and when the group left, they had a nice stringer of brook trout for their supper. Early morning was the best bite.

INDIAN CREEK RES: This is an example of where not to ice fish. Renee and I ventured up last Thursday to see if the lake had thawed out. As we reached the peak we saw that it had not. Also ran into the two Steves, Lightfoot and Brower, on their way out. Lightfoot told me there was a 2-foot opening next to the shore and the rest of the lake had about 3 inches of ice on it. Lightfoot also told me he saw where an idiot angler had ventured out on the ice. The angler must have gotten scared and jumped off quickly because Lightfoot could see the top of a small ice chest partially submerged where it was left on the lake. In all of my years fishing this area, I have never seen Indian Creek Reservoir frozen enough to ice fish. With our warming temperatures, the lake should thaw by next week. The road off Diamond Valley still had snow and ice on it, but was driveable. I would not recommend using Airport Road off Highway 89. In some spots the road never sees the light of day until spring and can be dangerous.

CARSON RIVER EAST FORK: The area from Hangman’s Bridge just past Markleeville, Nev., to the state line is open to catch and release with special regulations. Artificial lures or flies only with a barbless hook. Above Hangman’s Bridge is closed until the last Saturday in April. The Carson River Resort on Highway 89 is open for cabin rentals all year now. Within a short drive you can fish the river, cross-country ski or try a dog sled ride on Highway 88 in Hope Valley. For more information call 877-694-2229.

TOPAZ LAKE: After learning that Indian Creek was still frozen. Renee and I ventured up to see if Topaz Lake was thawed out. When we arrived it was only thawed about 5 percent along the North Shore, 10 percent along the East Shore past the campground area and the south end was 30 percent thawed. We fished on the South Shore for about two hours with no bites. We saw a few more anglers with the same luck we had, none, but we all enjoyed a clear beautiful day of sun. The Nevada Park boat launch was open, but you only had access to fish the immediate area with most of the lake frozen. When we left, the lake had thawed substantially. With our recent heat wave, I the lake should be relatively ice free by the end of this weekend. Due to excessive ice structure on the lake over the last few weeks the derby has not had many anglers come in. Results from week four of the derby were, two fish more than two pounds and three tagged fish were brought in. First place for biggest fish of the week went to Patrick Richards from Zephyr Cove, Nev., for a 3.12-pound catch. Second place was Greg Rondy from Wellington, Nev., with a 3.10-pound rainbow. For more information call the Topaz Lodge at 888-743-8740. It has great eats and good sleep. Sorry, sounds like a commercial, but its true.

Other good news is the days are longer, and we only have five weeks until we turn our clocks ahead. Hope to see you on the lakes. If you get a picture of your catch send it to or drop it off at the Tribune office. If you have any questions in our local fishing world call the Naw Line at 775-267-9722. Good fishin’ and tight lines.

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