Mac the Naw: Getting ready for ice fishing season in the Tahoe region |

Mac the Naw: Getting ready for ice fishing season in the Tahoe region

Doug Busey
Special to the Tribune

Hello fellow anglers; winter does not officially start until Dec. 21, but with recent temperatures we’ve had, I am getting ready for ice fishing season. Although we have already had 8-degree mornings, the higher lakes are just starting to freeze over. I like to wait until a lake has a minimum of 8 to 10 inches of ice on it before I venture out, even though statistics and various websites may say differently.

As of Nov. 29, Caples Lake, Red Lake and Silver Lake only had a very thin layer of ice forming on them; better to be safe and enjoy a trip than to risk the chance of falling though thin ice. Last year, Renee and I saw three anglers fishing on Indian Creek Reservoir with only 3 inches of ice on it, and open water was only 50 feet from where they were fishing. We just need to use common sense: a 3-pound rainbow is not worth hypothermia or lose of a person’s life. I will keep you informed of ice conditions as we get closer into the season.

As the year comes to a close, it brings anglers closer to the opening day at Topaz Lake on Jan. 1. The water level as of Dec. 1 was high enough to open the Douglas County boat ramp for opening day.

At this time, Topaz Marina will not be open Jan. 1 due to a lack of water in the marina area; but that can change quickly with more rain and snow. With the Topaz opener brings the annual Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby. This year, Topaz Lodge has planted more tagged fish than ever before, and has also included some rather large rainbows. Nevada Department of Wildlife has planted over 12,000 pounds of rainbow trout in just the last couple months.

The Topaz Lodge Derby will run from Jan. 1 to April 17. All anglers must be 21 years of age or older to participate in the derby. For more information on the derby or to make reservations call Topaz Lodge at 775-266-3338.

CAPLES LAKE: Has a thin layer of ice forming, and it’s recommended to stay off the ice right now. The Lodge has a couple cabins open right now and plans to be fully open Dec. 18. For more information call Caples lake Resort at 209-258-8888.

RED LAKE: Ice is forming on the lake, but it’s recommended to stay off the lake. I am planning the annual ice fishing get-together here during the first week in January, weather and ice conditions pending.

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: Lake level is still up and the weed population is way down. With donations from the Alpine Chamber of Commerce, South Tahoe Public Utility District and the Alpine County Fish and Game Commission, the lake was recently planted with 1,800 pounds of rainbow trout averaging 1 to 2.5 pounds. I would use caution using the paved road off of Highway 89, as it is not plowed on regular basis and some of the road will not see sunlight until spring. On the other hand, the dirt road off Diamond Valley can get slippery and muddy. Use caution going to and from the lake; cellular service is spotty in the area and that would be a 3-mile hike out either way if you got stuck.

For anglers new to the area, Creekside Lodge is located in Markleeville, central to fishing, Grovers Hot Springs and the local ski resorts. For more information call Creekside Lodge at 530-694-2511.

RIVERS AND STREAMS IN ALPINE COUNTY: Closed for the season until April, with the exception of the East Carson River from Hangmans Bridge to the Nevada stateline. That section is open all year to catch-and-release fishing, which means a zero limit with artificial lures and flies only with a barbless hook.

Be safe on your next fishing adventure. Make sure to let someone know where you are going and when you will be coming back, do not adventure onto any back roads this time of year, and always carry sunscreen, water, and lip balm, keep your gas tank full and your cell phone charged.

If you have a picture of your catch, send it to If you have a question or a fishing report in our local area, call the Naw Line at 775-267-9722. See you on the waters — or the ice — in January. Good fishin’ and tight lines.

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