Mac the Naw: Ice fishing and Topaz Lake Derby highlight start new year |

Mac the Naw: Ice fishing and Topaz Lake Derby highlight start new year

Doug Busey
Special to the Tribune

Hello fellow anglers; a new year will soon be upon us. With the new year brings the Topaz Lake Fishing Derby starting Jan. 1, and ice fishing up in the Sierra. For California anglers, it is time to purchase a 2016 fishing license. For Nevada anglers, their licenses are valid until the end of February. For the hundreds of anglers fishing opening day at Topaz Lake, a fishing license from either state is valid. For fellow boat anglers, it is also time to get new registration and your AIS (aquatic invasive species) decal. All of these can be purchased online at either California Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Nevada Department of Wildlife. Either site will allow you to print out a temporary license or registration, which must be kept on your person and not in the glove box of your vehicle.

For those anglers heading for Topaz Lake Jan. 1, use extreme caution on your morning drive. Many of the drivers you encounter may be driving home from a New Year’s party and may be still under the influence. If you are camping at the lake, enjoy your cocktails and festivities but do not get behind the wheel — as a reminder, you can get a DUI while operating a boat. The Douglas County boat ramp will be open for launching and the water has been coming up the last couple of weeks. A Douglas County park ranger told me larger boats may have to use the end of the dock, but that they will be open; use caution on the ramp as it will be icy. As of now, Topaz Landing Marina is not scheduled to open due to low water. For further updates call Topaz Landing at 775-266-3550.

The Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby officially starts Jan. 1. This where you can get paid to fish — $100 cash prize plus $10 free slot play and 10 entries into a drawing by catching a tagged fish, which Topaz Lodge has stocked more this year than in than any other year. Catch a trout 2 pounds and larger and get $5 in free slot play and 10 entries into the drawing. Each week, the two largest trout weighed in at the Topaz General Store will be awarded $50 cash for the largest and $25 free slot play for the second largest. There is no entry fee into the derby and anglers must be 21 years of age or older to participate. Anyone caught trying to enter a fish from a location other than Topaz Lake will be disqualified for the entire derby, and may be publicly humiliated in this column. To get more information on the derby or to make reservations, call Topaz Lodge at 775-266-3338 or visit

Now, for those ice fishing enthusiasts like myself. Caples Lake has reported 6-9 inches of ice as of Dec. 18; a few anglers have been seen fishing, but no one has reported back to the resort. Red Lake reported 8-10 inches of ice as of Dec. 16; Josh Otto from Woodfords, California, caught a nice stringer of rainbows using a Kastmaster lure and Powerbait. Weather pending, I will be joining my fishing partners on Red Lake on Sunday, Jan. 10, for those that would like to join us.

Ice fishing is great sport, and there is no special equipment needed to ice fish except for an ice auger that can be picked up at most sporting goods stores — or come out to Red Lake and I will loan you my auger to see if ice fishing is for you. I started ice fishing with a 5-gallon bucket to carry my gear, which can be used as a seat to sit on. No tackle box is needed, only a few split shots, hooks and a gold Kastmaster that can fit in a Ziploc bag, along with a box of worms. I now use a small sled to carry my gear that includes a folding chair for a little more comfort.

Hope to see you on the waters or on the ice. If you have any questions or fishing reports in our local fishing world, call the Naw Line at 775-267-9722. Have a photo of your catch? Send it to Be safe and have a happy Naw Year. Good fishin’ and tight lines.

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