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Mac the Naw: Take care when venturing out on icy waters

Doug Busey
Special to the Tribune

Hello fellow anglers; despite the weather, there is a lot going on in our local fishing world. With Topaz Lake opening up and the higher lakes having good ice, I have had as many reports this last week as I would in the middle of May. Before we get to those reports, I would like to offer a little education about ice conditions in our area.

Recent local temperatures have been extremely cold. Many of our urban ponds, like Baily and Mitch Park, have frozen over. The ice that covers these waters is only about 1-3 inches thick and very unstable due to recent daytime temperatures. Higher lakes such as Red and Caples have been in the single digits at night and 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 online and seen many ice fishing shows on television that say you can walk on 2 inches of ice and that 4 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 it fracturing or breaking. Last week, an individual tested the strength of a couple inches of ice on an urban pond in Reno and lost their life doing it.

Stay off of our local ponds and streams; hypothermia can kill you faster than drowning ever will. If you want to ice fish, join us at Red Lake or Caples Lake. Always use caution and common sense when you are near a frozen body of water. Now for the local fishing report:

LAKE TAHOE: Mackinaw action has been hot. Anglers have been fishing 150-200 feet of water and progressing to 250 feet. The best areas have been the Tahoe Shelf near Tahoe City or Cal-Neva Point, and flashers and a minnow or white Flatfish lures have been most productive. The average fish has been 3-8 pounds with a few up to 15 pounds. Toplining has been spotty at Deadman Point and the Sand Harbor area. For more information, call Blue Ribbon Fishing Charters at 530-544-6552.

TOPAZ LAKE: Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby is on, and so far 220 fish over 2 pounds have been weighed in at the general store; Aaron Wilson from Wellington, Nevada, brought in the first tagged fish of the year. The first week’s winner was Keri Capps of Wellington with a 5.10-pound rainbow while the second week’s winner was Jason Mathis from Wellington with a 4-pound catch. The Topaz Marina is getting closer to opening; I spoke to Chuck Fields this week and he will let me know was soon as the ramp is open and boat rentals are available. For now, the Douglas County ramp is open with a small dock in the water. For more information, call Topaz Lodge at 775-266-3338.

CAPLES LAKE: Has 18 inches of ice with 2 feet of snow on top of that. Josh Otto from Woodfords, California, has been getting around a lot on the ice; he caught some nice rainbows using a gold Kastmaster lure in 10 feet of water off the dam. Nightcrawlers have also been doing well for anglers. For more information, call Caples Lake Resort at 209-258-8888.

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

INDIAN CREEK RESERVOIR: As of last week, had about 4-5 inches of ice with a few inches of snow on top. With recent temperatures I would recommend to stay off of the lake; the edges may have some decent ice, but the farther you venture out the thinner it will be. For more information, call Creekside Lodge at 530-694-2511.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. Remember that wherever you go, tell someone where you are going and when you will return. If you get a picture of your catch, send it to dprice@recordcourier.com. If you have a question in our local fishing area, call the Naw Line at 775-267-9722.

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


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