Cold water, cold fish make for easy catch at opener

Waders, warm socks and gold or black Rappalas were the recipe for catching fish Wednesday during opening day of fishing at Topaz Lake.

"It's been kind of a slow one, " said Linda Fields, who owns the Topaz Landing & Marina with her husband, Chuck. "Nobody's in a hurry to get out on the lake.

"It's cold. Right now (3 p.m.), it's only about 38. But for the fishermen who've been out, the fish are beautiful."

Fields said the cold water is sending fish close to the shoreline and near the surface.

The marina's derby was weighing most 1 1/2 pounders, with the largest of the day a rainbow trout, weighing in at 2 pounds and 1/4 ounce.

Fields said at the most there were about 100 boats on the lake, "only about a third of what we normally see on an opener."

Fields said icy roads and closed passes were the most likely deterrents.

"We had two people who came in last weekend and said it took them seven hours to get here. I have a feeling this weekend will be the true opener. It's supposed to be clear and warmer."

Wendell Hohmann of the National Weather Service said temperatures will improve into the weekend, with only sprinkles expected for precipitation.

The lows will be in the mid 20s to lower 30s both days, but more sunshine and less wind is expected Sunday. Highs will be in the 50s both days, he said.

For today, expect cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid- to upper-40s.

"We should be about normal," Hohmann said.

At the Topaz Lodge & Casino's General Store the largest catch of the day -- a 20-inch, 4 pound, 7 ounce rainbow -- was made by Gardnerville Ranchos resident Beverly Fricke, said store manager Vicki Hathaway.

Fricke's fish was tagged and earned her a $500 prize offered by the casino.

Hathaway said she had already logged 20 fish into the contest book and sold hundreds of fishing licenses.

Fields said anglers coming to the marina were catching their limits and taking home "nice stringers. The ones that are fishing are happy.

"They've been using night crawlers or black and gold Rapalas; the majority have been Rappalas.

"Put some of those heater things in your boots," she advised. "That water's cold."

Topaz Lake is a high-desert reservoir 40 miles south of Carson City on the Nevada-California line. Along Highway 395 at the base of the eastern slope of the Sierra, the lake is fed by the West Walker River.

The lake is stocked and managed jointly by the Nevada Division of Wildlife and the California Department of Fish and Game. A valid fishing license from either state is required.

It is closed to fishing from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31.

About 70,000 rainbow trout are stocked each year, with most about 10 to 12 inches in size.

The largest rainbow, according to record books, was caught April 1, 1998, by Tony Hemmah and was nearly 31 inches long and weighed in at 13 pounds, 8 ounces.

Cutbow, brown and tiger trout can also be caught.


Topaz Landing & Marina

(775) 266-3550

Topaz Lodge & Casino

(775) 266-3338


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