11th annual John Riordan Invitational Tourney this weekend

April 20-21-22 (this weekend) are the dates of the highly-popular John Riordan Invitational Fishing Derby.

By way of background, Riordan is the assistant general manager for the Carson Station Hotel and Casino, and this will be the 11th annual version of his fun-filled, fishing event at Topaz Lake.

The derby is traditionally headquartered at the Topaz Lake Marina and the Topaz Lake Lodge at Topaz Lake on the Nevada-California stateline, about 40 miles south of Carson City.

Here is some info:


The derby officially begins at 5 a.m. on Sunday, April 20 and ends at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22.

During those three days, the contestants will be able to fish, anywhere they desire, in the following Nevada waters: Any of the open waters of the Carson River and the Walker River systems such as Topaz Lake, Topaz Canal, East Walker River, West Walker River, East Carson River, West Carson River, Main Carson River, Mason Valley Wildlife Management Area (North Pond, Hinkson Slough, etc.), Fort Churchill Cooling Ponds, Lahontan Reservoir, Weber Reservoir and Walker Lake.


A total of 110 contestants will be vying for cash prizes ($150 for first, $75 for second and $25 for third) in four categories: Catfish, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout and Any Other Trout.

Don H. and Don Q.

As usual, my regular fishing partner Don Hettrick and I, plus our other two partners, Norm Budden and Bob 'Slick" McCulloch, will be trying to win some (heck, if we could, we would like to win all) of those top prizes in the various fishing categories.

And as usual, Don H. and Don Q. will be trying desperately to outfish Budden and McCulloch for our own private bragging rights for the rest of the year.

For the last several years, Don H. and I haven't done very well and those other two "Meanies" constantly torment, badger and mean-mouth the two of us, all year long.

Geez, it would be awesome to be winners in 2008, so Don H. and I could return the favor to those two chatterboxes. Life, then, would be good for the two Dons.


The derby traditionally features an all you can eat hamburger/hotdog barbecue on Sunday evening at the Marina, and a barbecued Tri-Tip steak dinner also at the Marina on Monday night. The traditional Prime Rib dinner and awards banquet will be held Tuesday evening at the Topaz Lodge.

At the Tri-Tip dinner, every contestant will win a raffle prize, which includes such "goodies" as fishing rods, reels, tackle boxes, all kinds of camping and fishing gear, ice chests, shirts, hats, etc.


The first John Riordan Invitational Fishing Derby was held many years ago at Bodega Bay in Northern California. That derby was the idea of Steve Ustal, Riordan's late brother-in-law.

That first-ever, get-together attracted only four people who fished for Ling Cod and Rock Cod in the ocean. On that initial trip, the idea of having an annual derby took root and grew.

The following year, 10 contestants were entered in the event, which was also held at Bodega Bay.

The third year, a total of 25 people (including yours truly on his first-ever trip) traveled to Bodega Bay, where I won first place with a Rock Cod.

Through the years, the derbies have been headquartered at a number of different locations including Bodega Bay, Bucks Lake, the Walker River Resort in Smith Valley and Topaz Lake.

A perpetual trophy, dedicated to the memory of Ustal, is awarded to the angler who catches the largest fish in the derby.

Last year's winners were


1. J. W. Hatley of Minden: 3-pounds, 13-ounces: Weber Reservoir near Schurz.

2. J. W. Hatley: 2-pounds, 9-ounces: Weber Reservoir.

3. J. W. Hatley: 2-pounds, 5.5 ounces: Weber Reservoir.

Cutthroat Trout:

1. Carl Inman Jr. of Carson City: 3-pounds, 9-ounces: Walker Lake.

2. Carl Inman Jr.: 3-pounds, 4.5 ounces: Walker Lake.

3. Jim Bolta of Dayton: 3-pounds, 3/4 ounces: Walker Lake.

Rainbow Trout:

1. Wayne Schlachta of Dayton: 4-pounds, 1/2 ounce: Topaz Lake.

2. Larry Myers of Genoa: 2-pounds, 11-ounces: The East Walker River.

3. Todd Boerner of Carson City: 2-pounds, 8.5 ounces: Topaz Lake.

Brown Trout:

1. Warren Senour of Stagecoach: 2-pounds, 12.5 ounces: The East Walker River.

2. Warren Senour: 1-pound, 12.5 ounces: The East Walker River

3. Norm Budden of Carson City: 13.25 ounces: East Walker River.

Largest fish:

Wayne Schlachta.


This Derby should, once again, be a fun-filled occasion where everyone who attends will have a chance to visit with good friends, fish, try to win some money, eat great food, have a ton of fun, etc.

And, this year, Don H. and Don Q. plan to win some big money.

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you where Don H. and Don Q. will be fishing during the three-day derby.

If he grins and says, "Heck, it is so secret that they won't even tell Budden and McCulloch," he could be a contestant in the derby.

• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.


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