Catch a tagged rainbow and win up to $1,000 at Topaz Lake |

Catch a tagged rainbow and win up to $1,000 at Topaz Lake

Don Quilici

Here’s my annual reminder that Topaz Lake, located along U.S. 395 at the Nevada-California Stateline will open its fishing season, one hour before sunrise on Tuesday, Jan. 1.

If you like to fish for trout, if the weather cooperates and if you don’t have anything else planned for that day, this could be a fun way to start the new year. Plus, as a bonus, if you catch a tagged rainbow trout, you could instantly win, up to $1,000 in cash! That’s correct: $1,000 in cash! Not too shabby for starting out the new year.

Here’s some info for you:


Take U.S. 395 south from the Carson City area for about 40 miles until you reach the lake. It will be on your left hand side!


From shore: Your best bet for shore fishing is usually along the beach on the north end or on the California side, along U.S. 395.

From a boat (dependent on the weather and if you can launch due to the low water levels. Note: The Topaz Marina boat launch is not operational at this time): Troll along the shoreline on the far side of the lake or near the rocky point by the Douglas County Campground or go right down the middle of the lake.


Bait fishermen usually use Power Bait, red Salmon eggs or nightcrawlers on the bottom. If you fish with nightcrawlers, inflate them to float them just off the bottom.

Spincasters usually use favorite lures such as Daredevil, TOR-P-DO, Kastmaster, Super Duper, Panther/Martin, etc.

Fly fishermen usually use flies such as Hares’ Ears, Prince Nymph, Stone Flies or Woolly Buggers.


Try trolling with silver flasher blades plus nightcrawlers or with flashers plus various lures such as a No. 5 black/silver or black/gold Countdown Rapala or an orange-colored Broken-Back Rapala.


Mostly planter rainbow trout, in the 10-13 inch class, with an occasional larger fish, up to about 4-5 pounds (not counting the special-sized tagged planters).

You might even catch an occasional German brown trout with an average size of about 1-2 pounds.


The lake limit is five trout, 10 mountain whitefish and 15 warmwater game fish, of which not more than five may be black bass.

Realistically, all you should normally expect to catch is trout. But, who knows, you could even catch other species such as Bass or Carp.

Be advised that the area within a 100-yard radius of the Topaz Marina is closed to all fishing. So, stay out of that forbidden area!


If you should catch a fish with a small tag inserted by its dorsal fin, RUN, don’t walk, to the nearby Topaz General Store.

You are a winner! You will have caught a prize fish that could be worth a lot of money!

750 pounds of tagged rainbow trout have been planted by the Topaz Lodge. Some of those tagged, planter rainbows are in the eye-popping 6-10 pound class.

Those tagged fish are worth anywhere from $50 to $1,000. Wow!

Not too shabby for having fun fishing on Opening Day! That money can buy you a lot of lures to replace all of the ones you have lost during the year or it could help pay for all those Christmas gifts that you bought.


The Topaz Marina will host its annual Opening Day fishing derby with some very simple rules:

You must pre-register at the Marina before going fishing.

The derby entry fee is $5.

The biggest trout takes the entire pot! It’s that simple!

In past years, that pot has ranged all the way from $110 to $650. Not too shabby for a $5 investment.


Either a Nevada or a California fishing license is good anywhere along the shoreline or out on the water at the lake.

If you fish with a Nevada license, you need to also have a Nevada Trout Stamp.

If you fish on the California side with a California license, you must wear it where it is readily visible above the waist.

Be advised that on the Opening Weekend, there will be lots of Nevada and California game wardens present. So, don’t do something illegal or it will cost you a lot of money. Plus, I will put your name in this Outdoor page as a law breaker.


I would like to wish each and everyone of you a Merry Christmas, and I sure hope that Santa brings you whatever your heart desires!

If you do catch one of those $1,000 tagged fish, remember who suggested that you fish at Topaz Lake: Your newest pal: Don Q.

Be generous!


Call Chuck or Linda Fields at the Topaz Marina at (775) 266-3550 or the Topaz Store at (775) 266-3337.

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you if I will be fishing at Topaz Lake on Opening Day

If he grins and says, “Naw, Don does not fish on that day because it is way too crowded with too many other fishermen,” he could be one of my regular fishing partners.

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