Premier fishing guide at Tahoe is a practical joker |

Premier fishing guide at Tahoe is a practical joker

Nevada Appeal Staff Reports

By Don Quilici

Mickey Daniels of Carnelian Bay at North Lake Tahoe is widely acclaimed by many persons (including yours truly) to be the premier sport fishing guide at Lake Tahoe.

He specializes in fishing in super deep water (250-550 feet or even deeper!) for Mackinaw (Lake) Trout, which he has been doing for almost 40 years.

During that time, he has, almost exclusively, trolled in front of the Carnelian Bay – King’s Beach area, with continuous success, day after day after day.

To illustrate that particular point, in addition to routinely bringing back limits of Mackinaw Trout, either he or the clients on his boat (The Big Mack II) have caught three of the only six “Macks” taken in the history of Lake Tahoe that have weighed 30 pounds or more.

As a matter of interest, the Lake Tahoe record for a Mackinaw Trout is a trophy caught way back in 1974 which weighed 37-pounds, 6-ounces. That record fish was caught by a Robert Aronsen.

Daniels is also a longtime, close personal friend of many, many years.

During that time, I have also learned that “Mick” is equally adept at being a jokester as he is at being the premier sport fishing guide at Tahoe.

Because I was a more-than-willing, eager accomplice recently involved in his latest escapade, I thought it might be fun to share some of the more hilarious practical jokes that he has pulled on various, unsuspecting individuals.

Any unsuspecting angler on his boat who looks like a prime candidate to have a joke pulled on them.

Mickey will wait like spider until that poor soul has hooked into a real nice-sized Mackinaw trout.

He/she will be struggling, mightily, to reel in that large, fighting trout while innocent-looking Mick is busy offering encouragement to them.

Then as the fish finally gets close to the rear of the boat, Mick will ask the angler to step back toward the front of the boat, so he can net the fish.

The angler will step back and not notice that Mick has leaned over the back of the boat and carefully captured the trout with a net, which he leaves there.

Then, he will bring up another net, which contains a rubber boot with a large rubber minnow inside of it.

The look on the poor soul’s face is priceless and is exceeded only by the laughter of everyone else on the boat, until he/she realizes that it is a joke and they did, in fact, catch a very nice fish.

George Edmondson of Tahoe City.

George retired a number of years ago, and a group of friends (including that sneaky Mick) threw a retirement party for him at the Hyatt Hotel.

When George arrived at the Hyatt, he noticed a very nice fishing boat complete with motor and trailer prominently parked in the center of the lobby, as the main prize in a fund raising raffle.

He wandered over to look at the boat and remarked, “Geez, that boat looks like the same size and model as mine.”

He looked again and said, “I’ll be darn that boat has the same scratches and dents as mine.

He did a double take and exclaimed, “My God, that’s my boat and they are raffling it off in the raffle.”

While laughing, Mick told him, “Heck, George, if you buy enough tickets, you just might win your boat back.”

MIckey had set the entire thing up, and it worked to perfection.

His former boss, Judge Alan Pineschi.

Mick is a retired Constable and had spent many years working closely with Judge Pineschi in the court at Tahoe City.

A number of years ago, he and the Judge decided to get into shape and they began to jog on a regular basis in the Tahoe City area.

During those jogging outings, Mick learned that the Judge was terrified of any encounter with a black bear, which are fairly common in that particular area.

One morning when they were scheduled to jog, Mickey called the Judge to tell him that he could not make it that day.

Instead, Mick hid in a big bush along the jogging trail and waited for the unsuspecting Judge to jog past.

As he did, Mick loudly growled like a bear and shook the bush.

The Judge immediately panicked, spun around to run away, knocked down the District Attorney who was also jogging with him and ran right over the top of him to disappear in the distance.

Geez, who else but Mick would be brave enough to pull a practical joke on a Judge and live to tell about it.

His wife’s two cats: They are Nora’s pride and joy and Mick loves to pull practical jokes on even them, whenever the occasion presents itself.

However, one joke backfired on him.

He had borrowed a stuffed badger from a friend and placed it on the front room floor where the two cats would see it when they entered the room.

Mick called to them and they ran into the front room from the kitchen.

When they saw the stuffed Badger, both cats skidded to a halt, arched their backs and began to loudly spit and hiss.

One of the cats was so terrified that it bolted out of the house and was missing for three days.

Needless to say, Nora was not a happy camper and that poor cat is still gun-shy about entering the front room. It always very carefully checks to make sure that there is no Badger in there.

Bob “Slick” McCulloch.

The latest victim of a practical joke that was actually a double-barreled joke.

Slick recently celebrated his 65th birthday and he and his wife, Linda, threw a big bash at his home for a group of close friends and relatives to help celebrate that singular event.

Unknown to Slick, Mick had made special arrangements for a professional female comedian/singer known as “Wicked Wanda” to appear at the height of the party to dance, sing and torment the poor guy.

In addition, Mick had contacted me to video tape the entire proceedings, which I did with great personal pleasure.

It was a hilarious performance by both Slick and Wanda, and had everyone howling with laughter, all very carefully captured on film.

Then, the plot thicken.

Several weeks later, I made a VHS copy of that 8mm video tape, got it into Mickey’s hands and the trap was set.

Last week was the annual International Sportsmen’s Exposition held at Cal-Expo in Sacramento, Calif.

And, as they have done for many years, Mickey and Slick manned Mick’s booth at that huge sportsmen’s show.

At the height of that show on Saturday afternoon with the aisles jammed packed with people, the exhibitor across the aisle began to play the copy of that infamous tape on his monitor.

Slick finally noticed that everyone had stopped walking past their area and were in fact, jammed in front of the monitor at that other booth, howling with laughter.

Then, he realized that they were laughing at he and Wanda The Whip.

And guess who was laughing the loudest of all? Yep, It was none other than our friend Mickey Daniels.

So, the moral to this story is twofold:

1. Mick is the premier sport fishing guide at Lake Tahoe and a practical joker.

2. If you’re an angler, friend, former boss or family cat of Mick’s, don’t trust him any further than you can throw him.

– Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you one of the best of the many different ways that Mickey has nailed me with a practical joke.

If he begins to laugh and says, “Heck that’s easy. Mick hired that same professional, female comedian/singer to dance, sing and torment Little Donnie Q at a large, pre-nuptial party for Don and Elaine,” he could have been one of the people at that party.

Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal.

Contact Don Quilici at