Merry Fishmas to You All

Topaz Lake - Gardnerville, NV

by Doug Busey

Hello fellow anglers, and a very Merry Fishmas to you all. In just over a week 2022 will end and hopefully the new year will bring us good health and well being. All I wished for Christmas this year was a good snow pack to fill our lakes and streams, so we can all gather at our favorite fishing holes. Most of those fishing holes are buried in snow or have a layer of ice on them.
But one in particular is still very much open to fishing all year. This is Topaz Lake that is located off of highway 395 on the California/Nevada border, where the Sierra Nevada mountains  meet the high desert. The reservoir occupies a topographical low point in a closed basin, which formerly contained a small natural lake known as Alkali Lake. The Walker River Irrigation District developed Topaz Lake by constructing a canal to divert water from the west fork of the Walker River in California into this closed basin;  then water was released back into the river via a tunnel on the Nevada side. This is now known as the canal. The storage of water began in 1921. The Douglas County Park on the north/east side,  is the location of where the water goes underground through the canal and back into the West Walker River. Over the years, the Nevada Department of Wildlife has planted various species of trout in the lake, and yet some have migrated down from the walker river diversion.
The lake not only is home to a variety of trout, but they also have large and smallmouth bass. Such a diverse fishery has attracted anglers from all around to fish with many different styles of angling. Now that the lake is open all year to fishing, we have lost one big celebration that was called opening day on January 1st of each year. Hundreds upon thousands would descend on the lake to bring in the new year with stories of the year past. I remember waiting in line with hot coffee/chocolate to launch your boat  to descend into chaos to trolling in 10 directions. The bbq's lined the shore and the festivities were on for a couple days. Last year there were a dozen boats on the lake and just a few campers dotted the shoreline. Hopefully this year, we can bring back the celebration of bringing in the new year camping with friends and meet new ones on January 1st.
A few things that we do need to remember. Anglers can fish Topaz Lake with a California or Nevada valid fishing license. The only public boat ramp that will be open this year is at the Douglas County Park. Now if you are a serious angler and use the park throughout the year, here are a few options for park fees. Day use $5, boat launch $10, RV with hook up $40, RV/tent drycamp $30 within the park, Primitive camping along the east shore $20 per day. For those anglers that enjoy the park and fishing. They have a season pass which covers day use and boat launching.  Non Douglas County NV resident $100, Douglas County NV residence $70,  seniors of Douglas County 60 years of age or older $25. Disabled Veterans $0. You can apy at the iron gate keeper at time of arrival or make reservations online at Douglas County Parks dept or stop by their office to get your annual pass. The office is located at 1325 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville NV across from Lampe Park. Or call 775-782-9835.
The higher lakes such as Caples Lake and Red lake, have 6-10 inches of ice on them now with snow covering the ice. Use caution when ice fishing. The small urban ponds in our valleys have only a thin sheet of ice on them, Stay Off the ponds. Make sure your fishing license is up to date and valid for either state you are from. Dress and pack for your next fishing adventure. I hope to see you on the waters soon.
I wish you all a Happy Naw Year. Good fishin' and tight lines.

Good luck on your next fishing adventure. If you have a question. a report in our local fishing area or have a photo of your catch, send it to [email protected]. Hope to see you on the waters. Good fishin' and tight lines.

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