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Pro Tips: Targeting Rainbow Trout on Lake Topaz

Pro Tips: Targeting Rainbow Trout on Lake Topaz

By Captain Anthony Michael, CalNeva Fishing Guide Service

Nestled in the valley on the state line of Nevada and California lies Topaz Lake. Half of this lake is located in Mono County and half in Dougla County. A few years ago, anglers would wait in anticipation for the fishing opener, New Years Day, but recently, Topaz was made a year-round fishery. While definitely sad for those who had season opener traditions or those who wanted a crack at landing a winning fish for the Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby, for others it was a welcomed change.

During the summer months, Topaz Lake water temperatures can climb into the 70s, making it a great recreation lake for wakeboarders or skiers, but for us who love to fish year-round, this lake can be difficult in the summer with boat traffic and water temperatures. Personally, I find the best fishing success on Topaz Lake to be between October and April. This lake can definitely fish well into May, but I am transitioning to kokanee fishing and Bridgeport area lakes by then, once “Fishmas” hits.

As with most lakes in California, Topaz Lake has had its share of low water levels. A few years ago, anglers couldn’t launch in Topaz towards the end of the year. The Walker River flows in and out of Topaz Lake, in on the south side and out on the north, to supply irrigation water for the farms in the Smith Valley and beyond. This year, we’ve been lucky to have a strong winter with an impressive Sierra snowpack, and that means full lakes. This winter, Topaz Lake has been fishing better than it has ever fished. The size of the trout has been much larger than past years and the quantity of fish per trip it up. A 20 to 30 fish day is the norm for us with a sprinkle of larger grade trout, up to 20 inches.

Pro Tips: Targeting Rainbow Trout in Topaz Lake

To have a great day on the water at Topaz Lake, you need five things:

First, you need a Mack’s Lure Wedding Ring SpinDrift Trout. I prefer to use the Silver Sparkle/Ruby. Secondly, you need either a Flash Lite Troll 2- or 3-Blade with our preference being Silver. Thirdly, you need a Cripplure in Red (either Nickel or Brass) or Fire Tiger. Fourth, you need to pick up some Mack’s Lure UV Bait Scents SBF Pro Gel in Trophy Trout or Garlic Nightcrawler. Lastly, you need nightcrawlers! With each of these products, you’re setting yourself up for great success at Topaz Lake!

Our favorite way to rig for Topaz Lake is starting with our Cripplure (with scent), setting out a combination of colors and start out trolling between 2.0 and 2.5 mph to cover ground and find out where the biters are. What I love about the Cripplure is how simple it is, yet how darn effective it is. The movement and vibration from the Cripplure allows me to troll this naked (without blades or dodgers) to allow for a true fish when we hook a fish.

Once we have established a zone, thanks to the Cripplure, it is time to slow it down and bring out the Wedding Ring SpinDrift Trout and Flash Lite Troll setup. Starting with my Flash Lite Troll (2- or 3-Blade), I run my SpinDrift Trout with a threaded crawler smothered in scent about 18- to 24-inches behind my Flash Lite Troll. I bump down the speed to about 1.7 mph while trolling the SpinDrift Trout to allow the Smile Blade and VMC hook to really give the crawler the “Trout Dance.” This setup is a deadly combination for Topaz Lake and is a must-have in the tackle box.

Pro Tips: Targeting Rainbow Trout on Lake Topaz

Now, I did say that you only needed five things to be successful targeting trout at Topaz Lake. However, I must confess, I am a Mack’s Lure junkie and have probably everything they make in my boat, so I am always trying new presentations and new offerings. One of my recent additions to my arsenal has been the Mack’s Lure Boogie Bait. The Boogie Bait features a Smile Blade and a sparkly tail that helps attract the fish. I thread half of a nightcrawler on the hook to give it that real meat taste when they bite. While running the Boogie Bait, I like to pair it with a Sling Blade Super Glow 4” to give it that extra kick!

Whether you are making the trip solely to fish Topaz Lake or you are fishing it while on your way down to Crowley or the Eastern Sierras, it is a must-fish lake! The scenery is beautiful, unless you don’t like deer and the occasional Bald Eagle. Topaz also features a very healthy population of smallmouth bass that anglers enjoy targeting.

Thanks to Anthony Michael of CalNeva Fishin. If you're looking for an excellent guided fishing trip in NorCal, visit his website by clicking here.

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