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Topaz; Nevada’s Hidden Gem

Thirty-seven miles south of Carson City along Highway 395, flanked by the iconic Sierra Nevada lies a beautifully pale blue lake aptly named Topaz Lake. With a campground that includes full RV hookups, primitive camping sites, picnic areas, showers, toilets, and shade trees, it’s a destination for anyone looking to enjoy Nevada’s landscape.

If your outdoor adventures tend to incorporate angling, Topaz offers even more of a treat. While Topaz has always been, and continues to be, a popular destination for trout fishing, the lake is home to an ever-expanding smallmouth bass population that has become popular to those that are keen to it. Some of the best bass fishing can be found right out in front of the camp sites along the northern shoreline, but if you or a friend are lucky enough to have a boat, bring it. There is a wide concrete boat ramp with two docks and a breakwater structure to help during windy conditions which makes launching and loading as painless as possible. Motorboat around and look for rocky outcroppings along the eastern side of the lake or go south to the sandy flats and you’ll be sure to run into some bass.

Unlike many of the reservoirs in the area you may be familiar with, Topaz doesn’t go dry, so even during poor water years there’s always a spot to wet a line. With angling allowed year-round, the “hot lure” will change with the seasons but small swim baits, tubes, and the old standby classic worm are a pretty good bet anytime.

The Department of Wildlife has dedicated plenty of funding and time to installing habitat structures along the eastern shoreline and these areas are ideal locations to target. SONAR is helpful to identify these structures, but smallmouth bass generally congregate anywhere that underwater topography changes like cliff faces, rocky outcroppings, or inlets and bays. Most anglers are able to wrangle in a twelve-inch fish every hour but with some fish breaking the five-pound mark the lake has been garnering the attention of some of the areas most discerning bass fisherman. The prime bass fishing months are April and September when water temps are cool, and weather is usually nice. There are no special tackle regulations to worry about at Topaz Lake, but if you plan to practice catch and release, single hooks are the most fish friendly.

Smallmouth are known for their flakey white meat; they rank near the top of the list of delicious fish here in northern Nevada, so if you want to keep a few for the grill, the limit is five with no size restrictions. No smallmouth are stocked into the lake and as such, this wild fishery is a great resource for the public to enjoy in Nevada.