The waters of Nevada are no stranger to fishing tournaments. From the U.S. Open and all of the activity that surrounds something of that magnitude to numerous small, regional tournaments, there always seems to be some means for anglers to demonstrate their fishing prowess. Most of these tournaments focus on largemouth and smallmouth bass, but not always.
In fact, there are even tournaments in which the ability to successfully throw a crank bait with a bait caster is not required. That's good news for me because my skills with a bait caster generally fall into the realm of nest-building. During the four-week period beginning with the Memorial Day weekend, anglers of all experience levels can test their abilities by participating in as many as three tournaments designed for the everyday fisherman.
If you want to try your luck at catching something that comes with more than few razor-sharp teeth, then perhaps the Northern Pike Fishing Derby is the event for you. Scheduled for May 27, this event is hosted by the historic Hotel Nevada in Ely and will take place at nearby Comins Lake.
Participants will pay a nominal entry fee of $15, with proceeds going toward additional prize money. Hotel Nevada will pay participants $3 per pound for each pike caught and a $250 bonus to the angler who catches the largest fish by weight. Anglers must be at least 18 years of age to qualify for cash prizes. Only fish caught between dawn and 6 p.m. on tournament day will qualify.
According to tournament organizers, "At the end of May through June 2011, pike fishing was 'hot and heavy' on Comins Lake, with pike in the 18- to 27-inch range, many fish over 30 inches, and a phenomenal 45-inch monster." Be sure to bring a medium heavy to heavy action rod and a reel filled with 15- to 30-pound test line. Don't forget wire leaders and large baits.
By law, northern pike are a prohibited species and must be killed upon capture if you plan to keep them, and you can't weigh them in if you don't. According to the 2012 Nevada fishing guide, "There is no limit for northern pike, and anglers who wish to assist in the removal of northern pike from the waters of the state and who wish to dispose of them may do so without regard for Nevada's wanton waste laws."
For information and derby registration, anglers can contact Hotel Nevada at (775) 289-6665 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Closer to home, registration is under way for the 21st annual Stripe-R-Rama on Lake Mead. The two-person team event will take place at South Cove and is to start at 7 p.m. June 2 and end at 7 a.m. June 3. Entry fee is $60 per team if paid by Monday. The fee increases to $70 if paid thereafter.
Trophies and/or cash will go to the five teams that weigh in the heaviest stringers of striped bass. The two teams that weigh in the heaviest two stripers of the tournament will receive plaques and cash. Last year, 20-year-old Nick Olivas of Kingman, Ariz., hauled in a 52-pound, 15-ounce behemoth after it hammered the angler's 6-inch crank bait. Thanks to the prolific gizzard shad, some anglers believe another monster is waiting out there.
Stripe-R-Rama tournament information can be found at http://mead-stripe-r-rama.blogspot.com.
The third event is the June Open Tournament at Lake Mead, sponsored by the Nevada Striper Club and scheduled for June 15 to 17. Participants will compete for $2,500 in prize money, with the top five places finishing in the money. The tournament is open to all anglers; club membership is not required. The basic entry fee is $30 per angler. Big fish and mystery fish options are $6 and $4.
Visit nevadastriperclub.org for more information.
Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His "In the Outdoors" column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at email@example.com.