Pyramid lake is home of some of the biggest Lahontan Cutthroat in the states. During the right time of the year, 15-20 pound fish aren't uncommon. Me and my buddy Mitch Romig, with Lip Rippin Nets, made a short notice huck down south to Nevada. We weren’t quite sure what to expect. We loaded up the 7’s and 8’s, tied leach and bugger patterns non-stop before the trip and were ready to catch some double digit fish. Thursday afternoon, we loaded up and headed to a halfway point in Idaho Falls, had a good dinner and Friday morning, then we hit the road early for an afternoon session on the lake to get our bearings. First, we checked into our hotel in Fernley Nevada and headed for the Nixon store to get our fishing licenses that are required to fish on the Walker River Paiute tribal lands. When arriving in Fernley, we were a little concerned. It was a run-down town with a few sketchy folks around, the reservation looked about the same but the people of the Paiute tribe were extremely kind and happy to have us. After grabbing our licenses, we headed to Pelican Point after some tips from the locals. It was about halfway up the eastern shore of the lake.
On Friday, we did alright finally dialing in our fly patterns and strip techniques and started to pick up some fish, slowly but surely they started to hit the net. These cutthroat are like no other. In Montana, we have the Westslope cutties: delicate, high mountain fish. Mitch caught the first fish as he was mixing up his technique which was an awesome four or five pound, 24 inch Lahontan cutthroat. I started mixing up my flies and after figuring out the best strip pattern, finally my line stopped and I was hooked up! These fish were all about the fight. The first fish I caught was 20-22 inches with a beautiful pattern and hook jaw! The weather on Friday was great, little to no wind, sunny and beautiful! The next couple days unfortunately did not yield the same weather.
The next two days had slow fishing and more run-ins with some unfriendly people but were a fun and unforgettable experience, nonetheless. Our whole goal of the trip was to break into the double digits, which unfortunately we did not do. Although, on the final day, I hooked into a great fish. It was right before we were required to get off the water about 40 minutes after sunset (an hour after sunset is the required time to stop fishing), we decided we would only cast once more. After counting to ten and letting my flies sink I began to retrieve my line and it hit a wall, I set the hook and it was on. We thought I hit a snag, the fish didn't move at all but I began to feel the head shake. After the fish took a couple 40-foot runs, we got him into the net and we were impressed to say the least! We had landed a 26 inch seven to eight pound Lahontan cutthroat that was even tagged!
Pyramid Lake is like a refrigerator, alway stocked, always feeding fish, these thing are aggressive and big. No messing around with these Lahontan cutties. The technique was a black woolly bugger trailed by a smaller red/chartreuse leach doing a double six inch strip. People up the beach would start picking up fish and about the time someone nearby had a fish, one of us would be hooked up. Pyramid lived up to its reputation producing big fish, but the shoulder to shoulder fishing was something to get used to, being that it was along side with people that weren't like us from Montana. In Montana, we go out of our way to help others. Some of the locals were very helpful, sharing their spots and flies with us, but some of them didn't want to hear a word from anyone. We learned this after trying to help a man who had lost his boat that had come untied on the docks near us, he wanted no help from us and his boat ended up crashing against the rocks on shore. Nonetheless, fishing Pyramid Lake was an epic adventure, putting on nearly 1900 miles in just a few short days, sharing harsh weather, big fish, and lots of other crazy stories with each other, Pyramid Lake was an adventure that I’ll never forget. As always, thanks to our good friends at Fish On Energy; we are sporting some of their signature series hats and my old trustee Rainbow Trout Diablo hat. Along with their buff and water resistant, windproof coat to keep the 20 MPH wind and sideways rain off of me!
Fly fishing has turned into a lot more to me, it used to be the thought of throwing dry flies and catching trout on mountain streams. That has changed exponentially. It has evolved into something more that is extremely hard to explain to someone that doesn't have the same obsession. It’s always about the next adventure, seeing new places and pulling a new species out of foreign water. Constantly hunting for another trophy, being able to tell stories with your best friends and watch another beast swim back to his home with more stories to tell than the fisherman ever could. One of my favorite quotes that hits home to me; “no man ever steps in the same river twice for he is not the same man and it is not the same river”-Heraclitus. As always, fish on my friends. Let us know what questions you might have about Pyramid Lake. We have learned a lot in the last few days, so Feel free to drop us an Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.