Pyramid Lake, Nevada
Fly Fishing Pyramid Lake: Pyramid Lake can be found entirely on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribal Reservation less than an hour Northeast of Reno. Home to the 42 lb. world record Lahontan Cutthroat Trout any fishing efforts require a special Pyramid Lake reservation fishing permit. The very large high desert lake is roughly eleven miles long, four miles wide, and more than 300 feet deep. Fly Fishers typically keep their efforts to the Western shoreline where more improved access can be found. The fishing season is open from October through June protecting the trout from deep fishing methods over the warmest months.
Less than a hundred years ago the Lahontan Cutthroat trout grew to sixty pounds in the lake, using the Truckee River as its spawning grounds. Unfortunately the original Lahontan Cutthroat trout was driven to extinction by pollution, over harvesting, and diverting water away from its spawning grounds. I believe Ralph Cutter said it best with, “We‘ve traded lunkers for whoppers” referring to the water of the Truckee River now used to grow cattle feed.
Winter tactics include a fast action seven to nine weight rod that is nine to eleven feet in length. Lines are typically the fastest sinking possible, type six shooting heads are the preferred. Waders and extremely warm clothing are a must with temperatures often below freezing. The waters alkalinity/salt content keeps it from freezing which is great, but guides still seem to lock up pretty quick on the really cold days. The lakes famous ladder technique is used to keep anglers out of the frigid water. Fishing is as easy as finding a deep water shelf, tossing a couple woolly worms over the edge of it, let’em sink, then pull them back to you, then repeat. This method is tedious but pays in fish over ten pounds often.
Spring methods call for the same rods but utilize floating lines. Fly fishers can choose between the winter methods which still work very well and the newer midge fishing techniques. Hanging two midges under an indicator or slowly retrieved is pretty deadly when the fish move in close to shore. The warmer temperatures in late March trigger the spawn. This moves many of the fish out of the depths into the shallows looking for fresh water. Under normal weather conditions the spring can be very well known for its quantity and quality. Regardless of what season your fishing the lake almost always fishes better when some wind, waves, and cloud cover can be found.
Fly Fishing Gear for Pyramid Lake: 7-9 Weight rods 9′-11′ in length. Sturdy reel with a floating line for nymph fishing and fast sinking shooting head for streamer fishing. Leaders – Nymph 2X-3X 7′-10′ – Streamer 0X-2X 5′-7′. Read lots more on the Truckee River in the Fly Fisher Guide to; Nevada or book a guide trip with the author.