One of the best parts of living in Redding, California is our proximity to amazing fly fishing all over the West. We recently had the opportunity to travel outside of Reno, Nevada and fly fish one of the more scenic and mesmerizing fisheries in the United States, Pyramid lake. The Native American legend of Pyramid lake is that it was created from the tears of a mother who’s children could not get along. The geology and rock formations in and around the lake make this place feel as if you have stepped back into a prehistoric time, removed from the bustle of phones and technology of the 21st century and instead immersed into a landscape that seems to belong to another time.
The amazing thing about fly fishing in this lake is that the fish match the scenery. The Lahontan Cutthroat trout was once thought to be extinct. But these pre-historic sized fish are alive and well and making a comeback in a place that matches their epic size and proportions. The world record for this cutthroat trout is nearly 41 pounds, dwarfing its nearest inland waterway cousins for size. Fly fishing lovers from all over the world have been flocking here in the late winter and early spring to get a shot at catching these amazing fish.
Pyramid Lake Fly Fishing Resurgence
A century ago when the West was at the start of her rampant expansion, Pyramid lake was over fished and pollution and water diversion for irrigation took their toll on the native cutthroat trout. The Lahontan Cutthroat trout in Pyramid Lake was considered extinct by 1939. However in 1979 a population of the Pyramid Lake trout was discovered in Pilot Peak on the Nevada and Utah border.
The fish were in dire condition but they were confirmed to be the Pyramid Lake variety. The lake was soon stocked with this species and the lake has seen steady increase in population since. In the mid 1980’s fly fishermen started to come to this sacred spot after rumors of the giant fish began to surface. The rumors were proven true and since then, fly fishing in Pyramid Lake is one of the great adventures an angler can have. The thought of catching these pre-historic sized fish in this special scenery is something most any fly fisherman would love to pursue. It is not uncommon to see fish in the 20 pound range with the possibility of larger fish at any time.
Our Recent Trip
MoJoBella recently had the chance to head over to Pyramid for a late winter rendezvous with these amazing fish. Traveling into Pyramid is like no other fishery in our region. The white calcium carbonate rocks that line the lake add to the high plains desert landscape that surround the water. The high alkali content in the water brings a turquoise hue that compliments the beauty of the stark surroundings. Pyramid Lake is on the Paiute Indian Reservation so all fishing permits are issued through the native tribe. Late winter and early spring are the best time for fly fishing because the smaller species of fish that are the food source for the Lahontan move in closer to shore.
This gives someone with a fly rod a decent shot at casting out to the shelf where the fish congregate. Pyramid has some interesting local tricks to help get at the fish. This may be the only place you will ever see a fly cast coming from on top of a step ladder in the water. Sinking line is a must and some of the flies that are used are not the average fly shop variety. Going out with a guide can be tremendously helpful to overcome the learning curve of the lake and the trout. Our recent trip was a great success.
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout – A Fly Fishing Prize
There is no other place in the world where you can catch these incredible trout. When Kit Carson and John Fremont first ascended the Truckee River they called this fish the Salmon Trout because the size was so impressive. Anyone who loves to fly fish would find temptation in seeing their rod bent with one of these immaculate trout on the other end. If you are looking for a fly fishing guide to help find your way through the learning curve of Pyramid Lake, we would be happy to help get you out on the water and onto fish! There is no other place like Pyramid to fish and there are no other fish in our region as amazing to catch on a fly rod as the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.
Interested in a trip…