A fishing quest for the cutthroat
March 7, 2013
If you take your boat to fish Pyramid the main navigation concern is the wind and resulting waves. A wind coming from the north east or south east are the most common conditions. Either direction can build significant waves over the many miles of lake surface. A south east wind will drive waves directly onto the launch ramp at Pelican making for hazardous conditions trying to put a boat on or off a trailer. A seven day lake forecast is available at the National Weather Service Reno Office web site: http://www.windfinder.com/forecast/sutcliffe_pyramid_lake
The only lodging at the lake is Crosby Lodge at Sutcliffe, Nev.
Anglers from far and wide have been travelling to Pyramid Lake in Nevada in a quest to tie into a 20-pound cutthroat trout.
Local angler and guide Ed Fisk was joined by a couple of his high school buddies to spend five days at the lake starting the first day of March.
When making plans in advance, early March through May can be counted on for good angling at Pyramid.
In a normal year, Pyramid Lake water temperatures bottom out in the high 30s during January.
This winter, the January water temps were in the upper 40s and the lows came during February at 42 degrees.
January fished better than February. The first five days of March saw the temps climb from 42 up to 45 degrees, which is at the lower range of prime conditions and promises improved fishing as the water warms.
Pyramid Lake is an imposing body of water 27 miles long and up to 12 miles wide. It can be tough just to decide where to start.
Ed chose to head to the south end on his first day based on reports from other anglers. Popcorn Beach is close to the mouth of the Truckee River but failed to produce the results that Ed was looking for.
He ended up returning to the launch area at Pelican halfway up the west shore and picked up a few fish to close out the day.
Day two began with a run over to the north east side of the lake to troll the Hell's Kitchen area starting at 7:30 a.m.
The initial results were promising with a hook up in the first few minutes picking up a cutthroat on a frog-colored Flatfish.
The second fish was more difficult to find than the first and ultimately Ed returned back to the west shore again working the area from the launch at Pelican Point north toward Warrior Point.
This part of the lake produced six fish for the balance of the day but none above the 16- to 20-inch range. This size would be a good catch at any other lake but the scale of things at Pyramid is larger than other lakes which is the reason for going.
Sunday was the peak of the trip. Dispensing with long distance runs to remote areas of the lake, Ed stayed on the west side concentrating on the areas which had been producing.
Immediately upon getting his lines out, Ed and his buddies had a "triple" — three fish on simultaneously.
The action continued throughout the day with a total of 31 cutthroat landed by 5 p.m., when they came off the water. The largest fish of the day, measuring more than 25 inches, was taken on a trolling fly.
Monday they headed farther north up the west shore toward Thunderbolt Bay and landed 20 fish.
A short day on Tuesday produced five fish before it was time to pack up for the return trip.
Ed fished a variety of Flatfish lures from 2 inches up to 6 inches in length; variations of frog color schemes, as well as black with red stripe.
Simultaneously, he was also running Arctic Fox Trolling flies in a Tui Chub tandem hook configuration as well as a black and red tube fly.
The Tui Chub fly was responsible for the big fish of the trip but the black and red did not live up to expectations.
Ed concentrated on the top 50 feet of the water column with most of the fish coming from the 12- to 24-foot depth range.
He was fishing over depths from 30 to 175 feet deep and not marking many fish on his fish finder.
The best results between Pelican and Warrior Points were typically out over deep water from 90 to 160 feet deep.
A common occurrence was for landed fish to burp up tui chub minnows when they hit the deck of the boat.
Two inches was a common size for these.
Ed also noticed a 2-inch perch among the food the cutthroats had been feeding on.
Ed Fisk guides only in California. His web site is: http://www.fishtalesguideservice.net.
Denis Peirce writes a fishing column for The Union's Outdoors section and is host of "The KNCO Fishing & Outdoor Report," which airs 6-7 p.m. Fridays and 5-6 a.m. Saturdays on 830-AM radio. Contact him via his website at http://www.fineflies.com.