Derby at Pyramid kicks off |

Derby at Pyramid kicks off

This past Saturday and Sunday saw the opening weekend of the annual Crosby Lodge Derby on Pyramid Lake in Nevada.

Mike Caston of Nevada City fished the weekend and reported that of the top four fish in the derby, two were close to 13 pounds and both the third- and fourth-place fish came in at 9 pounds.

This is a good start for this event. Last year, the derby was won with an 11-pound cutthroat trout. Mike did not place high in the standings, but did boat a good number of fish. He spent his time trolling the east side of the lake. The most productive depth was the 20- to 30-foot range, although also he fished other depths. Lyman lures in fire tiger were the best producers.

The combination of full moon and bluebird skies are not usually conducive to good fishing. Cloudy skies are in the forecast for this coming weekend, as a series of cold fronts is due to swing down through northwest Nevada. This could bring the fish up in the water column. The heavy rains of January put a lot of silt into the lake. There is clearer water at the north end of Pyramid than at the south where the Truckee River flows in. Water temps were 45 degrees.

This past weekend, the Coast Guard had three boats on the lake. They were running safety checks on the water and sobriety checks at the launch ramp at the end of the day. Law enforcement from the Paiute Tribe was also at the launch ramp.

On the Sacramento River, the flows are being reduced at a steady pace. In the past week the flows near Redding have come down from 40,000 cfs to 17,000 cfs. The effect has been to slow down the sturgeon bite. As the water levels recede these fish tend to move off the food producing flats and wait in the deeper holes.

Hopefully the river will stabilize by this weekend and they will get back to feeding. The Sacramento River is still very muddy which doesn’t seem to inhibit the sturgeon.

The areas that are holding the most fish range from Tisdale to above Colusa. Pile worms and ghost shrimp are the most popular baits. But if you are fishing all night, eels are the durable bait that will stay on your hook the longest. With an eel on, you can put your rod in a holder and go to sleep, confident that you will have either bait or a fish on when you awake.

On the Feather River, I have confirmed a report from Sunday that a 14- and 28-pound stripers were taken from the bank using live minnows close to Yuba City. Another report from anglers at the confluence of the Bear and Feather Rivers this past weekend mentioned no fish. Water clarity on the Feather is good which is what stripers are looking for.

This week, the DF&G is scheduled to begin releasing juvenile steelhead into the Feather near Live Oak. If this occurs the stripers will be on the bite. The best lures will be imitations of trout in the 5 to 8 inch size.

The steelhead rivers are just now coming back into shape after more than a week of calm weather. I have reports from the Umpqua and Rogue in Oregon of good bait fishing conditions and both river approaching fly fishing water clarity.

Closer to home, the Klamath is still high and not a good bet. The top of the Trinity River is coming into shape. The best results have been coming from the Smith river. Since last weeks column the river has fallen through the ideal levels of 11 feet to 9 feet as measured at the Jed Smith State Park. There have been good numbers of anglers with most catching limits of fish.

By the middle of this week, the weather will become unsettled with fronts coming through. This false summer was nice but too good to be true. The predictions at this time are for low rain fall totals. But depending on precipitation the rivers could get blown out again.

Watch the weather.

Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union 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. He may be reached via e-mail at

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User