Pyramid Lake

Southwest January February 2020 Fly Fishing Magazine Cover Look for my EXPOSURE on fly fishing for Pyramid Lake's Lahontans in the January/February 2020 issue of Southwest Fly Fishing.


Rebuilding the Beast

Revive Fly Fishing JournalLook for my photo essay appearing in the Summer 2016 issue of Revive


Directions to Pyramid Lake

From Reno

From Reno/Sparks follow the Pyramid Lake Highway (State Route 445) north approximately 37 miles. Travel time is about 45 minutes to reach Sutcliffe. The bulk of the fishing access is found along the westside of the lake.


Fishing Pyramid Lake Spring 2018

Pyramid Lake continues to repair damaged roads in 2018 from the winter storms.

The word yield is defined as:
1. produce or provide
2. give way to demands or pressure
synonyms: surrender, capitulate, admit defeat

Fisherman on the shore of Pyramid Lake in Nevada working the pre dawn light before the sun rises.

In the late winter of 2018, we yielded or surrendered to the weather (e.g, early March was brutal). And in spring of 2018, we yielded to the Lahontans. Well, at least to catching any big Pilot Peaks. And of course we detoured around the on-going road work in front of Crosby's Lodge.

Michael Carl holding Lahontan Cutthroat from Pyramid Lake Nevada.

We originally planned a multiday trip to fish Pyramid for the second week of March. A late winter storm threw a wrench in the gears of that plan. Besides the snow and freezing temperatures, Pyramid fishing reports for early March were less than exciting. And similar to the Spring of 2017 the water remains cold. From March to early May the inflows have ranged from 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit. This cold water is one reason fishing the shore from ladders for cruising Lahontans can be a tough game. The solution for some - bring a pontoon boat.

Fisherman on ladder along shore of Pyramid Lake Nevada at dawn's first light

Rather then haul a couple of boats, my buddy KP and I decided to go to Plan B. Basically, cancel the March trip and place all our hopes and dreams behind an April trip.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Pyramid Lake Nevada

For a week of fishing in late April the Lahontans came dressed in different colors. Some were dark olive to reddish yellow, but a good number brought to hand were wearing their red spawning suits. Also, from the prior seasons, I didn't see as many big Pilot Peak Strain Lahontans (1) cruising the swallows, or (2) being hooked and hauled out from the ladder line.

Glassy reflection of clouds makes for a great photograph but fishing for Pyramid Lake Lahontan cutthroat is not ideal.

Similar to last Spring, it was impossible to miss the herds of cruising cutthroat. Again, the colder than normal water temperatures played a huge part, but so did the turbidty of the water (eg, silt from run-off). The shore cruisers were largely just that - cruisers. Mornings and late evenings served up the best bite. The rest of the day the Lahontans pushed around like they were staging for a spawning run. The bulk of the mid-day hook-ups came while stripping a bettle or leach pattern. Actually, I should say foul-hook-ups. Lahontans not able to dance around a fast moving hook ended up on someone's line.