Friday, March 28, 2014

See Pyramid Lake Vicariously Through The Fly Syndicate

I've always been amazed by Pyramid Lake and its enormous Lahotan Cutthroat Trout. One of the blogs we follow, The Fly Syndicate, posted an article about fishing Pyramid to help those of us who have never fished it, understand not only why it is fished the way it is, but what goes into it...

Via The Fly Syndicate:

Wanted to try out my new ladder, worked like a charm. Water was 42, northern wind howled at 20-30, gusts around 45. Fishing was fair, one or less per person per hour. When a strong wind comes out of the north, there are only a few beaches that face south and permit casting. Managed to put 2 little guys in the net, lost 2 others including a 28" buiser who was about ready to be netted (darn barbless hooks).

PYRAMID LAKE – DAMN THAT DAM!If you think you knew everything about Pyramid Lake, guess again...

I found this 30 minute special on Pyramid Lake filmed in 1976 very informative. It tells the sad story of Derby Dam's fatal impact on Winnemucca Lake and the Paiute people. I knew that Winnemucca Lake had water in it as late as the 1930's, but did you know that the water in Pyramid Lake used to flow into Winnemucca Lake via a short section of the Truckee River which has since dried up. I drive by the remnants of Winnemucca Lake on the way to Gerlach frequently, its hard to believe that as of 1905 it used to be 100 feet deep and that Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) used to swim freely between the two lakes. I'll point out two untruths in the video: 1) Coincidentally, in April of 1977 (the year after this film) Kent Sumners of the Utah Department of Fish and Game re-discovered, what after taxonomical analysis suggest, is original strain of Pyramid Lake Lahontan Cutthroat Trout, scroll to Pg 199. These trout are now being reared at the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery (which I've visited) for eventual reintroductin into Pyramid Lake and other watersheds. 2) The current Summit Lake strain of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in Pyramid obviously didn't not go extinct at the turn of the century, despite the prediction of the fisheries biologist. Hope you enjoy, more to come on resurecting the original (30-40lb) strain of LCT in a future post.


The Truckee was flowing at 1,000cfs and winds were predicted to gust up to 50mph @ Pyramid. Some people tie flies when the weather won't allow them to fish, I build stuff. Today I hung around my shop and built a new Pyramid ladder. I ordered this bad boyfrom back east, it has a large standing platform that's a full 5' off the ground, to keep the rollers from breaking on your knees. I bent a piece of aluminum across the top guardrail and manage to create a sturdy seat mount. The seat is a Cabelas special and should get the job done. The ladder can be used for standing or sitting, depending on which direction you face it.

I added a stripping basket and a gear box and mounted them to the ladder using RAM articulating mounts.RAM mounts are awesome, and you can attach just about anything you'd like to them, even a beer holder. I configured my net with a lanyard that allows me to net fish w/o having to leave the standing platform, but it quickly breaks away via a magnetic connector if you have to chase a big fish down the beach. I added two adjustable levelers on the front of the ladder to keep the standing platform level when on steep beaches and uneven ground. Lastly, I put a perpendicular support bar across the back legs of the ladder to prevent tip-overs. Now the only thing left is to see if it helps me catch fish!

PYRAMID LICENSES – ONLINEHey, beats trying to find someone who sells them at 6am on your first trip of the season. Took all of about 5 minutes. Click Here.

LAHONTAN CUTTHROAT TROUT – THE REAL NATIVESI love researching fisheries, especially ones with Lahontan Cutthroat Trout in them. This video is very informative and focuses Independence Lake, CA, home to one of only two populations of self-sustaining, indigenous lucustrine LCT left.

The second lake with the other indigenous strain of LCT is Summit Lake, NV located in the very remote Black Rock Range. Summit Lake is part of the Summit Lake Indian Reservation and non-tribal members are not allowed to fish. Much like the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, the Summit Lake Paiute Tribe manages their fishery with a spawning program that helps the species propagate. I've been lucky enough to see both fisheries. 

Independence Lake, CA

Summit Lake, NV

What a contrast, isn't it amazing that this species can thrive in each environment?

Spring is almost here, keep an eye out for Pyramid LCT posts, coming soon!

Its amazing what goes into fishing that lake, from gear needed to understanding the fish your for LCT is absolutely on the bucket list.


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