Have you been to the moon? Hypothetical question, of course. However, I feel like we came close this Tuesday. Pyramid Lake looked like the moon’s surface in early terraforming stages. Incredible rock formations and cinder cones tower over a large blueish-green lake. It’s a very odd place that has a feel of age and sort of interstellar grandeur. There is not a tree in sight anywhere for miles. At least I couldn’t spot one with my binos. It is unlike any other body of water I’ve ever fished and yet you can drive for 45 minutes and drop a $100 on red in Golden Nugget, Reno.
Apparently, according to Wikipedia, Pyramid Lake “is the biggest remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, the colossal inland sea that once covered most of Nevada”. In a place like this, time slows down. Which is just fine for us fishermen. We thrive in slowing down and taking things in.
Our little group left Napa around 3:30am and we were on the water by 8:30am. The weather was supposed to be perfect, 6mph winds with overcast. But apparently, the “Moon” has a mind of its own and we were met with massive rollers and white caps. It was blowing, but we felt quite secure running Catch Happy HQ, the 20ft North River lunar rover we brought for the purpose.
We saw a number of boats scatter and fish in the general area of the ramp, on the west side. We decided to follow suit. Why not? We were marking hundreds of large fish throughout the water column so the strategy seemed solid. After over an hour of jigging and whooshing out flys/streamers, courtesy of Mr. Kipsey’s fly-fishing addiction, we came up empty.
Austin then made a call to run straight across and fish the east wall. All other boats remained on the west side. The ride was quite bumpy and we got a face full of alkaline lake water that left a white residue on everything it touched. It wasn’t totally unpleasant, but it was quite cold and windy. Once we got across we explored the area and found ourselves a fairly quite small bay, away from the wind. This is where we spent most of our time.
After hours of hard work, the “Moon” finally relented and Austin hooked onto a large representative of the Lahontan cutthroat trout community. It wasn’t an easy fight as only barbless hooks are allowed on the lake. Total child-like jubilation followed his catch.
At this point, our spirits rose and we redoubled our efforts covering a lot of water on the east side. For that effort, I was rewarded with the honor of catching a smallish Tui chub, which is endangered and apparently a favorite menu item for the cutthroats. All fish was released unharmed. Later on, both Cole and Austin hooked into large fish but were outwitted in the end muttering adrenaline-induced curses. I never felt the tug, but the “Moon” was indifferent.
As far as tackle we used light rods, 12lb floroclear line terminated with 1-2oz Pline laser minnows. We jigged them straight up and down at a 45-degree angle behind the boat and bounced the bottom in about 130 feet of water. Next time, Austin recommends bringing some 3oz jigs to try and get more straight up and down action when fishing the deeper water.
If you decide to make the drive, stop by Sweeny’s Sports in Napa and talk to Austin or Alex. We got everything you need to give you a better chance on the water. Lakey Pyramid is one of those places that leave a lasting impression on you. It’s magnificent in its own right, however, putting a 20lbs cutthroat trout in your boat makes it absolutely epic.
Ready for your own guided fishing trip to Lake Pyramid?