Fish the Ledges
Without a lot of foliage and structure, the Lahontan cutthroat trout use the ledges of drop-offs from the sandy flats as ambush points. A good percentage of fish caught at Pyramid Lake are found around visible color changes indicating more sudden depth change.
Keep Your Flies Wet
At Pyramid, a good portion of the year is blind casting. The fish hug the bottom most of the day and are continually cruising the ledges. We fish points of intersection where the fish have the best chance of seeing our flies when coming in to feed. So having your flies in what you could call “cruising lanes” as much as possible is key.
Be Gentle With the Monsters
Proper handling of these oversized trout is very important. If you ever want to weigh a fish before a grip and grin please weigh them in the net. Keep the fish in your net attach the scale to the rim by the handle pull it completely out of the water, check your weight and then put the fish back down in the water. After the release, the weigh your net (wet), subtract the weight of the net and you will have a quick painless and quite accurate weight of your fish. Lastly, don’t lift the large fish up out of the water by just the tail. Their heavy head and shoulders can severe or dislocate their spine from the weight. If we are going for a grip and grin place hand under pectoral fins, not on the soft tissue part of their belly.
Elephants Eat Peanuts
The local legend and buddy of mine Rich Moomaw once told me while we were having a slay day fishing midges, “elephants eat peanuts”. Shortly after I netted a 21lb cutthroat for him. Which the day prior I caught 20lber. It’s not always a strip game out on the big salty pond.
Keep Your Spirits Up
The angler who will catch the most fish will be the one having the best time. All the locals believe the fish feel your vibes. Yeah, bullshit right? The only way to know is to come and find out. But after plenty of days guiding people for the first time at Pyramid and fishing with many friends, attitude is everything. If you aren’t having fun and you are taking fishing too serious to the point of frustration. Then it’s time to take a step back and regroup. Stay positive and fish will bite.
Leave Your 5 weight at home
With such large fish being caught more often the 5 wt is a bad idea for many reasons, no matter how cool you think you are. The main reason is we don’t want to fight these fish for 20-30 minutes to the point of exhaustion where they swim off and potentially die. Also, no need to break your daily driver. We prefer to use 7 and 8 wt rods. All your fish won’t be 10 plus pounds so these rod weights are a happy medium between getting a good bend on the average fish and still putting the wood to the big boys.
Bring Different Line Setups
The most used set up on Pyramid are 7 and 8 weight rods. Either with a 250-350 grain shooting head sinking line for stripping. For fishing a lot of types of floating flies and baitfish patterns off the bottom. This gives the flies a jigging type motion when stripping and pausing. For floating lines, we prefer 2 handed switch rods around 11ft and 10 ft single hand rods loaded with a heavier tapered line to roll over large indicator rigs or long leaders for a more tight line style nymphing.
Just like in saltwater fishing certain times of the year we chase bait balls of Tui Chub. These chubs are one of the main good sources for the trout and a big reason they get so big. When the water is warmer in early in late season Tui Chub bait balls will rise to the service. The trout will come from beneath and hammer these large schools. Then seagulls, grebes, and cormorants dive bomb from above. These times of year can be some of the most exciting. Chasing the birds is the name of the game during warmer portions of the season.
Casey Anderson is the president of Pyramid Fly Company, a fly shop located on Pyramid Lake, NV. Casey is also a talented tattoo artist and member of Pig Farm Ink
. Be sure to check out his epic ink and fly fishing adventures on Instagram @caseyanderson_pfc