February 11-14, 2021
JACKPOT! Everything that could go right, finally did! After 35 years of fly fishing pursuits for trophy Lahontan cutthroat trout with the hope of breaking the ten-pound mark, I finally succeeded. It was a dream come true for this fly fisherman. Not one, but three beautiful trophy trout over tens pounds were landed, best fish was 11 pounds! The winter conditions at Pyramid Lake were just enough to keep the trout relatively close to shore to find our flies. Saturday was the bomb when rough winds kicked in (fortunately from our back) raising big chop on the lake shoreline, just the way we like it! George Krumm from Estacada, OR and editor of Fish Alaska and Hunt Alaska magazines, joined me for the trip down to Pyramid Lake. He’s no stranger to the big lake as he has fly fished it for the last four years but typically prefers to in December. He’s done quite well catching at least one double-digit trophy trout per trip and his best is 15 pounds! (Check out George's article from STS magazine at the end of the blog! Detailed "how to" fly fishing tips available.)
With very good success, we fly fished all four days at Pelican Beach. My choice of presentation is always casting and stripping flies and I had no problem hooking up. George stripped flies too but also likes the indicator fishing, which, is a nice break from casting and gives the arm a break. And though he did hook up a few times with flies under the indicator, stripping the flies paid higher dividends. The popcorn beetle fly and Pyramid Lake tadpole fly proved successful on many big fish. When there was no light on the water, I fished two white flies. A white and chartreuse bugger on the top and a white and chartreuse tadpole on the end of the leader. Later in the morning when visibility was good I switched to two black and purple flies, a black and purple bugger on the lead and a black and purple tadpole on the end. If the wind kicked up causing cloudy water, I fished larger size flies to give a bigger silhouette. Without a doubt, the worst weather day produced the best fishing, which I find pretty consistent when fishing Pyramid Lake. I’m not a big fan of calm, sunny, BBQ days while fly fishing Pyramid Lake like it was on the last trip in January (of all times); it’s a dead deal!
Catching a trout that weighs 10 lbs or more is truly a trophy and now that I have finally accomplished that, with the Lahontan cutthroat trout, I can’t wait for the next pursuit to hook up even bigger! Twenty pounder, here I come!
If you have never fly fished at Pyramid Lake or been there since COVID struck, you should know that the fishing permit fees have gone up substantially. There is NO seasonal license, a one day is $24 and a three day is $62! With the rage of anglers catching 20+ pound trout, the crowds are abundant. If you want the prim'o spot, it means getting to that spot on the beach about 4:30-5:00 am! The number of guides has grown too and they have people setting up platforms/ladders as early as 4 am! Hopefully the tribe will put an end to this because legal fishing time is only an hour before sunrise and after sunset. Also, platforms and ladders cannot be left unattended for no longer than one hour! On this trip I noticed many ladders being left out way past an hour. Hopefully the tribe will tighten upon the rules. Just keep in mind the trout are constantly on the move near shore which means most places are going to produce catches. There’s only about a month left till the end of March for good fishing, at least for big fish, so plan now if you have an itch to go!
Tight lines on your fly fish pursuit!