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Nevada Freshwater

Pyramid water temperatures climb, bringing the cutthroat close to shore

BY PAUL LEBOWITZ/WON Staff WriterPublished: Apr 18, 2019

SUTCLIFFE, Nev. — With the advent of 52-degree water temperatures, Pyramid Lake’s cutthroat trout are cruising the shallows as they prepare to spawn, and the shore-based fly guys are cashing in.

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RYAN ERBSTOESSER AND group fished the northern end of Pyramid Lake in Nevada on Friday, April 12, and he used a midge under an indicator to catch and release this 11-pound cutthroat whlle fly fishing from shore. They caught “several” fish over 10 pounds during the trip.


“Fishing’s been wonderful. A lot of fish over 10 pounds are being caught and we had 3 or 4 pushing 12 last week, and I got one that was 14 on Saturday. It’s funny when you’re shaking 6 pounders,” Joe Contaldi of Joe Contaldi Performance Angler’s Guide Service said.


It’s important to note that not everyone is enjoying splendid fishing – this is unforgiving Pyramid Lake, after all – but Contaldi said better (or just luckier) anglers are catching up to 3 fish per hour on the warmer days. It’s not like that all the time – there have been slower days mixed in, and it usually takes a day for the cutthroat bite to rebound.


Contaldi said indicator fishing has been effective when the water’s been calm using snowcones and copper-black-copper color patterns. When there’s a riffle of wind on the water, he prefers fishing on the retrieve.


One key is finding clear water. The Truckee River is dumping mud into the lake, and it’s expected to continue as the snowmelt gets going full bore. For now, Contaldi said, there’s clean water from Indian Head northward, including Pelican Beach and Windlass.


Doug Ouellette of Pyramid Lake Guide Service said afternoons have been better, and it’s often a subtle take, but the lake has been so crowded it’s important to show up by 4 a.m. to claim a spot on the beaches.


With the cutthroat concentrated in the shallows, boaters have had a tougher time finding fish, but they are still getting their share. George Molino of Cutthroat Charters was out Friday and Saturday, and the earlier day was better with 9 brought to the boat. Saturday was slower, but a nice 6.5 pounder salvaged a tough day.


Meanwhile, Glenn Lemon of Pilot Peak Guide Service said his boat clients caught 7.5- and 8.5-pound cutts’ Saturday while trolling frog pearl FlatFish.


The heaviest fish weighed in at Crosby’s was a 15-pound, 8-ounce cutthroat caught by Pyramid Lake regular Adam Garcia of Sparks, Nev.


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