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Northern CA Freshwater

Pyramid Lake cutthroats spawning, but bite still decent

BY PAT YOUNG/WON Staff WriterPublished: Apr 20, 2017

SUTCLIFFE — The Pyramid Lake Tribal Fisheries program has been spawning cutthroats at their hatchery facility here for a month, but there were still plenty of trout cruising the lake that have not finished their reproductive duties and this slowed the fishing, according to guide George Molino at Cutthroat Charters. Cold water temps also contributed to the slower bite due to the tremendous amount of water rushing into the lake from the Truckee River.

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THE COLORS OF cutthroat trout are amazing. This gorgeous cut’ was caught by Dean Limb at Pyramid Lake in Nevada at Pelican Point using a midge. Access to the lake is improving with ongoing road repairs.

“Earlier this past week I put out the first line and almost immediately hooked a big fish for client Mark Burrell of Napa, a 28-inch, 10 pounder--what a start!” Molino said. “The next day, the bite slowed as the temp dropped and we hooked 9 fish for 3 anglers, keeping three 17- to 20-inch slot fish. On Saturday, my two clients landed 8 fish and kept 4 slot fish that we caught in the first hour and released the rest. All the fish this past week were either females full of eggs or males loaded with milt. Between the spawn and the cold water temps, the fishing was decent, but far from good. We’re looking forward to May when things warm up and the trout start feeding again to recover from the spawn. We’re seeing big schools of bait on the meters and lots of fish too, but they just don’t seem to want to hit a lure.”


Molino was using a combination of plugs and spoons to catch his fish this past week. The 10 pounder hit a steelhead favorite, a Hot Shot, while most of the fish preferred a toplined rainbow spoon. Molino reported that unsettled weather was keeping most boaters on the west side of the lake and north of the Nets since the water on the south end of the lake was muddy due to the heavy inflow from the Truckee River. The area from Monument to Pelican was the most productive this past week and Molino was fishing from the surface down to 15 feet deep.


The colder water temps were having a similar effect on the flyfishing. Robert Hagerty at the Pyramid Fly Company reported the following. “Right now, we’re looking at 48-degree water, which is 5 degrees colder than normal for this time of year,” Hagerty said. “We’re still only seeing a fraction of the cruising fish we were used to for mid-April. The hot calm sunny days that used to be the days where the bite was tough are now the most productive. On a hot day, the water warms up on the shallow beaches just enough to get fish moving in and actively feeding.


“During certain parts of the day you will notice the bite moving in and out in distance from the shore so be sure to try fishing far out and in close to see where the cruising lanes are,” Hagerty said. “And when we say ‘in close’ we mean just past your rod tip, since some of the biggest fish will be within 25 feet of your rod tip. As far as flies and techniques, the indicator and ‘no-cator’ bite has been the most productive. Midges and nymphs in black, wine, and red worked great. A very close second was the balanced leech in black, olive, and grey. Vary your depths to find feeding fish and don't be afraid to fish shallow under your indicator, you will be surprised. Stripping has been good with darker flies in the lower light and brighter flies during the day. We’ve had some outstanding trips recently with great numbers and more fish over 10 pounds than we could have imagined.”


Hagerty warned that the beaches were changing rapidly, so please be careful when wading, even in familiar spots.


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