The Pyramid Lake outing, April 23-28, it’s no coincidence this
lake is in Nevada, the gambling state
By Jerry Neuburger
Sutcliffe, Nevada—It’s no secret that fishing Pyramid can be a crap
shoot. Numbers can be as high as 80 fish per rod on very good days
and zero on very bad ones. However, even with these widely varying
results the lake has a certain draw and mystique that cannot be
Perhaps it’s the topography, a large lake in a moonscape like
setting, high desert and tufa towers. Perhaps it’s the fishing
technique so different than any other fish-ing, casting a long
sinking line with foam beetles and woolly worms, and slowly
stripping in while standing on a ladder in three feet of ice cold
water. Perhaps it’s the fish themselves, ancient Lahontan cutthroat
trout, a species dating to the ice ages over 40,000 years ago. Or
perhaps the possibility of catching (and releasing) one of the
remaining giants of this species, a fish in excess of 20 pounds, on
What ever the draw, it can’t be denied that at certain times of
the year, the lake’s shores, especially the western side are
swarming with fly and spin fishers, some loners and others in large
camps, generally club based, all hoping to catch their share of this
beautifully marked fish.
Although fly guys fish the lake all winter long, February through
April are the prime months since the fish are cruising the shore,
looking for inflow while pre-paring to spawn. The three most popular
beaches for fishing during this time are Pelican and the North and
South Nets. Pelican has the additional advantage for the camper
since it’s slightly sheltered by the mountain rim from the sometimes
fierce winds blowing in from the west.
Because the lake can get crowded on weekends, fishmeister, Larry
Mettler likes to fish this body of water during the week. Rather
than camp on the lake shore, Larry arranges a group of rooms for
those that want to fish Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Larry asks
that you contact him at least two weeks ahead of time, before April
Those who can’t make the midweek schedule usually arrive on
Friday and fish through Sunday. Both tent and RV camping is
available on the lake shore, a $9fee is required for each night. A
Nevada State fishing license is NOT required to fish this lake.
Instead, anglers are required to purchase a special Pyramid Lake
license from the Paiute Tribe since the lake is on Paiute
Reservation property. The license runs $9 per day with multiple day
pack-ages and season licenses available.
The two principal presentations when fishing Pyramid are either
casting a sinking line while standing on a ladder in three to four
feet of water, and then slowly stripping the attached woolly worm
and beetle in, setting up on any line hesitation. The second is
indicator lake fishing with a variety of dedicated Pyramid lake
flies as well as brassies and Copper Johns.
While the average size Lahontan runs about 20 inches, you might
be lucky enough to hook up to a fish in the ten pound class.
However, as big as that sounds, it’s not near the lake record of a
fish weighing over 41 pounds.
Just the facts:
Fishmiester: Larry Mettler, 209-481-6478.
Species: Lahontan cutthroat trout
Fishing license: $9 one day, $74 season, other combinations
Hotel Accommodations: Larry will ar-range accommodations at the
Nugget in Reno at a special rate for DFFers attending this outing,
cost somewhere between $30 and $40 per night, two to a room. Plans
for dinner Thursday night are at the Basque restaurant in Sparks,
and at the Nugget smorgy on Friday.
Camping: $9 per day, permit available on-line.
The western lake shore is open to dry camping. An RV park with
hookups, seldom used, is available at Sutcliffe Pyramid Lake Store
Carla & George Molino 29555 Pyramid Highway Sutcliffe, NV 89510
Supplies: Fishing licenses, flies, fishing supplies, snacks and some
groceries, gaso-line and propane are available at the Pyra-mid Lake
Store on Hwy. 445, as you ap-proach the lake.
7 weight rod, floating and quick sinking lines. 6 foot ladder.
Pyramid Lake Woolly worm
Pyramid Lake Beetle
Pyramid Lake Tadpole
Snow cone midge
Damsel and Dragon fly nymphs
Fishing regulation highlights:
• 2 barbless hooks per line.
Check for closed areas
Fishing permitted from one hour be-fore sunrise to one hour after
Two fish may be kept, see the slot limit for sizes.