Finding Treasure in the form of big Lahontan Cutthroat Trout at Pyramid Lake,
anglers don’t realize that Pyramid Lake is an alkaline lake with a salinity
approximately 1/6th that of se water. Although clear Lake Tahoe forms headwaters
that eventually drain to Pyramid Lake, the Truckee River delivers more turbid
waters to Pyramid Lake after traversing the steep Sierra terrain and collecting
moderately high silt loaded surface runoff.
Anglers have a specialized method
for catching trout here at the lake and make use of ladders and special
platforms to better see and cast for fish
There are no outlets from
Pyramid Lake and the only way that water leaves is through evaporation. The
Lahontan Trout are adapted to the alkaline water but the high salinity prevents
other trout from surviving here. The lake is also inhabited by the cui-ui
lakesucker which is endemic to Pyramid Lake, and the Tui Chub which Lahontans
will readily feed on.
It is possible to launch boats at
Pyramid to target the fish as well
When it comes to the
Lahontans Pyramid has a long and storied fishing history, and one that wasn’t
always a happy one when it comes to the health of the Cutthroat Trout fishery.
Back in 1844 explorer John C. Fremont documented "a large lake, full of salmon
trout on which they feasted." The Truckee river connects both Tahoe and Pyramid
and at the time wild Lahontan Cutthroat trout inhabited both lakes.
The quality fishing isn't a secret
here, and all the popular spots are stacked with anglers
He witnessed massive trout
being caught both in the lake and the river, and soon this fishery was being
aggressively fished commercially. During the following years it was documented
that over fifty tons of fish were caught each year, effectively decimating the
Lahontan Cutthroat population to the point fifty years later where just about
all the fish were completely gone.
Mark and Zander formulate a plan
to get away from the crowds and get into some fish
The Paiute tribe took it
upon themselves to bring the fish back, and initiated aggressive stocking
programs. Thanks to quality management the Lahontan trout populations are now
sustained by several tribally-run fish hatcheries. Though the fishing is nowhere
near the splendor it was a century ago, the lake does offer world class
Cutthroat Trout fishing once again.
To protect spawning fish there is
a slot limit
The Paiute Tribe goes a long way to protect spawning fish and has a slot limit
to help prevent these fish from being taken. The legal keeper size for trout at
Pyramid is 17 to 20 inches, and/or 24 inches & longer. Only one trout over 24
inches is allowed in possession. The catch limit is two trout per day, but not
more than one of them may be 24 inches or longer. As an example, anglers may
keep two trout between 17 and 20 inches; or just one between 17 and 20 inches,
and one over 24 inches. There are many anglers that simply enjoy catching these
large trout, and practicing catch and release is encouraged.
We started with both spoons and
swimbaits in bright green patterns
Getting into some big fish