Rich, Ross, Jim B. and Jim H. made the long drive across Utah and Nevada arriving at Pyramid Lake in the afternoon on Saturday, March 8.
After setting up camp on the beach there was very little daylight left for fishing, so plans were made to awake early Sunday and hit the water to fish for the Lahontan Cutthroats the lake is famous for. Sunday morning began overcast and breezy with a storm forecast to arrive later in the night. The wind steadily picked up throughout the day, creating a chop on the water that stirred up the lake and drove the fish close to shore, making the fishing decent. Around five o’clock in the evening the storm made its presence felt with a steady wind that whipped the beach sand through camp so hard it drove the BFF campers into their trailers fairly early as the fine sand found its way into every mouth and every eye. At2:00 am the wind really started blowing hard with gusts estimated up to 70 mph, blowing one of the trailers off the blocks it was parked on. With the wind howling so loud it was impossible to sleep the remainder of the night, so everyone tried their best to hunker down and wait out the night and hope daylight would bring some relief.
Monday morning dawned overcast and brought more wind, creating waves on the lake three to four feet high. Not ideal weather for camping, but the wave action made the fishing great. Average cutthroats caught were in the 22” to 26” range.
Not the 18 to 20 pounders that have been recently been featured in photos making their way around the internet, but big enough and often enough to make the BFF anglers happy to be there. Various colors of buggers and popcorn beetles were the flies that worked the best. Monday morning also featured a couple of locals who thought it was a good idea to launch a small Tracker boat into the lake from the beach. An H2 Hummer pushed their trailer and boat into the surf and they headed off down the lake to troll with downrigger setups. A few hours later they were spotted coming back up the lake against the wind and the waves which had had not abated at all during the day but had instead intensified in speed and duration. The Hummer driver reluctantly pushed the boat trailer out into the waves to collect the Tracker and occupants, not knowing that the boat had shipped enough water to make it almost un-navigable and heavy enough to make it impossible to maneuver the boat onto the trailer. The Hummer got stuck in the sand about 20 yards out before the water killed it. The boat swamped. You just can’t make this stuff up (see photos).
Wednesday broke clear and much more calm than the previous two days, so Rich, Jim B. and Jim H. decided to drive into Reno (about forty miles south of Pyramid Lake) and fish the Truckee River. While a beautiful day, not a fish was seen much less found at the end of a line. So much for the Truckee. Back to the lake.
Tom arrived at camp around 2:00 am Thursday morning. By now the weather had settled and the lake had calmed to a glassy state, making the fishing slow and the day long. Still, some managed to hook cutthroats throughout the day and into the evening.
Friday was much like the previous day, sunny and calm with very little chop on the water. The fishing slowed even more with few hits and even fewer hookups. Jim H. had hauled his barrel smoker out to Nevada and spent the day smoking six racks of baby back ribs for dinner that night. A couple of intrepid BFFers fished for an hour after sunset to little result. By now most of us had been at the lake for almost a week and were ready to wind down, pack up and head back home. Ross and Rich left early Saturday morning to make the long slog back to Utah. Jim B. and Jim H. decided to spend one extra day to unwind and relax before hitting I-80 East on Sunday morning.
Was it worth the long drives, hurricane force winds and sand covering every inch of everything? Hell yes. If you go you will need: 7 to 9 weights rods. Fast sinking line. Woolly buggers. Popcorn beetles. Sand-proof goggles. Visine. Good beer. Good friends