BY DAVE HURLEY
SUTCLIFFE – Pyramid Lake in northwestern Nevada remains a top location for winter fishing during this most unusual winter with minimal snowpack so far. The weather has been freezing at times, and the water temperature is currently at 44 degrees, but the bite remains solid for quality Lahontan cutthroat trout. J.D. Richey of Richey Sport Fishing was one of the only boats on the water over the weekend, and he said, “The water is cold and getting the fish to stick to the lures is a challenge, but we ended up with 10 cutthroats to 7 pounds trolling Yakima’s Mag Lips on a setback from 70 to 100 feet close to the shoreline.” Richey will be inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame at the International Sportsmen’s Exposition on Saturday.
Captain Robert Hagerty of Pyramid Fly Company in Reno reported, “If you know what time of the season, we are headed into at Pyramid, you’re giddy like a little kid on Christmas Eve. We are diving head over heels into prime time for the world’s largest cutthroat trout. With the number of storms lined up for the upcoming couple weeks paired up with February right around the corner, has me cheesin’ like the Cheshire Cat. We have begun to see the schools of fish get bigger each week as more and more of our clients have been doubling up and sometimes a magnificent triple. The cold weather, along with the high water has these fish more fired up than ever. As we dive deeper into winter the tui chub spread out a bit more and the bugs really start to dominate most of the cutthroat’s diet. Think midges, bloodworms, scuds, dragon fly larvae and of course the occasional chub. If you’re in love with hanging leeches under the bobber, I would use them in the low light hours, or run it as your top fly. Midges remain the top choice most of the time in the winter. Hang that chrome mid off the bottom, on a loop knot. Give that fly the chance to dance! Twitch that bobber every now and then. Bugs never sit idle in the water column. Neither should your flies. We have been fishing midges in a rainbow of colors and always changing with the weather. Get those flies 1 to 2 feet off the bottom and watch that bobber disappear! For all you folks that love stripping flies, the tug has only been getting better as these fish really start to school up.
The strip bite has been effective in the low light hours of the morning. Pair that rig up with two flies of opposite colors and vary your retrieve until you find what they like on said given day. These trout really love the floating action of the beetles and boobies on sink lines. There’s something to be said about a big predatory fish that loves to hunt in the dark. There is a reason these Lahontan’s grow so fast. The number of baitfish these fish inhale in the fall is ridiculous! And when given the right opportunity it’s often then hard to pass up the right meal running through their path. Once the sun comes up the strip bite has been tapering off, and the switch rods and bobbers come right back out. As we draw nearer to spring, the fish will begin to pile up in the middle areas of the lake as usual. The bigger pods of fish will begin to start lurking towards their home stomping grounds wherever that may be. The morning bite has been consistent with the main bite happening around and just before lunch time. So, when that next string of weather pushes into the area, you know where we will be. At the lake, tussling with the world’s largest cutthroat trout.”