Cutthroat trout – Pyramid Lake ready for opener on Oct 1st (baits, tips and techniques)

OCTOBER 1 CAN’T GET HERE FAST ENOUGH FOR PYRAMID LAKE ANGLERS – Keegan Koehler of Reno, Nevada with a trophy Pyramid Lake cutthroat trout. Photo courtesy of Pyramid Fly Company.


Pyramid Lake in northeastern Nevada will open once again for Lahontan cutthroat trout within a few weeks on October 1, and according to Captain Robert Hagerty of Pyramid Fly Company in Reno, there are lots of big and heavy hungry fish that haven’t been harassed for 3 months.

To fish Pyramid, you only need a Tribal Fishing and/or Boating Permit as a State of Nevada fishing license is not required. There are specific gear restrictions including barbless hooks with no bait, scent, eggs, Power Bait or similar products, or any organic material on your lures. There is a slot limit for Lahontan cutthroat from 17 to 24 inches over over 24 inches. Anglers may keep two fish in the smaller slot or one over 24 and one in the smaller slot. Fishing is limited to one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset.

Hagerty said, “These magnificent creatures have been feeding heavily on the Tui Chub bait balls and are fired up as well.  They will test your tackle so be ready. Hopefully these tips will help you catch your trophy.


Don’t limit yourself to the shore. If you have a pontoon boat, float tube, kayak, or boat bring it. We use Kodiak and Grizzly Water Masters by Big Sky Inflatables. They are the Rolls Royce of personal inflatable watercraft. Our guides also rely upon our electronics to find the bait balls. Find the bait, find the fish. In October the fish tend to be just off shore in 40 to 100 feet of water, and if you know Pyramid or look at it on a topo map, that could be 25 to 100 yards from shore in many areas. Please, Please, Please don’t go out if the winds have a high percentage forecast for wind or is windy at the time. Please, Please, Please wear your PFD at all times. We recommend the auto-inflate, suspender type that are less bulky. If you haven’t checked your’s lately make sure you inspect it and have new CO2cartridges installed. You don’t want to find out your PFD is faulty when you need it. We check ours

CAPTAIN ROB’S RECOMMENDATIONS –Captain Robert Hagerty of Pyramid Fly Company lays out his display of lures for Lahontan success. Photo courtesy of Pyramid Fly Company.

weekly. Safety First. A fish is not worth your life. For those boating or trolling, Hell’s Kitchen or Anderson Bay is where I would go with your favorite trolling lure or jigs. You have all have electronics, just put the lure in the fish’s face, and you’ll get bit. For conventional gear, I recommended a 6/7-foot medium heavy rod with a soft tip but shuts of quickly. Braided line and fluorocarbon don’t stretch so the softer tip helps as a shock absorber to keep from pulling the hooks out of a big fish. Reels should have a good drag such as the 2500 to 3000 series of reels with 50-pound brain and 15- to 20-pound Seagar Yellow Label Fluorocarbon.

For jigging, 1- to 2-ounce P-Line Laser Minnows in olive/white/silver, blue/white/silver, or black/white/silver. Pay attention to how your spoon, jig or fly drops down to the bottom, we get bit a lot on the fall. Make sure you have ¼- to 1-ounce Giro Jigs, Tubes, or Zig Jigs in your arsenal as well. Olive/white, grey/white, plain white and plain black. I love throwing them from shore when I don’t feel like or the weather won’t let me go out in the tube or boat.

For fly fishing, 9-foot rods in 7- to 10-weight with large arbor reels with plenty of backing. Lines should be full sink type 7, but don’t rule out bringing intermediate and floating lines as there are times the fish will corral the bait up against the shorelines. In this case, the

CAPTAIN ROB’S BUGS for Pyramid Lake. Photo courtesy of Pyramid Fly Company.

heavy full sink line will hang up on the bottom. Leaders should be made of straight 15- to 20-pound Seagar Yellow Label fluorocarbon as there is no reason to go lighter than this as you wouldn’t bring a knife to a gunfight. For stripping, have a wide variety of baitfish patterns in olive and white. Captain Rob’s balanced baitfish in tui chub pattern, Wooly Buggers, Deceivers, Clousers, Articulated Streamers and game changers will get you bit. Balanced leaches and baitfish under the indicator can get bit as well so don’t rule out your favorite indicator patterns.

Concentrate on depth of your offering over color. Look for beaches/locations with deep drops nearby. Warrior Point is always a favorite in October, and look for the boats and you will be in the right area. If I am not fishing from a watercraft, Warrior, Blockhouse, Cattleguard, and alike will hold fish.

These fish are big and will test pound. Except for the ocean, I have never had a fish pull as hard as these Lahontan cutthroats do in October. Bring the Motrin as your forearms and hands will get sore. Come experience Pyramid Lake and find out why it is called ‘The Home of the World’s Largest Cutthroat Trout’ and ‘Land of the Giants.’”