Pyramid Lake’s hot striper bite topped off by 30 pounder

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DIRTY THIRTY— Adrian Villegas (left) with a 30-pound Pyramid Lake striper he bagged on a Blunt Customs wooden bait while fishing with guide Lorenzo Sandoval of Guppies Fishing Adventures.
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BY MIKE STEVENS

SUMMIT VALLEY— Pyramid Lake stands as one of the top striped bass fisheries in Southern California and consistently produces solid numbers and at times, respectable quality. A fair amount of double-digit models appear up among the gobs of stripers falling into the higher-end-of-school-size category, but Pyramid rarely kicks out a lineside that competes the caliber of trophy fish that show up all over the Colorado River or Northern California.

That being said, when a 30 pounder was caught toward the end of December, it was worth getting loud about.

Angler Adrian Villegas hit Pyramid with guide Lorenzo Sandoval of Guppies Fishing Adventures (GuppiesFishingAdventures.com), and they rainy day started with the local sheriff letting them know they would be “pulled off the lake” if there was any lightning, and that shifted Sandoval’s game plan for the day.

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I told Adrian ‘let’s not do any green bass or trout fishing and go straight into trophy striper chasing’ which meant 12-inch baits or bigger,” Sandoval told Western Outdoor News. “We stayed focused and made a lot of casts for nothing, and about an hour-and-a-half into fishing we are working some deeper water when Adrian‘s topwater bait gets smashed, and instantly the striper starts doing an alligator death roll on the surface. I grabbed the net and screamed at him to turn the handle and don’t stop. We had 30-pound mono on a St. Croix extra-heavy musky rod and we were using a Blunt Customs 12-inch wooden bait.”

According to Sandoval, the 44-inch fish came up and was netted after a relatively short “but stressful” battle, but it spit the lure, escaped the net and had to be recaptured and dumped on to the deck of the boat.

The fish was flopping so hard we thought it was going to jump overboard, so we literally jumped on top of the fish as if it was a horse,” said Sandoval. “There was a lot of screaming and cheering, and I think everybody in L.A. County could hear us. We snapped a lot of photos, and Adrian took the fish home to mount it. The fish had choked on the bait, so it was not going to make it, but it will be immortalized forever.”

When asked about the big fishing picture at Pyramid right now, Sandoval told WON both largemouth and smallmouth bass are being found in deeper water now that air and water temps are locked into the winter range. As for the rest of the stripers, they are boiling and eating topwater very early in the mornings. Sandoval also said while it has been a few weeks since the first trout plant, there are still a lot of them swimming around.

The biggest challenge right now is the water level fluctuations,” said Sandoval. If you can adjust to that, you can definitely catch some fish.”

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