It’s Opening Day on Pyramid Lake!

Written by: Brian La Rue, fishingsifu Reno


Angler Brian Strang landed this gorgeous cutthroat last year on Pyramid Lake.
Photo by Brian La Rue

One of the most anticipated fishing openers in the Western region is here in northwestern Nevada. Pyramid Lake opens today, and anglers can start fishing for Lahontan cutthroats ranging from 10 to 25. . .pounds, not inches. Perch fishermen hitting the same areas in the past few weeks that hold cutthroats have reported noisy, lit-up fish finders displaying huge schools of cutthroats in 25 to 80 feet of water.

“Pyramid’s cutthroats are getting bigger and bigger, and every season I meet people from all over the world as the word has gotten out,” said Gary Bonanno of Pyramid On-The-Fly Guide Service. “If not this year, the lake record of 41 pounds will fall soon. The lake is fantastic for cutthroat ranging from 3 to 10 pounds, but if any of the early perch fishermen reporting fish to 19 pounds is any indication, this is going to be a year when 8 to 10 pounders are fairly common and 15 pounders will be the new size-to-brag-about fish.”


Gary Bonanno knows a thing or two about where and how to catch fish on Pyramid.
Photo courtesy Gary Bonanno

So, most think of Pyramid as a cold weather place, but that bundle-up kind of weather is typically reserved for December through February. The weather for the opener will be sunny and near 70-degrees, but where will the fish be?

“The fish will be deep for opener, so rig up with a sinking line like a 200- to 350-grain Hydros Depth Charge and find deep drop-offs if you’re bound to shore,” suggests Gary. “If you get out in a boat or pontoon, target 20 to 50 feet of water and try white, white-and-red, or white-and-chartreuse Pyramid Lake Beetles, Clousers, Balanced Leeches, and Woolly Buggers. Simply strip or jig them at those depths for quick action for big trout. Hell’s Kitchen, Sand Hole ,or any other area where you can get into deep water fast will be best. Be advised: if the wind comes up and you’re in a boat or pontoon, get off the water immediately, as the lake can get nasty and very dangerous.”


The Pyramid Lake Beetle is a tried-and-true pattern.
Photo courtesy Mimic Fly Fishing

Bonanno and Jan Nemec of Mimic Fly Fishing tie many of their proven patterns for Pyramid, and the flies are available at  fishingsifu Reno. The shop offers the largest selection of Pyramid flies in the region, if not the world. If you are going to make the trip to capitalize on this unique fishery, plan for three days of fishing and maybe hire a guide to learn a new technique to make the most of your trip.

Brian La Rue is the Store Manager of fishingsifu Reno and Sales and Marketing Manager for High Country Angler Magazine. You can also see his writing on Examiner.com (Reno, Denver, and National Fly Fishing Pages).


fishingsifu Reno carries every pattern you’ll need to score big cutthroats on Pyramid Lake.
Photo by Brian La Rue

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