Pyramid Lake Cutts tantalize Derby anglers
By Frank Galusha
01/25/13 -- Fishing for Pyramid Lake's enormous cutthroat trout was quiet last weekend from both boat and the shore, according the Valarie Taylor at the Crosby Lodge, but it picked up enough on Tuesday to make upcoming derby anglers salivate.
If fish like the one above aren't enough to shake you out of your winter doldrums, nothing will. But if you are like me, a photo like this gets me moving, which happens to be a good thing since the 26th Annual Crosby Lodge President’s Day Fishing Derby is just two weekends away. If things work out right I may get the chance to go, and it will be a first, so I went looking for tips from anyone who was willing to share.
Taylor says several hundred anglers fish this derby each year, which actually spans two weekends, this year that falls on February 9 and 10 and February 16 and 17. The registration fee is $80 and you can register now by email at the Crosby Lodge website, crosbylodge.net or by calling 775-476-0400.
Dinner will be provided Saturday February 16th from 4-7 p.m. for all registered entrants. There is a $12 donation expected for non-registrants. A Free Derby Hat comes with each registration as well. The deadline for registering is Saturday February 9 at noon and Saturday, February 16 at noon. Final weigh-in is 4 p.m. on Sunday February 17.
The event is sponsored by Sierra Sport & Marine, the Winkel Family Automotive and Marine and Crosby Lodge.
So how do you fish Pyramid? Well, hundreds of anglers fish it from shore from ladders but a great many also fish it from a boat. That will be my choice as sitting on top of a ladder doesn't appeal to me.
Chris Grellman, former guide at the lake with Hog Charters, gave me a few valuable fishing tips for those who expect to fish from a boat. Of course, much depends on weather conditions, which can change in a heartbeat on Pyramid but right now, Grellman says the bigger fish are being caught off ledges, down about 15 feet in water 20 to 30 feet deep. He says it's not unusual for boaters to catch 10-12 fish in the 22 to 23 1/2 inch range. "And these are tough, hard-fighting fish. They can give a good fight and swim off just as though taking on a hook, line, sinker and everything else we can throw at them is no big deal."
Grellman fished the lake today but only caught six, so he didn't think it was nearly as good as he'd done on other days but those he caught were still very respectable, in the above range and out of the "slot." The slot sizes are a bit unusual so you better have a tape measure handy or one of those fish measuring decals stuck on the boat somewhere. Keepers can be 17 to 20 inches or over 24 inches. All other sizes must be returned to the water. You may keep two of the smaller sizes or one small and one large. I forgot to ask whether or not these cutts are great eating but I imagine they are good if you like trout.
So what else did Grellman recommend if you were planning to fish from a boat this week? He favors medium sized Apex trolled up to 2.2 mph or U20 Flatfish trolled as slow as possible, maybe around 0.5 mph. Most guys use downriggers but Deep Sixes are also popular and so are good old fashioned two-ounce banana weights. Grellman uses a #2 treble hook on his Apex but just remember you have to pinch the barbs down -- in Pyramid they give the fish a fighting chance whether they need it or not. As for line, Grellman prefers 20 lb. Berkeley Fireline with fairly short green or black Maxima leader. Even with 20#, the bigger fish are often lost. That should tell you a lot about their stubbornness and willingness to head toward the bottom. Grellman described it as though the cutts try to glue themselves to the mud.
Pyramid has had a lot of fog lately, which means you better have good electronics in the boat including a GPS and a marine radio. When the wind comes up it comes up fast and the rollers can be just several feet apart. A good check of all equipment including a trial run with the boat on some other water would be a good idea especially if your rig has been stored for a while as mine has. There are some more rules to be obeyed, too...see the Paiute Tribal website and boat permits costing $9 per day per person are required plus a $1 administrative fee. Lodging costs from $60 to $195 per night depending on availability plus tax. Lunch runs around $8 to $12 per person and dinners are in the $13 to $19 range. There is a Verizon tower nearby so if internet access is important, you should be able to communicate, just don't rely on your cell phone while on the lake. That's why they recommend a marine radio. If you want more details, call the above number and ask for Valarie. She seems to be on top of the action and is very helpful.
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