Saturday, May 3, 2008


On Wednesday, Bill and Nate had some time to kill and decided (with a little "arm-twisting" by the guys at Reno Fly Shop) to head to Pyramid Lake to fish for the lake's legendary Lahontan Cutthroat trout. It was cold and windy. Bill discovered no fewer than four new leaks in his waders. Nate called it quits after about three chilly hours, but Bill, being mentally ill a committed angler, stuck it out. His persistence was rewarded.

Lahontan Cutthroat Trout are endemic to the terminal basins of ancient lake Lahontan, which includes Northwest Nevada, Lake Tahoe and parts of Southeast Oregon. These wonderful fish are in the Pacific Salmon family (Oncorhynchus) and suffer from some of the same issues as their ocean-going cousins, namely Dams. The Pyramid Lake strain, which once reached 40lbs or more, migrated up the Truckee River to spawn. But in 1905 Derby Dam was built on the river for irrigation, and with an inadequate fish ladder, the Pyramid Lake strain soon went extinct. However, the Piaute Tribe have successfully restocked Pyramid lake (although with a smaller strain) and maintain populations through hatchery operations. With fish passage bing installed on the Derby Dam, there is hope that someday there will be wild Lahontans in Pyramid Lake once again.

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