March a great time to fish at Pyramid and Walker Lakes
As was pointed out last week, March is one of the two best months (November being the other) of the year to fish at both Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake.
So if you’re a fisherman who has not fished at either location, here is some helpful information:
To get there: Take U.S. 395 north from Carson City to the I-80 ‘Spaghetti Bowl” Interchange in Reno. From there, take I-80 east toward Sparks. Get off I-80 at the Pyramid Way Exit in Sparks. Then, take a combination of Pyramid Way and the Pyramid Lake Highway north for about 30 miles to the lake.
If you fish there, be sure to do three very important things:
1. Buy a Pyramid Lake fishing permit (and boat permit for your boat). You do not need a Nevada fishing license or a Nevada Trout Stamp to fish on the Pyramid Lake Indian Reservation.
2. Bend the barbs back on your hooks to use barbless hooks.
3. Do the two above items BEFORE going fishing. If you don’t, the Pyramid Tribe game wardens aren’t gonna be very friendly.
Boat fishermen: Currently some of the best success has been by trolling about 40 feet deep in water that is 60-100 feet deep, along the western side of the lake.
A lot of that success has been by trolling with frog-colored spoons or pearl-colored Apex lures.
While trolling, if you snag your lure on one of the lake’s Tufa (volcanic) rocks, kiss that lure good-bye, forever. There is no way that you are going to get it back. I know, because I have left more than my fair share of lures snagged on those miserable lure-eating rocks.
Note: If you should see a large boat slowly trolling in very erratic circular patterns, near Pelican Point, relax, it’s not in trouble.
It’s Don Hettrick busy steering the boat’s small trolling motor, Rich Bachle of Fernley and I enjoying a quiet day of trout fishing.
Fly Fishermen: The best fishing continues to be at “The Nets” with either black Woolly Bugger or black Woolly Worm flies for some eye-popping sized Cutts.
If you’re not sure of where “The Nets” are, just drive along the west side of the lake toward Sutcliffe and look for the fly fishermen sitting on aluminum ladders in the water.
Note: Kerry Kilgore of Carson City caught a nice 5-pounder on a fly at “The Nets” last week, but alas, he had forgotten to enter the Ormsby Sportsmen’s Association 2008 fishing contest. His 5-pounder would have taken first place away from Don Hettrick’s 3-pound, 5-ounce Cutt.
Spincasters: Fish in your chest waders on the west side, and remember that old Pyramid Lake adage: “Bright colors for bright days. Dark colors for dark days.”
This lake is located just north of Hawthorne, along U.S. 95. It is about a 100 mile, 2-2.5 hour drive from Carson City, dependent on how fast you drive.
This year, the fishing reports from Walker have been less than reassuring to say the least. Not many fish have been caught, either from boats or from shore.
It appears that the ever-diminishing water levels and the ever-increasing salinity levels are finally causing the lake’s Lahontan Cutthroat Trout to give up the ghost.
The only way to reverse that process will be to increase the flow of fresh water into the lake from the Walker River, and I’ve got a better chance of hitting the California Lotto than that happening.
Boat fishermen: If you’re going to catch any fish, your best bets will be to troll in front of Sand Point (north of Sportsmen’s Beach) or in front of “The Cliffs” (along U.S. 95). Consistently successful lures (last year) were Apex, Flatfish, Kwikfish and TOR-P-DO.
Shore fishermen: Try at Sand Point, Sportsmen’s Beach, on the north end of “The Cliffs,” or on the far south end of the lake, just before you get to Hawthorne.
Successful lures in the past have been Chartreuse/black dot, red/white striped, yellow/red dot and white/black dot TOR-P-DO lures. Retrieve them slowly with a jerking motion. You don’t have to worry about snagging on the bottom, as most of that is sand.
If one were wise, one would join the Ormsby Sportsmen’s Association (OSA) for $5 a year for adults or $2 for anyone under the age of 16, and then pay another $10 per person to enter its fishing contest.
That big Cutthroat you catch at Pyramid or Walker, could be the 2008 OSA contest winner.
To join or for information, call McCulloch at 882-6810.
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you the best that I have ever done at Walker Lake.
If he slowly shakes his head, deeply sighs and says, “It was the year that Don took first, second and third place in cutthroat category in the John Riordan Invitational Fishing Derby,” he could have been one of that year’s other losing contestants.
Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal