Peninsula Fly Fishers

Pyramid Lake 2009

by Dave Peterson

May 2009

I left the Bay Area on Friday morning to make the 300 mile trek to Pyramid Lake.    With rain forecast for the entire weekend I was beginning to question the sanity of driving all the way to Pyramid Lake with the distinct probability that I would end up sitting in a trailer reading a book for the next three days.   None the less, I was able to drag myself out of bed and was on the road by 6AM.   By the time I hit Donner Summit the rain was coming down hard and it was looking more and more like the weekend was going to be a bust.   But, having gone this far I figured I might as well push on.  Fortunately by the time I reached Reno the rain had abated and with better weather, and no traffic, I was at the lodge by 10:30.  After securing a fishing permit, and dropping my bags off at the double wide trailer I would call home for the next two nights, I headed up to the lake to look for our group.   As I drove north along the lake I spotted a white Ford truck with camper shell parked on the beach.  It looked like our group, unfortuantely I had to double back about a 1/2 mile and take a gravel road to reach them.  Did I mention that I was driving my wife's Prius, a car with about 2 inches of ground clearance.  I made good progress, only occasionally wincing when I went over the odd large rock for the first 1/4 mile but then the road took a steep turn down to the beach.  I got out and quickly realized that the last 1/4 mile required 4 wheel drive and about a foot more ground clearance than the Prius had.   After considering the probable outcome to taking my wife's car down that road I started hiking.  I thought it best to make sure it was our group before humping all of my fishing gear down the hill.  When I finally arrived at the beach I was disappointed.  The group turned out to be locals so it was back up the hill to continue my search.  A couple of miles up the road I found the turnout to Pelican beach, a much better road and our group.

Good bend in Dave's rod
Dave's Rod Well Bent

As I pulled up Mike McGuire was just coming out of the water.  After a quick update from Mike and John Files I grabbed my ladder and headed out to the lake.   I fished between intermittent rain showers for 3 to 4 hours.   No one seemed to be catching anything but cold so I headed back to trailer for late lunch and a nap.  There I found Richard Holubek recuperating from a bad back he had acquired on a week earlier on a 4 wheel road near the San Juan.  We sat around and chatted until Mike and the rest of the gang showed up around 7PM.   Mike cooked up some great pasta and we sat around swapping lies and commiserating on the days fishing.

With the exception of Richard we were all on the water the next day by 8AM.   It was still cold and a little windy with intermittent rain showers.  I was beginning to wonder what anyone saw in this lake when I hooked my first fish.  It was not large by Pyramid Lake standards but would have been considered a trophy on most of the streams I regularly fish.   The next fish was on 15 minutes later and all of a sudden it seemed as though the water had gotten warmer and the weather was much improved.  As the day proceeded a number of our group, including Mike and John, were into these great fish.   Not easy fishing by any means but worth the work.  That evening Mike cooked a Tri-Tip on the Bar-B-Que and we shared another great meal (it has to be said that with all of the the red wine and tequila consumed the chance of a bad meal was minimal).   We awoke Sunday morning to heavy rain.   My trailer mates, Bob Schwehr and Tony Plutynski were up and out before 7.  With the prospect of snow at the summit I followed their example and vacated the premises shortly thereafter.  By the time I reached the summit there were several inches of slush and was glad for the early start.

John Files Lands a Big One
John Files Gripping and Grinning

All in all I highly recommend Pyramid Lake.  It is a unique experience and a good chance to catch some large trout.  You can stay at the lodge or in Reno and make the 30 minute drive to the lake.  While ladders are common they are not necessary, I won't go to the trouble of bringing one when I come back.

A Good Bend in Mikes's 11 Footer
A Good Bend in Mike's 11 Footer

Peninsula Fly Fishers 1976-2021
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software