LTFF Step 3 Intermediate Fish-out - Pyramid Lake

  • 19 Apr 2019
  • 5:30 AM
  • 20 Apr 2019
  • 3:00 PM
  • Pyramid Lake, NV
  • 2


Registration is closed

This guided two-day LTFF Intermediate Fish-out to Pyramid Lake, Nevada, is intended initially for the 2019 Learn to Fly Fish Step 3 Intermediate students for fishing on the lake all-day Friday, April 19, and Saturday, April 20.  If this fish-out is not filled quickly, remaining spots will be offered to past LTFF graduates or other LTFF students and club members.

Location & Guide:  We will be fishing for big Lahontan Cutthroat Trout on this huge desert lake that sits on Indian tribal land, where we will be meet a new guide for the LTFF program, Doug Ouellette (well let').  Doug goes way back with knowing many members of our club in the old days, and he will undoubtedly have stories to tell us about that.  He is well known for his instructional abilities and not for cooking on the beach (there will be donuts provided for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch; if you need more than that bring it yourself).  

I will lead a caravan to the lake each day as described below. Be advised that you will be arriving at the lake when it is still dark so it is imperative that you stay with or meet up with the caravan to be led to the fishing spot. 

Since there will not likely be any pre-meeting for this fish-out, the following information is necessarily very detailed and lengthy.  Please be sure that you do read it all. Registrants should watch for emails from me as well.

Fish-out Leader:  John Murphy (mobile 650-799-1695) will be your fish-out leader from the GGACC this year.  Put my number in your phone now since you will need to check in with me upon your arrival in the Reno area the night before (if staying in the Nugget Hotel in Sparks, give me your room number in case someone has to pound on your door in the morning) for my latest instructions about exactly where and when to meet each morning after I confirm everything with the guide. 

Besides keeping track of all the students (check out with me before you leave the lake), I will also be responsible for getting those who are taking their vehicles from the hotel to the lake each day into a line-up in the lobby valet driveway by 5:30am each morning to caravan to the fishing spot on the lake.  You'll need to keep up on the 45 minute drive to the lake since their are numerous stopllights along the way.  I don't recommend people driving 2-wheel drive vehicles on the sandy lakefront since it is very easy to get stuck in soft spots (and only the tribe is allowed to pull you out -- for a hefty charge of course -- and the tribe DOES patrol their lake and enforce their rules with large fines).  So try to carpool with those who have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles if possible. 

General Info:  You will primarily be fishing from special platform stepladders set up in a row out in the lake to allow you to cast out over the drop-offs and to stay as much out of the water as possible. This fishing is great fun since it is very social and these fish are huge, some may go as much as 5-10 lbs or more! (The lake record is now over 26 lbs., with many over 20 lbs. being caught in recent years.)  The ladders are provided and placed ahead of time by the guide and/or his assistant. (There may be an opportunity to do some wade fishing off to the side of these ladders too, if you can find room to do so and want to get off the ladder for a needed break.)  

This fish-out will be limited to 8 people initially, with a minimum of 6 registrants required.  

For the best experience, it is recommended that you come prepared to BOTH indicator nymph fish and retrieve beetles and buggers, since one may be more productive than the other at any particular time.  However, don't not come because you don't have the necessary gear for one method or the other.  You'll still have a great time. 

Suggested gear -- besides bringing your wading boots, chest waders, warm socks and undergarments (that lake water is cold!), fleeces, rain jacket, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, buff, and hat (bring a ski cap, in addition to a billed or brimmed hat) -- is this:

Nymphing:  6-8 wt single handed fly rods, with floating lines. Large, buoyant indicators (such as Thing-a-ma-bobbers or the newer Air-Locks) and some heavy split shot if you are not using tungsten bead head flies. A 5wt rod is permissible, but you may not be able to land one of the lake's possible lunkers with it (i.e., over 10 lbs.), and even the smallest fish are usually more than 3 lbs. 

Retrieving Beetles and Buggers: 7-8 wt single handed fly rods with 250-350 gr. shooting heads of a fast or extra fast sink rate (Type 6 or T-14, to sink at least 6-7 ips). Two-handed switch rods that can be easily overhead-casted only (no Spey casts!) will do, but are not particularly popular with our guide (there is little room between the ladder spacing for maneuvering the long rods). A stripping basket may be handy if you have an intermediate running line rather than a floating running line.

Leaders:  Long 2X-3X tapered leaders for nymphing or just straight tippet in 10-15 lb. works fine too, especially for stripping/retrieving; 12 lb. fluorocarbon tippet may be best.  I will have this tippet if you don't. (More about suggested Fishing/ Techniques by email). 

Flies:  You will need to have your own flies.  Pick up Pyramid Lake flies from LCO or order from The Fly Shop in Redding.   Nymphing (which we’ll hopefully do little of) is usually done with large (up to size 12) chironomids (midge larva) in reddish patterns or with balanced leeches.  Retrieved flies (the favored fishing for this trip) are special wooly bugger patterns and foam beetle patterns fished on a 2-fly rig that the guide  will demonstrate. (Some guides prefer that the top fly to be on a short dropper -- not inline-- which can tied from a dropper loop in your leader or simply off a long tag end from a dbl. surgeon's knot.)

 Lodging:  You will need to book your own hotel reservations each night for, at a minimum for Thursday and Friday nights.  If you possibly can, you should stay at the Nugget Casino & Resort in Sparks, NV (call Corporate Sales Mgr. Jarre' Payne at 775-356-3455 and mention to her that you are using the Pyramid Lake Guide Service to get a special corporate room rate, or look for a deal on Book as quickly as you can now to have a better chance of getting into this hotel since each morning's caravan will leave from this hotel's valet parking area in front of the main lobby.  You will have a very long day of fishing on Friday and likely a shorter day on Saturday to let people get on the road home earlier if they don't choose to stay in the hotel on Saturday night as well. 

Each Morning:  You may have difficulty buying any coffee in the hotel before 5 am., so you might need to allow yourself time to make your own. (Check to see when the Starbuck's stand in the lobby opens in the morning.)  As previously noted, you will be car-pooling and caravanning from the hotel to the lake each morning, a trip which takes about 45 minutes. This is a huge lake so you cannot drive there on your own and expect to know where to find the guide.  Since the guide usually wants us on the ladders by the first hint of daylight when the bite is often the best (it's legal to begin fishing one hour before sunrise), everyone shall be down in the hotel front lobby for a headcount and be ready to go BEFORE 5:30AM and then get their vehicles lined up in the valet parking area ready to follow me out at 5:30am. If you are not ready then, or don't drive fast enough to keep up with me, you are likely to get lost and no one will be out looking for you. Also, pay close attention as you make this drive out to the lake in the morning since I may NOT be leading you back to the hotel at the end of the day.  

Meals at the lake:  Donuts and a sandwich will be provided by the guide each day on the lake, as well as an assortment of beverages (no alcohol allowed! Tribal rules.).

Fish-out Expenses:  Besides your transportation, your expenses for the trip will include the $275 fish-out registration fee (for your 2 days’ of guide costs and fish-out expenses), a two-day "daily" tribal fishing permit (fee is about $11 per day; more info to follow in email), purchase of flies as needed, all dinners or other food bought at the hotel or in town, the cost of your hotel room, and guide gratuities.  A Nevada fishing license is NOT required for fishing on this lake.

LTFF Pyramid Lake Fish-out etiquette rules:  There will be no reserving of ladders during a meal break or any other breaks taken (DO NOT leave your rod on the ladder unattended unless you really want to lose your rod) and nobody gets to use the same ladder for more than a half day in any case. The fish-out leader shall have the perogative to rotate anglers if some ladders prove hotter than others since we want everyone in our group to catch fish. 

Remember that fish must cruise in a lake looking for food, and they won't necessarily be cruising past each ladder within casting distance, so I want everyone to be understanding and willing to take turns fishing from different ladders.  Part of your fly fishing education is learning to be generous and considerate to your fellow anglers, and treating them as you would like to be treated. 

Good suggestion:  Rinse off your fishing gear thoroughly at the end of each day (maybe take it into the shower with you) since this lake is very alkaline, and not a lot different than saltwater.  Rinse your waders and boots thoroughly as soon as you get home for the same reason (and the fact that you always clean and dry them well before putting them away). 

Sign up for this opportunity now!  EVERYONE has to try this at least once -- but beware, you might get hooked on this, since these might be the biggest trout you'll ever catch. Fishing Pyramid Lake is truly a unique experience, unlike anything you'll do anywhere else and those big fish are really FUN! 

Contact for further info:

John Murphy (  cell 650-799-1695

Questions? Please direct your inquiries to the appropriate mail box:

General Information:

Rondy Program:

Our Mailing Address:  Golden Gate Angling and Casting Club  ·  P.O. Box 591476  ·  San Francisco, CA 94159

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