This instructional two-day LTFF Intermediate Fish-out to Pyramid Lake, Nevada, is offered initially to only the current 2020 Learn to Fly Fish Intermediate students for both class instruction and fishing on the lake Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, 2020. If this fish-out is not filled, past LTFF graduates or other LTFF students and club members may then be invited to sign up.
Location & Instructor: 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 our instructor / guide for this LTFF fish-out, Doug Ouellette (well let'). Doug goes way back with our club, having known many members of the GGACC in the old days, and he will undoubtedly have a few stories to tell us about that. He is well known for his teaching abilities in particular and not for cooking on the beach (there will only be donuts provided for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch; but if you need more than that bring it yourself or buy it in the general store at the lake).
We will caravan to the lake from the Nugget Casino/Resort in Sparks 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 join the caravan before it leaves at 5:30am and stay up with it to be led to the morning's meeting spot.
Since there will not likely be any pre-meeting for this fish-out, the following information is necessarily detailed and lengthy. Please be sure that you read it all. Registrants should watch for any emails or texts about this fish-out as well.
Fish-out Leader: John Murphy (mobile 650-799-1695) expects to be your fish-out leader from the GGACC again this year. If you don't have it already, put my mobile number in your phone now, since you will need to check in with me upon your arrival in the Reno area the night before (and, 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). I may have a few last minute instructions or change of plans for you that first morning after I talk to our guide the night before. It is most likely that you won't be able to reach me until you're up in the Reno area.
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 before 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 out onto 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 absolutely DOES patrol their lake and enforce their rules with large fines). So try to carpool with those who may have 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicles if possible.
General Info: You may be fishing from special stepladders set up in a row out in the lake to assist you in casting out over the drop-offs if needed. These ladders can also help you stay as much out of the cold water as possible. Fishing in this line-up is great fun, though, since it is very social and (I kid you not) those fish are huge! You might catch one that goes 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, if used, will be provided and may be placed ahead of time by the guide and/or his assistant. (In any case, there is generally opportunity to do some wade fishing off to the side of these ladders too, wherever you can find room to do so and whenever you need to take a break from standing on a ladder.) You will be tying on your own flies and helping one another to net your fish -- this is not the usual guided trip where the guide does all this for you! He will be instructing you how to do everything for yourself.
This fish-out will be limited to 10 students initially, with a minimum of 6 registrants required. Sign the waitlist if it's filled before you register since I might be able to add a couple more.
For the best experience, it is recommended that you come prepared to BOTH indicator nymph fish and retrieve beetles and buggers, since one method may be more productive than the other at any particular time. However, don't you 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 includes bringing your wading boots, chest waders, warm socks and undergarments (that lake water can be cold!), fleeces, rain jacket, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, buff, and hat (bring a ski cap or other hat to cover your ears if needed, in addition to a billed or brimmed hat). A wading staff is generally not needed, but if you have one in your vehicle that can't hurt. Fishing gear includes the following:
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 possibly T-11 to T-14, to sink at least 6-7 ips). Two-handed switch rods with Rio Chucker or similar Skagit heads and sink tips that can be easily overhead-casted ONLY will do, but no Spey casting will be allowed (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 should bring some of your own flies. The guide will tie up a few of his flies for you, but if you lose too many, you might come up short. You can pick up Pyramid Lake flies from LCO or order from The Fly Shop in Redding. Check Doug's Calvada Fly Fishing website here to see some of the more successful fly patterns.
Nymphing (which we may need to do) is usually done with very large (up to size 12) chironomids (midge larva) in red & black patterns, or with small "balanced leeches".
Retrieved flies (the favored fishing method for this trip) include special wooly bugger-like patterns such Midnight Cowboys, or seal buggers and crystal buggers, but also foam beetle patterns (such as the Popcorn Beetle) that are generally fished on a 2-fly rig that the guide will show you how to tie up in the class session. (Some guides prefer that the top fly be tied on a short dropper -- i.e, not tied inline with the bottom fly. This dropper top fly can be tied off of a dropper loop in your leader or more simply just on a long tag end from a double surgeon's knot.)
Lodging: You will need to book your own hotel reservations each night for, at a minimum, those Thursday and Friday nights. If you possibly can, try to 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 Hotel.com). 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 lobby registration desk. We'll likely have a very long day of instruction and fishing on Friday, and likely a shorter day of fishing only on Saturday to let people get on the road earlier to drive home that night. You may choose to stay in the hotel on Saturday night as well (which I generally do to get a good night's sleep before tackling that long drive over the mountains after getting up that early each morning).
Each Morning: As previously noted, you will be car-pooling and caravanning from the hotel out to the lake each morning, a trip which takes about 45 minutes. This is a huge lake so I don't suggest that you drive there on your own the first time and expect to know where to find the guide. Since the guide usually wants us on the lake before the first hint of light to claim enough spots on the beach, 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 by 5:30am sharp! 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: We'll make a quick stop for donuts and coffee on the way out to the lake for your breakfast if you don't bring something else to eat in your room or at the lake. Food to make your own sandwiches 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 suggestions: 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 for the reason that you should 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 lake, 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 to catch!
Contact for further info:
John Murphy (firstname.lastname@example.org) cell 650-799-1695