Pyramid Lake Fishing – 05/16/11

My friend Dan and I headed to Pyramid Lake for a morning of fishing.  After an extremely windy weekend, Monday morning was eerily calm and quiet.  Those familiar with Pyramid may not necessarily interpret this calmness as a good sign, but I was happy to be rid of the wind after the weekend’s tirade.

The weather was pretty fluid throughout the morning.  Temps never rose above 55 degrees and water temps hovered around 49 degrees, a bit on the cool side.  Winds came and went with 11am to 1pm having the strongest gusts.  It was partly cloudy most of the day.  For all respects, a perfect Pyramid day.

So how did we fare?  Once we found a beach that had cruising fish we did much better.  I wound up 0-3 on the morning whereas Dan was 1-3.  I don’t know if it was bad hook sets, late hook sets, or just overall bad luck, but I lost all three hookups without even seeing the fish.  Yes, I checked the hook on each release to make sure it was good and sharp.  Dan was able to land one very nice fish out of his grabs.  In all cases, the fish were grabbing the olive and red buggers that I had tied earlier in the week. Not a single fish took a swipe at either midge or the black and pink bugger.

We finished up with sore arms at about 1pm and sat at the car to eat some lunch.  We were both happy with the results and whereas it would have been nice to land one of my hooked fish, I can still revel in the satisfaction that my flies got grabs and were responsible for the sole landed fish.  We did roam around and do some additional reconnaissance, checking out South and North Nets, Separator and Pelican Point.  All these spots had considerably anglers as our beach, which had exactly two.  We did spend some time up on the rocks watching the picket line of anglers at Pelican and noticed that the hookup rate was about every 15 minutes while the land rate was about 1-in-4.  So I guess for the day we were about average.

When you check out the photos below, note a few things.  These were all taken with a phone camera which proved to be a huge hassle.  My phone is just not quick to take shots and keeping the fish still long enough to get the shot was tough.  But you can still get a feel for the size of Dan’s fish when you look at it as we try to net it and when he is about to release the fish.  Enjoy!


Tying a Black Whooly Bugger

A simple sequence of a black wholly bugger being tied for our Pyramid trip.  What is interesting is that I burned 4 or 5 marabou quills looking for a straight tail edge and all I could find in the whole packet of feathers were these low-grade ones with all the frilly edges.  Bummer.  I also did not realize that I was completely out of saddle hackle in the correct size so the hackle used is grossly oversized,  Don’t think the fish will mind as long as the bugger looks like it is swimming.

As previously mentioned, I am going to hit up the fly shop and invest into a much better quality set of feathers.  You get what you pay for!  Anyone need some poor quality feathers?  Don’t even know if they are worth the cost of shipping.

Pyramid Lake Prep

My friend Dan calls me and says he want to go fishing.  I am always game for a quick trip.  We start discussing the logistics of where to go and when, and he says that he really wants to hit up Pyramid Lake.  Well, that is great for me as Pyramid is basically in my backyard (about a 40 minute drive) but Dan has to bang out about 4 hours of driving each way.  So plans are confirmed and we both go into full prep mode.  Dan’s job is to pack his stuff, put together a basic cooler of goodies and get over here the night before.  My job is to hit the vice and fill some fly boxes.

After contacting a few fly shops and verifying which pattens are working at Pyramid, I get to work.  I figure that I need to oversupply us by at least a dozen flies, if not more.  My goal is to bang out 3 dozen flies just for this trip.  This is of course on top of the 6 or 7 full fly boxes that I already have packed in my to-go bag for trips of all manners.

First order of business is to replenish the bugger barn.  It has gotten a bit thin in the last few season and truth be told, buggers are something that I find difficult to tie.  I would rather tie up 5 dozen Trudes in #12, #14 and #16 or 5 dozen Copper John’s in various sizes and colors than a few dozen buggers in #8 and #10.  Go figure.

The first bugger is going to be a modified version of one of my favorite still water buggers, the Rickert’s Seal Bugger.  After looking at the commercial flies for Pyramid, I figure that I need to shorten the tail and make the hackle quite a bit longer than normal.  Most of the Pyramid buggers are well dressed.  So I set to work and find that I have almost a dozen tied up pretty quick.

Next is to hit up the midges.  Intel from the fly shop indicates that red and black (both basic midge colors) are the de facto standards, just in sizes #12 and #14 versus a more normal #16 or #18.  The guy at the shop mentioned that the snow cone version has been pretty hot, but lacking any white beads and not wanting to make a trip to the fly shop for $2 in beads, I use white UV dubbing instead.  a dozen red and a dozen black later I call that part of the project done.

Last is to tie up a dozen black buggers.  As I rifle through the feather bins it becomes apparent that I am short on quality black feathers.  I tied up one black bugger and took some pictures which I will show in another post.  It was painfully obvious that the quality of the feathers are no where near as nice as what I used for the green buggers.  Maybe I will get some white beads after all.  Since I have to hit up the shop to replenish my tungsten coneheads and black bugger feathers I now have an excuse to make a single trip and restock in bulk.  Hope that the fly shop has the good stuff!

New Season – New Toys!

Seems like every season requires replacement of some equipment from the various rods, reels and clothing that seems to invade my life during the fishing season.  This year the needed items were a new pair of wading boots, a new reel for my Sage XP 590-4 as well as some new lines for several spools and other items of technical clothing.

After reading reports on rubber soled boots from the likes of Tom Chandler at the Trout Underground, I decided that not only was I going to give the rubber soles a shot but I was going to stud the heck out the boots to gain every advantage I could.  Goodbye felt!  Gonna’ miss ya!  Hello Rubber!  Hoping you and I become fast friends!

I choose the Simms Rivershed boot with the new CleanStream rubber sole.   The decision came down to one of basic economics.  Not the economics of cash – that’s called accounting, but the economics of supply and demand.  It seems that the fly shops around me, save for the Cabela’s store and the Orvis shop, are all big on Simms brand waders and boots so that was the supply side of the equation.  The demand side came when they “demanded” my hard earned dollars at the till.  I have to thank my friend Victor Babbitt at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters for dialing me in on the boots.

Simms Rivershed Boot with Cleanstream sole
My...what knobby tread you have!

Victor explained how to best pattern the combo of Hardbite studs and Hardbite stars, even going so far as to draw a diagram.  Of course, I leave the written diagram at the shop.  So I just took a look at the bottom of the sole and asked myself “where the heck do these things go?”  Not having the answer and not referring to my trusty web browser, I got the screw shooter and made up my own pattern.  Only after mounting all the studs did I take a peek at the Simms website for the recommended pattern.  Noting some very different ideas on placement, I  have decided that claiming my pattern as either “brilliant” or “brilliantly haphazzard” can wait until after a few excursions.  Worst case scenario is that my pattern causes me to crash and burn and post-hospital stay I can redo the studs to Simms recommendations.  Here is a shot of my pattern (the left) and Simms recommended (the right) for your amusement.

Simms Rivershed stud patterns
On the left we have Brian's stud pattern of pain and on the right we have the RECOMMENDED pattern.

The reel was a much easier decision.  I had purchased my wife Erin a Lamsom Velocity the previous year and we both loved it.  At her request…ok…demand, I grabbed my own.  The funny thing is that this reel is replacing my second fly reel ever purchased, a Redington RS, that went the distance.  Only last season did it start to do funky things like come apart when you had 3 pound fish on the end of the line, so it was time to retire the reel.  I grabbed a Scientific Anglers Textured Series GPX WF line to go with it and should be in business.  The reel gets its first test on Monday.

Lamson Velocity
Ready for a hard life of sand, water and hard knocks on rocks?

I plan on reporting back on the performance of both products as the season progresses.

Now I am off to tie up some more flies for the upcoming trip.  Seems like I am always at the vice last minute trying to fill the boxes with patterns that are missing that should have been tied during the slack part of the season in the winter.  Oh well.