A windy day on Pyramid Lake

The decision on where to head for a bit of birthday fishing came down to finding a spot on the Truckee that was not pumping, heading south to the Rosaschi or trying out something new like Pyramid Lake.  I have been hearing good things about the fishing this season so Pyramid Lake wins the draw.

I headed to one of the local fly shops to gather some intel.  The takeaway from the shop was a part of my conversation with one of the employees.  I went like this –

shop: “What rod are you planning on taking to Pyramid?”
me: “My 5-wt”
shop: “um…what brand is your rod?”
me: “It’s a Sage XP.  Why?”
shop: “Well, there is a good chance that you will break your 5-wt on the fish at Pyramid.  Sage has a lifetime warranty so you should be fine.  Do you own a heavier rod?”

I did pack my 8-wt based on this conversation and it turns out this was a very good move.

A short drive out this morning from my house, a quick stop at the tribal general store to purchase my daily permit and I was at the Lake and ready to…get blown all over the place.  The winds were very brisk to say the least and were gusting up to the mid-thirties.  That definitely did not stop the crowds from descending upon the Nets.

The South Nets at Pyramid Lake, NV
This is only a small swatch of the Nets.

I snapped a full panorama of shots at the South Nets beach.  What you see here is but one small section.  Notice the “sticks” lined up in the water?  Well those are the anglers.  What you do not see in this shot is the fact that the line up continues for a quite a few more yards and that most of the cars were actually a bit higher up off the beach.  This is the infamous “ladder” fishing of Pyramid Lake.

Despite the crazy winds and the intermittent rain squalls, I witnessed some of the anglers hooking up on fish.  A good sign!  So now it is time for me to hit the water and get serious.

I started driving along the shoreline.  I had a tip from the fly shop employee, the same one that told me I needed to bring a bigger rod, so I headed in the direction he indicated.  I must admit that he did not steer me wrong.  When I arrived at the mentioned beach, it was vacant.  Now if only that wind would go away.

Windy Day at Pyramid Lake
Just a wee bit windy today!

The pre-fish drill, you know, the one that starts with stringing up the rod and ends with tying on the starting fly, a wooly bugger in this case, does nothing to excite me about tossing a big #8 Dennis Estrada bugger that I had in my bugger barn.  It is wind like this that cause big flies to impale their casters.  A short walk to the waters edge and I am stripping line and trying in vain to cast in the wind.  Pretty futile efforts, despite the big rod.

After about 20 or so drifts, I decide that I am not made of whatever those other anglers sitting on ladders in water with 12-14″ white caps are made of and I call it quits.

My takeaway today is that Pyramid is a beautiful high desert lake and the Cutts in the Lake are big and healthy.  I will be heading back in the next few weeks, just on a day when the weather reports shows the winds to be negligible.

Rain Squalls as seen at Pelican Beach
Rain...rain...go away.

New CalTrout site by the Trout Underground

Cal Trout

Cal TroutTom Chandler of the Trout Underground has helped implement a brand-spanking new website for CalTrout. I surfed over the the site and did not even recognize that I had landed on the page affiliated with my bookmark.  GREAT job Tom and Team Underground!

On the Northern Sierra Region page there is a great shot of Mikey Wier holding a massive fish.  Funny thing because I was just thinking about hitting up his website to see if his Soulfish 2 video is up for sale yet.  I seem to have the same addiction to Mikey’s videos as to the winter sports videos that I grew up watching.  Wonder why that is?

You can read Tom’s blog post about the new CalTrout site here or go see the new CalTrout site for yourself.

Truckee River Reconn Mission

A roiling hole on the Truckee at Crystal Peak
A roiling hole on the Truckee at Crystal Peak
Prime spring-time fishing!

I went on a reconn mission to checkout some of my favorite access points on the Truckee in Reno.  While the river was a bit higher than normal, the water was still green and was not showing any of the usual discoloration that can be associated with run off.  Looks like good fishing conditions…Time to grab my rod and hit the water!

Favorite Flies coming to you from your local vice

Now that I am at the halfway point on my “to tie” list, I decided that the next set of flies would be my favorites to fish and tie.  For me, that fly is the Copper John.  This fly is responsible for a major portion of fish I have hooked and landed.  I fish it in several colors and sizes, so this one pattern will be next 72 flies that I tie.  Since I am pretty quick at this fly, this should be about 8 or 9 hours of tying.

A finished Christmas-y Copper John (Tri-color)
A fine specimen of the tri-color version
Copper John step 1 - adding the weight
Got a bead and weight added
tying a Copper John at the halfway point
Got the biots on and the wire all wrapped to jsut past mid-shank
Copper John in the home stretch
Added the thin skin and getting ready to tie in the peacock

For the sharp eyed, you noticed that the finished fly is not the the same as the fly in progress.  Very observant of you.  I was taking a progression of shots of this fly as I was tying and for some reason the finished BLACK version turned out all blurry.  Had to use one from the previous batch of shots.  Oh well.  For the record, the tri-color version is my searching pattern and it has done a fair job of fooling trout.  I still prefer and use the green or red versions first, backing those up with black or the original Copper that gave the pattern its name.

I owe John Barr a big thanks for a great pattern that is easy to tie and extremely effective.

Fly Tying – A Chore or a Joy?

Today marks a milestone in my annual pre-seaon fly tying binge.  I have just reached the halfway mark on my list of flies to tie.  But let’s back up a bit and explain how I even got to the point of having a list.

I have been tying flies for about 5 years now.  The fact that I tie is not unique as most of my fly fishing friends tie as well.  It just seems to be a fact of life for the dedicated (read obsessed) fly fisher.  For most though, they talk about tying as if it is a chore or a job.  Maybe I started with that opinion, but can now freely admit that I find it relaxing, satisfying and a joy.   Besides, it is one thing to catch a fish on a fly and quite another to catch a fish on a fly that YOU tied.  Very organic!

As the seasons have progressed, so have my skills and the number of patterns I can tie.  What started off as a quest to tie my staple flies has morphed into a quest to tie the majority of flies that I rely on during the season.  But as I have progressed from 5 or 6 patterns, to dozens of patterns with multiples of variations, the confusion of knowing what I needed to tie and how many started to mount.

Continue reading “Fly Tying – A Chore or a Joy?”