Pyramid Lake weathers the storm |

Pyramid Lake weathers the storm

The stormy weather this past weekend kept most of my fishing sources indoors.

On Monday, after the storm had moved on, Pyramid Lake northeast of Reno was surprisingly calm.

I checked in with George Molino, who guides the lake and manages the Pyramid Lake Store. He guided five anglers on his boat Monday. They fished numerous areas on the west shore of the lake, concentrating on water depths of 25 to 50 feet. They had a good day with their first fish onboard within 15 minutes.

George’s typical spread includes Apex lures in Frog, Red Frog, Water Mellon and Rainbow. He fishes with down riggers set from a few feet below the surface to just over the bottom. If a pattern develops he will concentrate on the successful depth and lure color.

On Monday, there was no particular pattern evident as they landed 21 fish over the course of the day. The largest fish was the first of the day, measuring 26 inches and weighing in at 6.5 pounds. Six other fish measured between 22 and 25 inches. Throughout the day fish were taken at all depths on all lures.

Molino commented that Pyramid Lake has fished well every other day. He has been alternating good days with solid action and slow days where he struggles to get into fish. The water surface temperature is 41 degrees. The annual low water temp occurs in January, when it dips into the high 30s. It is on the upswing. Once the water gets up into the mid-40s, the fishing gets better.

The Presidents Day fishing derby headquartered at Crosby Lodge was won with a 12.75-pound cutthroat caught by Lisa Stevens while trolling. The second-place fish was 11.25 pounds caught on a fly by Tim Zahnister. The derby paid down to 20th place, which was an 8.1-pound cutthroat. This year’s results are consistent with last year’s as to winning size and the weight of the 20th-place fish.

As we get into March, expect Pyramid fishing to pick up with warming water.

The Smith River near the Oregon border had only traces of rain with the river levels remaining in the low range.

A week ago the “Willie Derby” was held on both the Smith River in California and the Chetco River just across the Oregon border. The results were disappointing to say the least. Each participant fishes one day on each river. This year only three fish were landed on the Smith and 19 on the Chetco for the 30 boats floating 60 anglers each day.

This lends anecdotal evidence that the unprecedented steelhead run on the Trinity River this winter is composed of fish from the Smith and other rivers.

In past years a typical Trinity River fish was 3 to 7 pounds. This year there have been many fish landed that weigh in at more than 10 pounds, with the largest few close to 20 pounds. There are many fish featuring side fin clips that are typical of Oregon hatcheries.

Why all of these fish from scattered home waters converged on the Trinity is a mystery. As of last week, more fish kept on coming.

At the hatchery in Lewiston, the personnel were in the process of moving the fish from the canal into the hatchery. As the fished were moved into the spawning area, hundreds more fish moved into the canal to take their place. There seems to be no end in sight of the Trinity steelhead run.

Last weekend’s storm brought more rain to the Trinity than the Smith River. As of Monday, the Upper Trinity had a lot of color from the runoff.

Denis Peirce writes a weekly fishing column for The Union, the Sun’s sister paper in Grass Valley. He may be reached at

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