Casting against Mother Nature
Bob Seger’s song, “Against the Wind,” played over and over in my head this past weekend during the morning session of fishing on Nevada’s Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake lies entirely on the Paiute Indian Reservation northeast of the Reno/Sparks area.
As you know, this large lake is know for both its legendary Lahontan Cutthroat Trout and the winds that can cause havoc for sportsmen. While at least a couple of us had been in much windier conditions, it was a very interesting trip.
We were out there on an outing with a group of fishermen and one woman from the North Lake Tahoe Kiwanis in Tahoe City. A group of nine headed out to the lake after a quick breakfast stop in Reno. The weather was cold, but appeared as though it was going to be a very nice day.
We stopped at the Pyramid Lake Store for our tribal fishing permits. This done, we then headed to our first fishing spot. Upon arriving there we were greeted with a flat lake. Within the next 10 minutes, while we were beginning to set up our gear, we noticed a slight breeze. The slight breeze became a moderate wind and then a pretty significant one that was blowing directly into us.
More than half the members were either beginners or totally new to the sport. Those of you familiar with fly fishing know that wind is probably one of the most difficult things to accommodate. An experienced fly fisher can usually cope with the wind, but to a neophyte it is really tough.
Those learning to cast struggled with their lighter sink-tip lines during the morning as well as with the waves hitting them while they stood on the traditional Pyramid Lake ladder set-ups. Fish were caught during the first couple hours in the morning, and two of the anglers even caught their first Pyramid fish! Several of us were also knocked off of our ladders by the waves.
After a consultation amongst the veteran anglers in the group, we decided that we would break for lunch and move to another location that would be a little more favorable to those who were beginners. Unfortunately, a couple of our anglers had to duck out due to either work or family commitments.
After the move and lunch, we began fishing in our new location that had considerably less wind. The wind was even coming from a more favorable direction for right-handed casters, quartering slightly left to right. The lefty in our party even did not mind. I heard him exclaim on his first cast, “That’s twice the distance I got this morning!”
Unfortunately, the location was a bust. After nearly an hour, the only things that were pulling back were the bottom or the occasional weed. Discouraged, but not beaten, we moved once again.
The new spot did not improve our fishing much. A few more fish were caught, but at the end of the day the fish had definitely gotten the upper hand. Nonetheless it was a great day.
After changing out of our waders, we were entertained by Jason Wolther, Kiwanis vice president, and his girlfriend Rachel. The two of them can be heard at the Cal Neva Circle Bar Lounge this coming Saturday and elsewhere around the lake in the coming month. If you get the chance to hear them perform, you will not be disappointed.
The entertainment at the lake was a first for me. It was a great day of fishing with good company and great entertainment! Even the club president, Jim Donnell, made an appearance, doing a flyby in his plane while we were lined up in the lake in the morning.
Thanks for a great time! You were a terrific group of fly fishers and an even greater group of friends.
Bruce Ajari is a Truckee resident and regular fishing columnist for the Sierra Sun and other area newspapers.