Shrouded by beauty and mystery, Pyramid Lake, Nevada, is widely known as one of the world's most beautiful desert lakes. However, it's not just the beautiful scenery that draws people in from around the globe, but the fishing that has brought this desert gem world-wide fame! Pyramid Lake is the remnant of the prehistoric Lake Lahontan which covered most of Nevada 12,000 years ago and is home to the ancient Cui-ui fish and the world famous Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. In fact, both the length and weight world records were broken for cutthroat trout by two different fish in Pyramid lake. The first world record was broken at this lake when a 41 pound monster Cutthroat was pulled out back in 1925, and recently in 2015 another record was broken by Michael J. Sadar when he pulled out a 30.3" beast. The fishing here is so good that it has attracted celebrities, royalties, and even a U.S. President in hopes of pulling out a prized Lahontan Cutthroat!
Despite the natural beauty and amazing fishing, there is a dark side that haunts these waters. There are numerous accounts of fishermen who fish at Pyramid Lake and disappear to never be seen or heard from again. The Paiute Indians who have ruled this land for centuries have several legends to explain the phenomenon with two of them being prominent: The Water Babies of Pyramid Lake, and the Angry Mermaid.
It is told that there was a time in Paiute history when all deformed or sick babies were drowned in Pyramid Lake, allowing only the strongest to grow and contribute to the tribe in an attempt to keep the tribe strong. It's believed that the spirits of these deformed babies still haunt the waters today. Many fishermen still report hearing babies crying on the waters even to this day.
A second legend tells a story of a young Paiute man who fell in love with a beautiful mermaid in the lake. But after the tribe denies the union of the two lovers and tries to banish the mermaid, she instead decides to stay in the lake and take out her rage on men who trespass her lake. This does explain the disappearances of lost fishermen, but many believe the legend was created by the Paiute tribe to cover up the horrible murder of babies in their past. Or it could just be the weather...
1. USE THE WIND TO DETERMINE YOUR FISHING SPOT: Is this your first time to the lake and not sure where to start fishing? No worries, good ol' Mother Nature will tell you exactly where to go! The Lahontan Cutthroat feed on Chui Chub near the shorelines during storms so the best fishing conditions on this lake are with the wind in your face and rolling waves.
2. BRING A NICE PAIR OF POLARIZED SUNGLASSES: Make sure not to get too dark of lenses so you can use them to see the giant fish clearly in low-light conditions. You'll be glad you have them!
3. PREPARE YOUR VEHICLE: Weather here can be extreme so make sure that 1. You don't come alone, and 2. Bring basic emergency equipment including jumper cables, a spare tire, chains, and salt to gain traction if you get stuck. Also make sure you have an emergency pack with blankets, food, and a heat source just in case. Always better safe than sorry!
4. BRING LATEX GLOVES: It's very easy to damage the outer layer of protective slime around these monster Cutthroat trout and the best way to protect them is with LATEX gloves. They are also thin enough to feel a bite and you will be surprised at how much just the wind-breaker will help your hands in cold conditions.
5. BRING A TRAVEL ROD: You don't need a super long rod for this lake because the big fish will be coming close to the shoreline. This is the perfect lake to bring a 7'0" 3 pc. travel rod. In a remote location and possible weather conditions I like to carry my high quality rods inside the vehicle instead of in the bed of a truck or on top of the car.
6. USE BARB-LESS HOOKS: Rangers will ask so don't overlook this one.
7. USE SWIMBAITS: The Cutthroat will be chasing small bait fish so your best bait is going to be swimbaits. Use dark colors on overcast days and bright orange and chartreuse on bright clear days.
Have you fished here? Did you hear the cries of the Water Babies? What fishing tips would you leave your fellow fishermen? Share your comments below!