So Much More Than a Fish

So Much More Than a Fish - Clairey Grubbs

This fish is so much more than a fish. If you’re not into fish tales and just want the simple deets…My PB fish: 20.3 lbs Lahontan Cutthroat Trout caught stripping 2 chartreuse beetles. However, if you like a good story…

To be truthful, I’ve never had any desire to fish pyramid Lake.

From stories I’ve heard it was cold, windy, and a bit too much of a party scene for this recovering addict/alcoholic. Plus I have a fear of ladders, high anxiety, and this ADHD kid doesn’t do well standing still. I banned myself from group trips 2 years ago too. Experience has taught me that I don’t thrive in that environment, for a multitude of reasons. 

The United Women on the Fly admin retreat was to be held at Pyramid and the founder/my good friend, Heather Hodson promised me this trip would be different. I trusted her. She’s seen me in my lows and my highs. She’s been a teacher, a leader, a mentor, and a teammate but above all my friend. 

I prepped myself in every way prior to arriving. I practiced letting go of expectations. I had zero plans of catching one of these fish.

You may be asking what all this has to do with the fish but as I mentioned above, this is more than a fish to me. It’s a combination of experiences, trials, tribulations, heart break, personal growth, practice, lost friendships, gained friendships, persistence, never giving up, frustrations, failures, lessons learned, lost fish, and the ever persistent drive within to be better not only as an angler but more importantly as a human.

Clairey Grubbs

Last Wednesday morning the UWOTF Admin Team met up with the crew Pyramid Fly Company and began our day of fishing. We had a glorious sunrise. I was far too jacked up to stare at a bobber so I switched to a streamer rig. Moments later I landed a decent sized cutty and was super stoked! 

First Fish of the Morning - PC - Heather Hodson

Back on the ladder I went. I love to double haul y’all. Strip, strip, STRIP SET (I may have had tarpon on the brain so I really got a solid hook set in)…ZOOM! Off he went. Holy hell, this was a big fish. Chris Nicola was instantly by my side with his arm reaching out and told me to jump off the ladder. I was frozen. He then gave me the dad tone and repeated, ”Jump. Off. The. Ladder” so I did! Hahaha! He then told me to walk with him while I kept fighting the fish. But really I wasn’t doing much fighting as that fish was taking me to my backing of 800x. Truth be told, I wasn’t doing much walking either cause Chris was dragging my short self through the lake by my wader straps! (He was taking me past all the gals and ladders to an empty section of beach) 

Walking Down the Beach - PC - Heather Hodson

I was almost to the fly line multiple times and then back into the backing I went. At one point I remembered announcing that I didn’t think I wanted to catch a migratory tarpon anymore. My forearm was toast. Finally, he was almost in…I was praying he didn’t run again. As I watched Chris go for the net job and saw that tail flip in the air a wave of emotions came over me. 

The screaming, the knuckles, the high fives, the hugs, the sudden case of Tourette’s while jumping up and down, the deep breaths to regain composure, the support from new and old friends, the camaraderie, the shared joy, the tears, oh wait….NONE OF THIS is about the fish. 

Because you know what? 

So Much More Than a Fish - Clairey Grubbs
Chris Nicola for the Epic Net Job - PC - J. Michelle Swope
This fish was so much more than a fish!
So Much More Than a Fish - Clairey Grubbs
Match the Spots - PC - Heather Hodson

I was wrong, Pyramid is my jam but it’s not just because of the epic fish that reside in this magical lake. It’s about connecting with the area, it’s about forming friendships, it’s about having like minded supportive women on your side, it’s about having a kick ass guide and a solid net man. It’s about having a long time friend who believes in you when you didn’t believe in yourself. It’s about being willing to do the work and realizing when you’re wrong. It’s about being willing to grow. It’s about supporting others and being a part of a community. It’s about teamwork. And yeah, the fish is pretty badass too! 

MOther of god, i love fly fishing!
So Much More Than a Fish - Clairey Grubbs
UWOTF Admin Team - PC - Morgan Kane

Thank you Heather Hodson founder of United Women on the Fly and all the UWOTF girls, Chris Nicola and Morgan Kane with Pyramid Fly Company and the rest of the crew, and to my loving husband Cody Grubbs who took on multiple rolls so I could go on this trip!

It's So Much More Than the Fish - PC - Heather Hodson

Thank you Heather, Morgan, J.Michelle, and Bridget for the photos. I’ll forever cherish them.  Last but not least, the next day, I was gifted a Pyramid Lake Lodge “20 pound fishing club”  pin from @wildriverguidesllc aka Beard Chris. I’ll treasure it until the day I die.

Go fish pyramid y’all
20lb Pyramid Lake Trout
20lb Pyramid Lake Fishing Club - PC - Bridget Mayfield
📍 Kooyooe Pa’a Panunadu – also know as Pyramid Lake. 

The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribes’ Reservation is located thirty five miles northeast of Reno, Nevada in a remote desert area located in the counties of Washoe, Lyon, and Storey. The area of the reservation contains 475,000 acres or 742.2 square miles. Out of this acreage approximately 112,000 acres cover the surface of a terminal desert lake, Pyramid Lake. Pyramid Lake is approximately 27 miles long and 11 miles wide at its largest width. Pyramid Lake measures 350 feet at its deepest point, with a surface elevation of 3,397 feet above sea level (as of 2015). The perimeter of Pyramid Lake extends over 71 miles overall. Pyramid Lake is one of the most valuable assets of the Tribe and is entirely enclosed within the boundaries of the Reservation.

Read More and Support the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe at

Learn more about Land Acknowledgement at

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