Cutts and Ladders – Pyramid Lake 2019

I’ve been going to Pyramid Lake for the past 4 years and knew it was a perfect location to host a United Women on the Fly (UWOTF) FishBum Women’s Weekend.  What other place can you have a large number of women fishing next to each other?  This is a photo essay of the 2019 UWOTF Pyramid Lake Women’s Weekend. We had over 20 women in total from 5 states join in on the fun of ladder dancing, bobber staring, streamer stripping, hooking and landing beautiful Lahontan Cutthroat Trout.

The fishing was slow at times and some women were more lucky than others.  United Women on the Fly can’t guarantee the fishing but we can make sure that the fun factor is at the ultimate level.

FishBum Budget trips are low-key, lots of fishing, connecting and no drama is aloud.  There’s no fancy lodging, the food is simple, the linens are clean, you’ll rise early and fish late, you have to go  with the flow and teamwork is a must.  We’re always loud with laughter, constantly dancing and you’ll hear our cheers of support miles away!

We teamed up with Pyramid Fly Company and several local Nevada/Northern California  women over the weekend.  The angling community is so supportive and truly incredible!!!  The local ladies were generous and truly amazing!  They set-up two potlucks, meet and greets and we all got to fish together on Sunday.

We’ll be hosting another Pyramid Lake Women’s Weekend in 2020.  Dates and more information to come later this year.  Please email info@unitedwomenonthefly.com if you have any questions.  Enjoy all the photos!!  Heather Hodson =)

These trips are so much more than a fishing adventure.  Women of different ages, professions, backgrounds and fishing abilities come together to experience a trip of a lifetime.  It’s a scary thing to step out of their comfort zone and join 13 other women.  The energy, laughter, smiles and friendships are like no other.  We came as strangers and leave UNITED as fly sisters.

PC – Penny Mabie

PC – Bridget Mayfield

PC – Bridget Mayfield

PC – Lindy Orozco

Pyramid Lake is located 35 miles north of Reno on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Indian Reservation. Pyramid is a “high desert” lake (elevation 3,800 feet) fed by the waters of the Truckee River and has no outlet. The water in Pyramid Lake is about 1/6 as salty as sea water. The lake is flanked on the east and west by rugged mountain ranges, and around the lake shore there are many large “tufa” rock formations (formed by calcium carbonate deposits). If the fishing is bad, the scenery is always in credible!!

PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Penny Mabie
PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Bridget Mayfield

Bridget Mayfield and Heather Hodson ran up and down the beaches to capture every moment of the trip.

PC – Lindy Orozco
PC – Bridget Mayfield

“Pilot Peak” Lahontan Cutthroat Trout:

The largest in it’s class, the Pilot Peak strain of cutthroat is the biggest that exist in the world today.  Most of these Pilot Peak fish have had their adipose fins clipped at the hatchery, therefore it is very easy to distinguish them amongst the regular Pyramid (Summit) strain of cutthroat. Their colors can range from a variety of hues and patterns. Some fish are very colorful with reds and olives hues while other fish can be bright chrome just like an anadromous fish. Bottom line, when a big pilot peak takes your fly, you sure better be prepared to see your backing and hold on!

“Pyramid Strain” or “Summit” Lahontan Cutthroat Trout:

As all cutthroat in the lake are born hatchery raised, these Pyramid Strain fish are produced by the tribe as the “Pilot’s” are produced by USFWS. These fish seem to show up in numbers while fishing and they can be, on average, a little smaller than the “Pilot’s.” By no means does that mean they don’t come big shapes and sizes. The Pyramid Strain fish will always have an adipose fin.

PC – Courtney Despos

Ancient Cui-ui:

Cui-ui are large sucker fish that are native to Pyramid Lake and once lived in numbers in the lake until the construction of Derby Dam in the early 1900’s. These fish are naturally freshwater spawners but they can no longer pass through to spawn in the river. The construction of the dam lead to less water moving in to Pyramid Lake and eventually the water became to high in alkaline for the Cui-ui eggs. They have a long cylinder-like body with a flat head and they can weigh in at over 5lbs. This is an endangered fish, so please use precaution and handle carefully when caught.

PC – Pyramid Fly Company

You’ll only see United Women on the Fly post photos of fish in the water, slightly above the water or dripping.  We are a  community that believes in Proper Fish Handling and will do everything we can to ensure the fish are given the greatest chance to survive.  Despite the cold temperatures UWOTF encouraged all anglers to take off their gloves before touching the fish. Wet bare hands are best!  Check out AquaTech for their AxisGo Cell Phone Underwater Case.

PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Bridget Mayfield

LOGISTICS – Pyramid Lake is about 45 minutes east of Reno Nevada.  You can fly into Reno Nevada and rent a car or you can drive direct to the lake.  UWOTF does our best to help accommodate those flying in with other women to catch a ride and share rental car expenses.  Many drove 4 – 13.5hrs to the lake.

PC – Penny Mabie

DAILY SCHEDULE – Be prepared to wake up early and fish hard on a United Women on the Fly trip.  Because we had such a large group of women we needed to hold a spot on the beach for the day.  We were up and leaving at 5:30am on the first morning.  Pyramid Fly Co was absolutely incredible and we stayed out fishing until 6:30pm.  The next day was more relaxed. We met at 10am and fished until 6pm.  Friday we were on our own and a few of the ladies were rewarded for getting up early in the morning.

PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Sara Camiscioni
PC – Sara Camiscioni

14 of us stayed at Crosby’s Lodge in Sutcliffe Nevada.  The lodge offers cabins, travel trailers, double wide trailers, overnight RV camping with full hookups and electricity.  We rented two trailers with 2 bedroom/2 bathroom in each trailer.  Each women had their own twin bed.  The rooms were clean, beds and linens were comfortable and everyone had hot water.  Definitely better than one would expect on a FISH BUM budget.

PC – Patti Bantam

Bloody Mary’s, craft beer, truly and whiskey are a few beverages of choice at most United Women on the Fly Events.  We planned a healthy meals taking in to account everyone’s dietary restrictions and allergies throughout the weekend.  Pyramid Fly Company provided breakfast on Friday morning and delicious gourmet lunches on Friday and Saturday smoked on a Traeger grill.  Everyone pitched in with cooking, cleaning and preparing.  These events are all about teamwork and working together to save money and have the most amount of fun.  We also encouraged everyone to bring a reusable water bottle and coffee tumbler to #kickplastic.

We booked two days with the incredible Pyramid Fly Company.  Casey Anderson, Chris Nicola and Morgan Kane were very attentive and a pleasure to fish with.  Heather Hodson also ran around and helped get the ladies, rigged up, net fish and of course take photos! The last day we were ventured out with the local Nevada lady anglers and had a very successful day.

We used a combination of floating and sink tip lines.  Some used indictors and others used different retrieving techniques without an indicator.  Flies – Chironomid’s, Balanced Leaches, Booby Flies and Popcorn Beetles.  7-8 weight single hand and switch rods with matching lines.  The Tui chub minnow is the most abundant fish in Pyramid Lake, and it is the primary prey of the voracious Lahontan cutthroat trout.  Wooly Buggers and other streamers also work well.

PC – Bridget Mayfield

PC – Bridget Mayfield

What’s up with the ladders? Ladders are used for a couple reasons at Pyramid Lake.  The most important reason – the water is cold!  The ladders get an angler out of the water.  When stripping streamers, the more real estate (further you can cast) the better.  Getting out of the water makes it easier to increase your casting stroke.  There are also times where the lake drop off is a distance from the beach.  You can place your ladder at the drop off and fish for the large cruisers swimming by.

PC – Lindy Orozco

This is one trip that it helps if you’re a good caster.  Conditions can be very windy.  Knowing how to increase your line speed to punch through the wind is imperative.  Remember never practice casting when you’re fishing.  Practice casting before you come!!

PC – Bridget Mayfield

It’s a requirement to have fun on all United Women on the Fly events.  There’s no time for drama or being self absorbed.  It’s all about teamwork, encouragement and community!!

PC – Lindy Orozco

PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Bridget Mayfield
PC – Bridget Mayfield

PC – Penny Mabie

Join us on one of  our many adventures!!  Email info@unitedwomenonthefly.com with any questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *