Pyramid Lake is located 40 miles north of Reno, Nevada and is known for holding large cutthroat trout. In addition to the trout, Pyramid Lake has a variety of fish species including the protected cui-ui. The lake sits on a Paiute Reservation and permits must be purchased for all recreational activities. The alkaline lake was once connected to the Pacific Ocean and is now surrounded by high desert mountains.
Lahontan Cutthroat Trout
The large Lahontan cutthroat trout have made Pyramid Lake famous among fisherman. These fish have the ability to grow large because of the unique alkaline environment and the abundant bait fish in the lake. Before the Truckee River was dammed, Lahontan cutthroats over 40 pounds migrated into the river system during the spring spawning season. The current cutthroat populations are reared in a hatchery before being released into the lake. There are numerous fish in the 16 to 22 inch range, and larger fish are common.
The cui-ui is a native sucker fish that is only found in Pyramid Lake. The protected fish once resided in several northern Nevada lakes but has only survived in Pyramid after years of regional drought. The cui-ui populations in Pyramid Lake declined steadily in the 20th century as water diversion from the Truckee River created a sand bar that blocked the fish from spawning grounds. The populations have been on the rise since the 1980s when high water allowed the fish to spawn. An individual cui-ui fish is capable of living up to 50 years.
The tui chub is the reason Pyramid Lake has such large cutthroat trout. The chubs are bait fish that travel in schools, followed by the trout. The chub is a fast-reproducing minnow, and mature adults can grow as large as 18 centimeters.
Pyramid Lake has several species of introduced fish including the Sacramento perch and carp. Both species can be targeted by fisherman but are often passed over for the thrill of catching trophy cutthroat trout.
Article Written By Zach Lazzari
Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Colorado-mountain-adventure.com. Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.