Big cutthroat and plenty of them are being caught during this opening week of Pyramid Lake’s trout season and a cutthroat trout enhancement program instituted by the Nevada Department of Wildlife may be the reason.
On Monday’s opener, creel surveys show 100 anglers caught 956 fish. More than 90% of the cutthroat caught by boaters were larger than 18 inches. Boaters averaged 10.6 fish each and shore anglers enjoyed a 4.5 trout per angler rate.
Big fish on Monday was a 16 pounder. Since then cutthroat weighing 15, 14 and a number of 10s have been caught.
“Everyone seems to be catching them,” said Diana Miller at Crosby’s Lodge. “Everyone is excited. People are saying it’s the best they’ve seen in a long time.”
Pyramid Lake fisheries biologist Nancy Vucinich said the great fishing wasn’t totally expected but the results may be attributed to the introduction of “Pilot Peak” cutthroat by NDOW.
NDOW biologists believe cutthroat found in a creek in the Pilot Peak area of eastern Elko County are the original strain of Pyramid Lake trout and the fish were re-introduced in 2005 as six-inch fish.
The Pilot Peak cutthroat have shown to be rapid growers. A 19.8 pounder caught last year was determined to be a fish from Pilot Peak plants and this year’s 16 pounder also is believed to be of the same strain, but that hasn’t been verified.
The early season success comes despite warm water that should stymie shore anglers. Surface temperatures are in high 60s so trollers accessing deep water are doing substantially better. Shore anglers do best where there is access to deep drop-offs like the Block House or Spider Point or Shot Dog on the north shore.
Another factor contributing to more and larger fish is the abundance of tui-chubs. Vucinich said there are bait balls being found all over the lake and a better year for tui chubs may be translating into a better year for cutthroat.
Keywords: Pyramid Lake, cutthroat trout