* April 2, 2016 - Pyramid Lake - Harry Petrakis
Pyramid Lake has been a club fishout every since I became a member in 2000 and for some considerable time before that. I have missed only a few Pyramid fishouts during that time. What keeps me coming back are the fish and the wonders and stark beauty Pyramid Lake offers. This year was perhaps the windiest year I have experienced. Tuesday we had a steady 20 to 30 mph wind with gusts depending on who you talk to between 45 and something over 50 mph. That day I drove to the south end of the lake and parked and watched from a ridge 100 feet above the lake as 30' to 200' in diameter wind devils traversed the lake headed east appearing and disappearing on whim, atomizing the water to create plumes with rainbows shooting through them. I had never seen this before. The entire lake was wind-capped and the sky was a brilliant blue. It created an awesome spectacle and panorama. On Thursday, I was coming back after a late session driving in the dark south along the road bordering the lake. There was no wind and the moon had just cleared the ridgeline at the other side of the lake creating a breathtaking bright yellow tube that crossed the lake from shore to shore. It was awesome as well.
Talking to Elaine Cook; she said the fishing was the same as last year numbers wise but the fish were bigger. Witness the pictures this January in the upcoming annual slide show. Elaine said most all her fish came on a midge pattern she described as the Yellow Crow. She said that she will be offering tying lessons for this fly some time next winter. Try to attend and if the fish Gods are still serving up the Yellow Crow you may be the topic of discussion if you have one on the end of your line. Elaine took two ten-pound fish on it. Steve Rudzinski caught a fish over 12 pounds on a pattern he tied and Sam Bishop caught his first Pilot's Peak Lahonton Cutthroat trout, a plump, big, beautiful female. I heard of a 14-pound fish from our group as well and I'm sure several other large fish were caught.
Kevin Murdock and Jim Hall tied for honors in the ladder-diving contest, but they had a lot of help on Tuesday from the wind. That's not fair, they should be disqualified. The winner of the ladder-naming contest was Elaine.
Thanks to my son Chris who was an inspiration to fish with and for making sure dad had his custom made sandwich every day, to Matt Murphy for being such a good story teller and such a humble fisherman, to Dougald Scott for the notes on nature and his input and corrections at story telling time and for being the instigator of fish rallies, to Sam Bishop for just being there and to Steve Rudzinski for bringing some ethos and logos to the Animal House.
Next year's Pyramid Lake fishout is from March 19 to the 24th. The three trailers the club rents are usually full but cancellations do occur. Check with the fishmaster to be put onto a wait list or call Crosby Lodge in the town of Sutcliffe Nevada and reserve your own place. For those with Rvs, there is a brand new campground near the lake shore at Pelican Point. (No electric or sewer hook-ups). This is a great fishout for beginners as the fish are very amiable.
On another note the club is looking for someone to replace me as the Fishmaster for this fishout. It's pretty easy and doesn't take much time or skills and the club could really use the help so if you are interested let me know and I will fill you in on all of the details. Call me at (831) 419-4245 for information, or to be the next fishmaster.
* Pyramid Lake - Steve Rudzinski
Well I came a day late to fish this year, thinking a day ahead of myself and finding scattered results in fish numbers and way too many fishermen at all the popular spots near the 'Nets' area both South and North and Pelican a zoo of fishermen but fish were there and were huge, with many showing themselves on the surface to our amazement of size and power.
I managed to slip into spot that was open and use an indicator with two bead head midges, one on a dropper which is the one my largest trout ever grabbed that day. The guy next to me grabbed the net lying on the beach, which did not belong to either of us and help me land this fish and take my photograph. The owner came by hours later for the net before I could thank him for its use. Another guy nearby landed one even larger than mine he estimated at 17 or 18 lbs, mine in the 14 range was a well fed brute. (photo of me with the fish is in the April 6 edition of Western Outdoor News sent in by Crosby's when I applied for the 10 Lb Pin award).
Overall I would say that if you had the right spot where fish seemed to have a favorite hole to hang out, one guy had a fish on every five minutes it seemed while others using the same 'wino' color pattern were not so successful. I really liked taking off the indicator and slow stripping the midges in, which was my most enjoyable technique this year. Only got one fish on a white beetle and one on the midnight cowboy and the rest of the week it was all on one wine colored midge with the white bead paint mostly all worn off to copper wino status. Only fish actually officially measured and weighed was a Pyramid strain fish that was 8 Lbs and 26" (photo attached). It was a great time with the gang in our trailer; wish the fishing was better for everyone but not always the case.
* Tenkara Bass
My buddy, Greg Woodard and I have been fishing bass together for more than 30 years. Now that he's taken up permanent residence in Mammoth, we have to plan our bass outings a little more strategically. I knew Greg would be rolling into town somewhere around mid-April, which would typically be a great time to hit the bass pond. Greg recently has become the Zen Master of Tenkara fishing and probably uses this technique more than anybody I know. When I told him that our friend, Larry Yien, had landed a 5 lb. bass on his Tenkara rod in the delta, Woodard became obsessed with the idea of landing a bass on Tenkara.
Unfortunately, the day Greg hit town a nasty cold front blew through and dumped a fair amount of rain on our parade and another one was scheduled to hit within the next three days. There was only one day before he had to leave town that the wind wasn't going to howl so we took our chances and it paid off big time. Having never fished for bass before with a Tenkara rod, there were a couple adjustments that Greg had to make before he was fishing effectively. The first thing he did was shorten his fly line and then lengthen his leader.
I gave him one of my Near 'Nuff Crawdad patterns and after a few battles with the tules, he finally got his casting down where he was consistently dropping his fly into the dark pockets right along the shoreline. The plan was for Greg to lead the way down the bank and I would take sloppy seconds fishing my Barry Bugger on a conventional fly rod right behind him. I was pretty confident that Greg would get grabbed. What I wasn't sure of was whether he would have enough backbone with that long flimsy rod to set the hook with enough authority and be able to keep the fish out of the brush.
Getting the fish close enough to his tube to lip it with that long rod would also be quite a challenge. Whatever doubts I had were soon assuaged when Greg yelled, "Fish on!" I watched him kick hard away from the bank and fortunately the fish headed for deeper water and not for the brushy bank. He was really able to handle the fish quite easily with his long rod and when the fish ran he just reached out the full extension of his arm and the 13 ft. rod plus line and leader were more than enough to accommodate any burst of energy the fish could muster.
Now came the moment of truth. Would the thin tip of the rod stand up to the pressure it would take to maneuver the fish into lipping range? It is typically recommended not to use tippet stronger than 5x when using a Tenkara because the top section, which is about as thick as a pencil lead, could easily snap under too much pressure. Once the fish was up on the surface, Greg had no problem using the leverage of that long rod to bring the bass close enough to grab it.
Well done, Sensei. Mission accomplished. As he held up his first Tenkara bass, a nice 3-pounder, for a photo op. he exclaims, "Tenkara, baby. It's unreel!" Greg was convinced that he could easily handle a large bass using a 3x tippet and not risk breaking his rod. After his second bass I was beginning to think that batting cleanup behind him might prove a little unproductive but that soon changed when the wind started to kick.
One disadvantage of Tenkara is that it is a bitch to fish in the wind. The wind came and went for the rest of the morning. Just when we were sure we were going to get blown off the water, it would lie down and we were back in action. Greg managed 4 really respectable bass to hand that day before we finally got blown off the water around noon. I hooked 8, 4 of which came on the Barry Bugger but only landed 6. All in all it was a pretty productive first shot for bass with Tenkara. Like Greg says,"Tenkara, it's unreel!"
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