Welcome to Pyramid Lake, a world class fishery, the site of the world record Lohanton Cutthroat Trout (41 pounds) and the only place in the world where the ancient Cui-ui fish can be found. If you have never fished here before, you are in for a visual treat and some exceptional fishing fun.
You do not need a State of Nevada Fishing License to fish at Pyramid Lake, just a Tribal fishing permit.
The total daily TROUT limit is 2 FISH:
- One 17" to 20" and one 24" & longer
- OR two fish 17" to 20".
- Only 1 fish over 24" allowed in possession .
No trout less than 17" or between 20" and 24" are allowed in possession (in order to protect more large fish for spawning and to produce more trophy size fish!)
Your Permit to Pyramid
What's swimming in the lake?
The cui-ui (Chasmistes cujus) is a large sucker fish endemic to Pyramid Lake in northwestern Nevada. The cui-ui is a large, cumbrous-looking fish. The head is wide and flat, and the body is long and slender. They are bottom-oriented, and they are not strong swimmers. The maximum size of male cui-ui is approximately 53 cm (21 in) and 1.6 kg (3.5 lb) while females reach approximately 64 cm (25 in) and 2.7 kg (6 lb). The life span of cui-ui is typically about forty years, but the fish do not reach sexual maturity until at least age eight. The cui-ui is not only a critically endangered species, but is also one of the few surviving members of its genus. The cui-ui once flourished in Pyramid Lake where it was one of the main foods of the Paiute people (who call themselves Cuyui Ticutta, translated as “Cui-ui Eaters”). Harvest was achieved using a large 3-way hook which was tied to a lead weight and fastened to a 30-40 foot length of nylon twine.
Lahanton Cutthroat Trout
The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Oncorhynchus clarki henshawi) are an over 2 million year old fish. Cutthroat trout are named as a result of anglers in the 1880 naming them as a result of their distinctive red slashes below the gill openings. It has been reported that an LCT was caught over 80 pounds (USF&WS, 2007). In 1925, Johnny Skimmerhorn caught an LCT that was 41 pounds. Historically, Lahontan Cutthroat Trout (LCT) occurred throughout the Truckee River drainage from the headwaters in California downstream to Pyramid Lake (Gerstung, 1988). However, multiple impediments have led to the listing of this species as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Today, the fisheries promotes managing for trophy sized fish and maintaining viability within the ecosystem within the lake.
The Sacramento perch fishery is undeveloped, but those anglers who have done their homework to find these fish during late spring and early summer are often rewarded with lots of fish. Because these fish compete with the trout for available forage, the Tribal Council has recently approved dropping the bag limit. Sacramento perch (Archoplites interruptus) are members of the sunfish family. They virtually disappeared from California's central valley rivers and delta, when their habitat was altered and non native sunfish were introduced. To catch the perch now, you have to go to one of three places- Crowley Lake near Bishop, Pyramid Lake in Nevada or Lagoon Valley Lake between Fairfield and Vacaville. The largest recorded Sacramento Perch caught in Pyramid Lake weighed in at 4 lbs, 9 oz (1971), which is the current state record.
Tahoe Sucker Fish
The Tahoe Sucker (Catostomus tahoensis) are native to the Lahontan Basin and are named after Lake Tahoe. They are very similar to the Cui-ui if you have not been trained to distinguish between their differences. One of the distinguishing features is that the Cui-ui has a thin upper and lower lip, whereas, the Tahoe Sucker has a thick lower papillose lip that is incised. When they aspirate, the difference is evident. Hence, better safe than sorry so if you catch one on the hooks, please waste no time in carefully returning to the lake. They are highly predated upon by LCT and contribute to the Pyramid Lake ecosystem.
The Tui chubs are an important indicator of the overall ecosystem health within Pyramid Lake. There are two forms within the lake. One is the Lahontan creek tui chub, S.b. obesa and the Lahontan lake tui chub S.b. pectinifer. They are distinct enough morphologically two classify separately, particularly in their number of gillrakers. They tend to spawn at different times, hence, reducing hybridization. They tend to be dusky olive, brown, or brassy on the back and white to silver on the belly. The younger the fish, the more silvery the body color. LCT predate on them when they are smaller in size. They tend to congregate along the shallows in the summer and dive to depths lower than 61 meters in the winter and are not as active as Spring. The Spring reappearance of the Tui chubs is is observed mid-May. They are primarily foragers but fisheries has observed that they become predators when they are large adults. Sometimes they will bite at lures and are caught by Fisherman to be released.