Pyramid Lake Pratfalls

It really got exciting when Don H. said, “No sweat, Rich, I’ll get it free.”

On Thursday, Feb. 28, I spent the day at Pyramid Lake with two of my fishing partners: Don Hettrick of Carson City and Rich Bachle of Fernley.

For those of you unfamiliar with Pyramid Lake, it is a huge desert lake (about 25 miles long by about 12 miles wide – almost the same surface size as Lake Tahoe!), which is located some 30 miles north of Reno, Nevada. It is reached by two different paved highways from the Reno-Sparks area.

The three of us were in Don’s big new sport fishing boat and we had traveled to Pyramid Lake to troll for Lahontan cutthroat trout. Again for those unfamiliar with that lake, it contains monster-sized Cutthroat trout. In fact, the current world record Cutthroat (41 pounds!) was caught at Pyramid Lake many years ago. It is not that uncommon to catch “Cutts” in excess of 10 pounds, which is what we were hoping to catch.

Note: The largest Cutthroat that I have caught at Pyramid Lake is a 12-pounder taken on 6-pound test line while I was spincasting in my chest waders, many years ago.

Don Hettrick is a longtime close friend and my permanent fishing partner. He is also hereafter identified as Don H so as to avoid any confusion with Don Q. Having fished with Don H many times in the past at many different places, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this would be another interesting day in the Great Outdoors. You need to be aware that many zany things happen whenever the two Dons are together.

Let me begin by stating, very clearly, that there is no way on God’s green earth that Don H can steer his boat in a straight line for more than 12 feet. That’s a fact, Jack! We traveled in all kinds of weird patterns that from above must have looked like “B’s,” “D’s,” “E’s,” “O’s”, “P’s,” “U’s,” “V’s” and “W’s.” While trolling in those weird-shaped patterns, we were either in 2 feet of water or it was more than 200 feet deep. We trolled anywhere from what seemed like a Mach 10 speed, all the way down to an absolute dead stop.

On one occasion, we probably set a new national record when, after we ended up in about 2 feet of water, Don H snagged up all three of our downrigger balls, all three of our lures and polished off the props of the trolling motor in the sand in that shallow water.