This Land is Our Land || Home Means Nevada

This Land is Our Land / / Home Means Nevada / / by Matthew Needs


There’s not much better than the extended fall season that we so often experience here in Northern Nevada. Cold mornings and sunny skies pretty much leave everything wide open until our first big moisture drops for the year (which creates a whole other set of opportunities), but while it lasts we are lucky to have abundant sunshine before we lock into winter’s deep freeze.

The only shame that comes with this time of year are the choices that all of us weekend warriors have to make. Unless you happen to be one of the fortunate few who spend more days outside then they do at work or tending to other responsibilities, it’s always a struggle choosing where to devote your time.

For my fellow Weekend Warriors I share in the struggle with you. This Fall was not different. The Truckee was great, as it has been for the better part of the year now. Fall fishing at Pyramid has been producing just as many and as big of fish as it ever has for me and the guys and gals I fish with. All of the smaller and lesser known rivers and creeks around the Sierras kicked out good fishing with stable flows the last few years. And not to mention, the allure of chasing birds whether its upland or waterfowl around the expansiveness of the Great Basin is just as appealing as it ever has been. So options are of no shortage, and its more so a matter of what you want to do.

One of my favorite ways to take advantage of Nevada, in the Fall is to fish in the morning and then head out after upland birds in the afternoon. We are so lucky that Pyramid is in the perfect location to do just that. While everyone has their theories about when the best bite is and what the go to fly at the moment is, for the most part it just comes down to being on the water whenever you can be. To save a bit of energy I got out to the lake about an hour after sunrise at 7 A.M. Per usual for Pyramid this time of year it was still cold, even after the sun had been up for a bit. Right off the bat I had a take on a nymph rig and lost the fish (Marabou Midge, Holo Midge, Balanced Leech). Some days this is a sign of great things to come and to others it seems like a curse. For all of you that have fished the lake a lot, I’m sure you know what I mean. Unfortunately for me on this day it proved to be a curse, fortunately for the guys I was wishing with however, it didn’t affect them at all. Normal suspects for flies included the always trusty chartreuse beetle and Midnight Cowboy for the stripping setups and olive balanced leeches with various sizes and colors of midges for those fishing the bobber.

Interesting note about the midge fishing, most people think of tying on the midge when it gets later in the Pyramid Season and closer to spring. But keep your eyes open and you’ll notice plenty of adult Chironomids flying around right now and when the wind dies down I’ve been having success downsizing flies and fishing relatively shallow. 

In the mid-morning lull while wind direction was switching, fishing small paid off for one of the guys I was fishing with, he landed a 13 lb. Pilot Peak on a zebra midge, the biggest fish of the morning by a margin of good 5 pounds or so.

 Brett Maur with the fish of the day

Once noon hit, it was my cue to head north from the lake and skip out on the afternoon bite to pick up the shotgun and chase some birds in the hills instead. It is prohibited to hunt on the Pyramid Lake Reservation, although once out of its boundaries there are some great Nevada countryside to explore that stretches  as far you are willing to drive and hike.

One of the best aspects of upland hunting is it’s simplistic nature. Regardless of experience level, all you really need is a shotgun, a good pair of hiking boots and the will to walk. I was fortunate enough to get into birds almost immediately and although my aim left something to be desired, before long I had a few birds in the bag. I suppose the early-season rust had to come off at some point.


If anybody has a good pattern that they like to tie up using chukar feathers please send it our way matt@renoflyshop. I know some of you have some secrets up your sleeve!

As always feel free to reach out to us here at the Reno Fly Shop any time for an updated report of our local waters. We are really excited for the rest the Pyramid Lake Season, upland bird hunting and what the holiday season has to offer. Give us a call at 775-323-3474 for gear advice, to talk fishing or book a guide trip!


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Matt Needs is a student at the Univ. of Nevada studying Geological Engineering. When not in class, Matt is fly fishing and hunting all of our local waters and upland hills of the Great Basin.  Matt has been a fly fishing guide in Montana and during most summers will be found on the oars of his drift boat with clients throwing dry flies. Late summer and Fall/Winter Matt is available to share his experience and enthusiasm of the Truckee River as a Reno Shop guide.

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