Pyramid Lake: My Intro to Fly Fishing

Have you ever found yourself looking for a hobby, passion or something to fill the spare time in your life? Look no further. My name is Tyler Christensen. I am 24 years old, from northern Utah and I took up the wonderful sport of fly fishing two and a half years ago. My interest in fly fishing began when I tore the labrum in my shoulder playing college baseball. After I could no longer continue pitching, a hobby of 13 years, I had to find something to fill all my free time and take the place of a major passion that I had in my life. I started out fishing with a spinning rod, shame on me right? It was entertaining and I caught many different species from trout to musky and catfish as well as many others, but I couldn’t help but want more.

I had casually looked into fly fishing and noticed multiple accounts through social media that eventually inspired me to pick up a fly rod. My first trip out fly fishing involved my dad’s 5wt Cabela’s combo rod and a 2/0 pike streamer (I had read you need streamers to catch big fish), and a small stream. Needless to say my first effort was very frustrating and not very successful. I swore off trying to fly fish forever. Until the next spring, when I saw pictures from the fabled “Pyramid Lake” start pouring onto social media, showed to me by my brother. I talked to a friend of mine from work that went out every year. We got talking and he convinced me to make the trip with him. I watched multiple online videos and began teaching myself in the backyard, along with some good pointers and some casting hours with my friend. Slowly but surely I was able to learn how to shoot line and get it far enough out there to fish (not that too much casting skill is necessary at Pyramid).

Tyler holding a fish
After a ten hour drive, we arrived at the land of sand and mighty cutthroats just in time for an anxious night of sleep. A few restless hours later it was time to hit the water. We headed out on our infamous ladders to begin a long day of fishing. Casting through the brutal pyramid wind was much more difficult than casting in the backyard had been. The first few hours passed with no success. Just when I thought my indicator would never dip below the surface of the water, it dunked quicker than a Navy SEAL combat veteran. In a blind panic I set the hook and held onto my hat. I felt a huge adrenaline rush as I tried to strip the line as fast as I could to get tension on the fish. I got the handle on him as quick as I could and after several long minutes of battling, I brought my first fish on the fly to the net. I couldn’t get the smile off my face as I grabbed the fish for a picture. Small by pyramid standards, but I couldn’t have been happier nonetheless. The rest of the day continued in similar fashion, and at the end of the day I had landed 6 fish. We had fished hard and it felt good to earn each one. Each fish was a learning experience as I worked out what techniques worked best for me and continued to get better. After the sun had set it was time for some well earned rest.

The next morning I was eager to hit the water. The first couple hours passed pretty slowly, but I kept my confidence. The day wore on and still no bites. It was a blue bird day and the sun was beating down on us hard. That familiar pyramid feeling that my bobber was unsinkable came upon me pretty early in the day, and there were no signs of it changing ever again. After about 12 hours of fishing hard, hope had long forsaken me. Then, in slow motion, I watched my indo do it’s best impersonation of Jack from Titanic, slowly and dramatically sliding under the surface. I ripped into the hook set harder than Bill Dance on a private pond in south central Tennessee and felt a brick wall on the other side. I didn’t even feel the severe line burn I had just given myself as the fish took off on a run for the opposite shore. I was into my backing quick and was palming the reel as well as I could despite being abused by the spinning handle. I could feel the massive head shakes and knew I was into a good fish. Forearm burning, I brought the beast closer inches at a time. I got another adrenaline rush when I saw a giant red flash under the water once I had wrangled him within seeing distance. After each run I brought him a little closer until finally, he hit the net and I let out a yell of triumph. Two days of fly fishing and I had managed the biggest trout of my life. We snapped a few quick pics and got a tape on him at 30”. Not a monster for pyramid, but more than good enough for me. Then it was time to release him back. I will never forget the feeling of holding something that wild and letting it swim back to the depths. For me, the release is one of my favorite moments in the whole fly fishing process.

Tyler holding a fish

We finished out the next few days of our trip at “The Mid” and I knew that I would be back, several times. Pyramid will always be a special place for me, not just for the fish, but for the laughs, experiences, and memories made. That trip made me realize that catching big fish is fun, but that there is beauty in the smaller things. The drive to the lake, discussing tactics with some music bumping, the quiet out on the water, where the only thing to break the silence is a solid hook set, laughing at random things between you and your buddies, the hike along the way, the views at the end, and countless other things. I could never name everything that I love about fly fishing. I also appreciate the continuous learning that it presents. The longer that I fly fish, the more that I realize I have to learn. Fly fishing has also turned me on to a great community of people. I have met some of the stereotypical snobby fly fisherman, but I have also met some of the best people I know through fly fishing. So if you are thinking about picking up a fly rod, don’t hesitate, get out there! I am proud to be part of an awesome community, and I look forward to meeting more friends, many more trips, endless laughs, and some awesome experiences! Bring on the adventure.