Fly Fishing Bait Balls at Pyramid Lake for Lahontan Cutthroat

This video from Austin Leonard and Pyramid Fly Co. captures this almost ocean like feeding frenzy from a unique perspective. We’ve never seen anything like it, especially for trout.

The Lahontan cutthroat trout is the largest strain of cutthroat in the world. The name Lahontan comes from the massive lake that covered most of northwestern Nevada during the last Ice Age. Lake Lahontan separated into Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake. The Lahontan cutthroat is now classified as a federally threatened species. Once a staple in the diet of the Native American tribes that inhabited the areas around the lake, settlement of the west had a catastrophic effect on the Lahontan cutties. The cutthroats were hybridized with introduced rainbow trout, captured and consumed in astronomical proportions, and their spawning runs were greatly affected by the construction of multiple dams. Lahontan cutthroat spend most of their lives in lakes, but head up into rivers and streams in order to spawn. The dams greatly interfered with that centuries old mating ritual.

Currently, there are few populations of pure Lahontan cutthroats still in existence, and most are largely supported by hatcheries. The largest Lahontan cutthroat ever recorded was an epic 41 pounder, although there have been rumors of an even bigger unofficial record.