Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Independence Lake - Banshee Lahontan Cutthroats

Last summer I put in a good deal of time at Independence, I plan to do the same this year. These LCT are the real deal, wild, genetically pure lacustrine thouroughbreds. They look and fight much like a rainbow, big runs and they don't know when to quit, unlike the lethargic Pyramid Lake variety that roll over in two minutes after a dozen head shakes. This lake is a bit tricky to find, somewhat challenging to drive to, and a bear to fish. Its deep and the winds can be impossible, but get the right pattern at the right depth and it can be rewarding. The real draw with this lake is the amazing scenery, Osprey and Bald Eagles circle above hunting a common quarry, crystal skies which complement the water and huge stands of virgin forest. Visibility in this cool, oxygenated alpine gem is amazing, I've seen structure on the bottom in 23 feet of water. In addition to LCT, there are large schools of bite-sized Kokanee (stunted due the 7,000ft elevation), a few monster brooks (that USGS has been unable to kill) and even fewer monster browns, including one I hooked and fought for 5 minutes only to bring it to the surface and have it throw the hook right at my pontoon boat...the thing looked like a salmon. At 4:40 in the video, my buddy in the film hooks onto something huge. Now he's a UNR football player and he's holding an 8wt rod. This was his first fly fising experience and whatever leviathon grabbed his fly spit the hook while his rod was doubled over (DFG regulations require single barbless hooks). If you're thinking of fishing from shore, forget it, its very difficult for anything but brookies, and the brookies are few and far between. They are big though, I have one on film (under water footage) guarding a redd along the shoreline that was pushing 5 or 6lbs, I'll post it later. Brookies are char, and in addition to a river or creek, they're able to spawn along an oxygenated lake shore which is likely why USGS hasn't been able to fully rid the lake of them, though they have brought the numbers down considerably. I have a lot more to say about this lake, so stay tuned for future posts.


Matt "Gilligan" Koles said...

Frig'n rad dude. Indy is the most amazing place, good work.

Mike Nelson said...

Hi B1GR,
You mention making to the inlet on Independence lake. Where is that? A friend from Reno and I fished the lake on Sep 13 this month for the first time. Caught Kokanee, brook, and rainbow? (looked like rainbow). But didn't know how to fish the LCT. Picked up some tips here and there but your advice would be welcome since you did well. What flies, nymphs worked for you and how deep did you fish? Best, Mike

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