Pyramid Lake: Proposed ban on old motors, summer fishing

Pyramid Lake - Sutcliffe, NV (Washoe County)

by Benjamin Spillman

People who fish at Pyramid Lake could be facing new rules restricting the use of old motors and certain types of summer fishing.

But only if the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribal government approves an update to its fishing regulations.

The proposed changes, according to Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe fishery biologist Nancy Vucinich, call for a ban on the use of older, two-stroke motors with carburetors and fishing from boats during summer when trout season is closed. Shore fishing would still be allowed.

There are also proposals to increase fees for camping and fishing which Vucinich would raise money the tribe could use to maintain the shoreline and beaches and do more to prevent invasive species from entering the lake and harming the fish habitat.

Vucinich said more people are using Pyramid Lake, especially since drought has made other fishing and boating locations less desirable, and the result is more environmental pressure on the lake.

Two-stroke motors with carburetors, for example, can leave behind petroleum residue that's bad for aquatic life.

"Old Jet Skis and older boat motors are more polluting," Vucinich said. "They put out a lot of unused oil and gas."

Under the new rules, if approved, motors would need to be electric or four-stroke and meet 2006 standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Another proposed change would ban fishing from boats on the lake from July 1 through September 30. The ban on boat fishing would coincide with the existing summertime restrictions on fishing for Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Tribal officials and some anglers say people have been catching trout from the lake during summer by taking advantage of rules that allow fishing for Sacramento perch.

In that scenario boaters will fish deep depths, below the perch, and pull trout from the lower water. That's bad for trout because pulling them up from cold, deep water to shallow, warm water, is fatal for the fish.

Banning the use of boats for fishing during summer would still allow anglers who are legitimately fishing for perch to fish from the shore without the likelihood of catching or hurting trout.

"They are just trying to protect those trout because, face it, they are worth protecting," said angler Korey Farnworth of Yerington, a lifelong fisherman at Pyramid, of the proposed changes.

Another change would be a ban on transporting live trout. That means anglers could no longer keep a trout alive while they continue fishing and letting it go if they catch a larger one. That practice is bad for fish because once a trout has been kept in a small cooler for a period of time it will likely die soon after release.

Other changes proposed include higher fees for fishing and camping.

According to the proposed fee schedule camping fees would go from $9 to $15 for one day and $24 to $38 for three days.

Adult fishing license fees would go from $9 to $11 for one day, $24 to $28 for three days and $74 to $88 for the season.

Day use fees would go from $6 to $10 for one day and the tribal government would add a three day option for $25 and season option for $80.

Boating fees would go from $9 to $12 per day and personal watercraft fees from $19 to $26.

Vucinich said some of the money from increased use fees would be used to support cleaning and maintenance of the shoreline and restrooms. The fishing and boating fee increases would generate more money to inspect boats and keep invasive mussels away from the lake.

If the tribal government approves changes they could go into effect Oct. 1, Vucinich said.

More on proposed changes to Pyramid Lake fishing regulations

For a copy of the proposed regulation changes at Pyramid Lake call the Pyramid Lake Tribal Office at 574-1000.

An online version can be viewed by following this link: PROPOSED FISHING REGULATIONS.

People who wish to comment on the proposed regulations have until June 18 to submit their thoughts in writing.

Send comments by mail to:

Pyramid Lake Pauite Tribe

ATT: Executive Secretary

PO Box 256

Nixon NV 89424

Article courtesy of Benjamin Spillman at the RGJ.