Scenic USA - Nevada

Pyramid Lake

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Anaho Island, Pyramid Lake - Washoe, Nevada

Photos by Gary O'Toole

Anaho Island - Pyramid Lake    Heading north out of Reno, the suburbs of Sparks give way to a drab scrubland in the Nevada desert. This half hour drive leads to the largest natural lake in Nevada. Located entirely within a Tribal reservation, the Pyramid Lake area was honored as the first Preserve America Tribal Community in Nevada. Visitors may gather a sense of the area's importance to the Pauite after a visit to the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Museum and Visitor Center.
   Named for a sacred pyramid shaped deposit of tufa, Pyramid Lake Tufa the eastern side of the lake is dotted with an odd mix of 20,000 year old islands. Composed of fine grained calcium carbonate and formed at the mouth of a spring, these deposits first grew underwater. Lake levels have since dropped, exposing this eerie cluster of carbonate islands.
   During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Pyramid Lake was well known for its bountiful harvests of lake trout. By 1915, tons of fish were harvested every week, supplying Nevada mining camps. In fact, Johnny Skimmerhorn still holds the world record for a cutthroat trout caught here in 1925. By the mid 40s, a reckless commercial fishing industry cleared the lake of every cutthroat trout. Restocking efforts have slowly replenished the lake's fish and hefty 10 pounders are not uncommon today. But, the original strain is extinct and today's cutthroats won't come close to the size seen 75 years ago.

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