Return of the monster

Back in the May 2 issue, I wrote about the amazing bio-comeback story of the year, the almost Jurassic Park-like tale of the giant Lahontan cutthroat trouts (LCTs) that have been revived, regenerated, and replanted in their original home, Pyramid Lake. There are usual lingering followups, of course.

1. This is perfect fodder for a television special. The first shows I think of are the big science hitters of PBS, namely Nova and Nature. This tale is in the wheelhouse of each. The Discovery Channel and Animal Planet could well be interested. Whomever gets the call, it's a story with all kinds of great angles—genetics, detective work, serendipity, and fantastically huge fish. “The One That Got Away—and Came Back!”

2. This tale is thoroughly worthy of its own brochure, to be handed out at all stores and rangers stations at Pyramid. You can't really do this story justice with a road sign or a highway maker. There are just too many people and twists and turns. To do the job properly, you gotta have the full-color, multi-page brochure, explaining the history of the Great Fish, its 70 year “extinction,” and its quasi-miraculous resurrection. I'm one of those sticklers who cringes at shoddy use of the word “miracle.” But in this case, while the return of the LCT giants isn't a miracle per se, it sure as hell is freaking awesome and a terrific example of modern genetics science at its best.

3. The wipe-out applied by moronic overfishing and bone-headed environmental degradation in the 19th and early 20th century that led to the apparent extinction of these magnificent 20-, 30-, and 40-pound monsters … how many times do we get an extremely precious second chance to make amends for our bodacious bio-booboos? I have high hopes that all involved this time around—the various wildlife and tribal agencies in charge of this precious second chance—won't muck it up.

I rolled out to good ole Crosby's Lodge in Sutcliffe recently, to check out all the pics on the wall of people who've caught specimens from this year's first wave of Big Uns. I knew those pics would be there, and they were. Dozens of 'em. Most of this year's crop were between 10 and 13 pounds, and some of those were just fat, girthy, gorgeous bastards, often 24 to 27 inches long. The kicker is next year. There will be more, slightly bigger fish, probably in the 16-19 pound range. In '15, we should start to see a fair sampling of 20-25 pounders. After that, we'll see. By 2020, with modern science joining forces with a hefty supply of renewed respect, reverence, and awe for this species, will we see the first 50 pound trout at Pyramid?

The future of Monster Fishing at Pyramid Lake is looking very good indeed. I'm eagerly anticipating the TV show, the brochure—and my first 32-pounder.