This is my first reply (or posting for that mater). I just found you guys about a week ago and have not had much time to post anything.
Anyway, I went out to Chatfield on Sunday night (July 17). I trolled the middle buoy line across the old roadbed from just before sundown, say 20:30, to about 01:00. I use a wire-type bottom bouncer rig with a hand-tied worm harness. The floats on the harness were fluorescent orange. The harness was tied with 20-pound test fluorpolymer and was equipped with a small hammered nickel spinner. I was trolling with a 1/2 crawler and got absolutely no bites ? except one. It was about 23:00 (11:00 P.M.) and I was trolling up the south side of the road bed when my line gently and gradually got tighter and tighter (the line did not twitch even once). I use PowerPro fishing line which is a no-stretch braided line. The line is so sensitive that the rod tip twitches when you drag a weight across a sand bed. A slow steady increase in line tension usually indicates either a fish on or a wad of moss.
I picked up the rod and gave it a quick twitch and the lure/line stopped dead in its tracks. The thing felt like a snag but I knew better. I loosened my drag some and turned the boat around and headed back towards the lure while maintaining line tension. The funny thing is that the line seemed to be coming toward me while I was going towards it.
I got right above the line and tightened up the drag a bit and started realing up. It started to rise, I got it up at least 4 feet, and then "BINK!" something broke off. The 20-pound fluoropolymer had been cut clean right at the harness end. I'm thinking a large walleye ? but without a picture it's just another fish story.
I tied on another harness of slightly different design and continued trolling over the old roadbed till about 01:00. Didn't get any more hits there.
Took the rig up by the dam face and trolled it in about 15 feet of water. Caught a 15.5 inch small mouth (a keeper!) but decided to put it back.
The upshot is that it has been quite slow. About 6 weeks ago, I caught some very healthy walleye (22+ inches) on the same spot and my father caught an 18 inch brown trout. He was using a chartreuse worm harness right at sundown.
I know you like trout and I have not been trying for them recently. I lost 6 Rapalas (my choice for Chatfield rainbows) to speed boaters in the spring of last year going for trout. This has inspired me not to use them in open water anymore. I am so out of practice I need some help. What would you recommend and where would you go at Chatfield for trout. The inlet, along the swim beach, kast masters, pop-gear???
Thanks for the tips, I'll try the inlet ... and it is so much less life-threatening down there.
Have any of you heard the rumor that the Game and Fish department dumped a bunch of shad in Chatfield? Someone told me they did this to feed the walleye. I have seen more schools on my fish finder but I just thought this was normal post-shad spawn population growth.
If true, this might explain part of the slowdown in the walleye bite. I personally think that one reason for the slowdown is that all the speedboat activity has spooked the fish.
If it was a Saturday afternoon and I was a fish, I would be in shock and hiding for my life under one of the sunken trees in the deepest part of the lake.
Here is an an article from the June 15 Rocky Mountain News by Ed Dentry
All that glitters in the fish-stocking trucks isn't trout. Or any other sport fish, for that matter. It happens, in some arenas, that the fish other fish eat are just as important, or more important, than anything stocked for the hook and grill.
The rule applies especially in warm-water reservoirs, where nearly every finned creature of any significance to anglers is a fish-eating predator and where many sport fish currently are consigned to sparse rations.
Just in time for late-summer and autumn feasting, fisheries managers have been making meals-on-wheels deliveries to sport fish in reservoirs that are in dire need of a protein boost.
Some gizzard shad - baitfish that fuel the fishing engine of every reservoir on the plains - are getting new homes. In recent weeks, fish workers have netted 900 adult shad in Cherry Creek Reservoir and transported them to three northeastern Colorado reservoirs that have experienced declines in the indispensable forage fish.
Averaging 10 inches long and ripe for spawning, the shad are expected to proliferate almost immediately, resulting in a restored food base in reservoirs where walleyes, wipers and other sport fish have started growing thin and hungry.
"That's going to give a very good boost to the fisheries," said Greg Gerlich, senior fish biologist for the Division of Wildlife's northeastern region.
Gizzard shad spawn from late May through mid-July. Sometimes they spawn a second time if conditions aren't right the first time, so a little fine tuning can go a long way.
The shad will spawn when water temperatures reach 70-75 degrees, the females broadcasting as many as 380,000 eggs each in shoreline shallows. Young shad grow rapidly, so the pick-me-up should shift to overdrive come September.
"In the fall, we should see hordes of 2- to 4-inch shad all over the place, and that's what we like to see," Gerlich said.
The remedial baitfish project already has moved 300 spawn-ready shad each to Chatfield, Jackson and Lonetree reservoirs. Gerlich said the next target is North Sterling Reservoir, which has a head start thanks to retired biologist Jay Stafford, who planted some adult shad last year.
The boosts are needed because of the residual effects of drought, which caused poor shad reproduction as recently as last year. Fluctuating water levels allowed shad to spawn in places that dried out when water was drawn to irrigate farmlands. Anglers have reported skinny walleyes and wipers at all four reservoirs.
The reservoirs most in need of shad are full of water this year, and recent rains should rule out heavy early summer demands for irrigation releases. So the new shad, and those remaining in the reservoirs from past years, should be able to pull off a successful spawn.
Cherry Creek easily can spare the few adult baitfish. Its gizzard shad component is thriving, owing to relatively stable water levels and nutrient-rich waters, which fertilize the microorganisms upon which shad feed.
"Cherry Creek is so robust, it's just so much more fertile than the others," Gerlich said. "Wipers were busting shad along the south shoreline at Cherry Creek just two weeks ago."
Other eastern reservoirs have managed to maintain healthy shad/sport fish balances despite the five-year drought. Among the shad-wealthy impoundments are Bonny Reservoir north of Burlington and Standley Lake in Westminster.
A happy surprise is Prewitt Reservoir, which suffered a massive algae-induced fish kill, then nearly went bone dry in the summer of 2002. Prewitt also is full, and anglers reported seeing scads of shad rolling and spawning in the shallows around the inlet area a few days ago.
The eastern reservoirs play host to other baitfish, including river carpsuckers, suckers and carp, but no one disputes that warm-water sport fishing would be sorry, indeed, without large schools of gizzard shad.
"Everything out there in those reservoirs will utilize those shad as a forage base," Gerlich said. "For your wipers, shad is key. Wipers love to bust those schools of shad out in the pelagic zone.
"We've also seen trout in the four-pound range packed full of little shad in Pueblo and Chatfield in September and October."
No problem guys...I think that is why they appeal so strongly to Cats as cut bait...the smell and the oil...I was surprised to see in another post that someone cooked them and ate them...not that but they tasted good...
Anyone planning on going out on Friday night? Its been to damn hot to be out in the day lately. I was thinking of hitting it from 6-10 and seeing what happens. I would like to stay later but I have to work Saturday.
We are planning on going to Chatfield this coming Saturday morning. We plan on getting there around 7 AM to avoid a lot of the boat traffic and heat.
We want to go back to the "trout area" by the river mouth and see what happens. If we don't have any luck there, we will head over to the Handicap Pier and see what happens.
I will post our results either on Saturday or Sunday.
Is anyone having any luck at all at Cherry Creek? We haven't tried fishing there yet and was wondering.
Even though it's a ways away from Parker, we were also thinking about driving out to Sterling Reservor sometime and trying our luck there. Anyone fish there lately??