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Lake: Chatfield Reservoir
Fish: Walleye

Early Season Eye Balls

Post By: Neyet Stalker      Posted: 3/18/2017 9:12:08 AM     Points: 7479    
The bite was on at ice off! Itís been a decent season from shore since open water. Through about a dozen night trips up to now Iíve gone fishless 3 or 4 times. Some nice decent eyes have been showing up, and they are feisty. Though these fish have bit aggressively, they only responded to slow careful presentations. I have success with floating baits and shallow running suspenders as soon as the ice gave way to warmer weather.
 Reply by: Neyet Stalker      Posted: Mar. 18, 9:20:42 AM     Points: 7479    
 Reply by: Neyet Stalker      Posted: Mar. 18, 9:29:25 AM     Points: 7479    
 Reply by: Neyet Stalker      Posted: Mar. 18, 9:37:21 AM     Points: 7479    
Despite the floods I believe Chatty has a good population of 18"++ walleye. Dam is currently closed to fishing for annual egg operation. There are night crews out looking for poachers.
 Reply by: FishTracker12      Posted: Mar. 18, 9:48:01 AM     Points: 113    
I would have to agree with you James, I had almost given up on Chatfield after last year but now have renewed faith that a healthy population of eyes remain in the lake. Have been seeing a consistent amount of both 17 inch and as many 20 inch eyes feeding heavily and finally have faith that hope isn't lost here, hats off to Colorado DOW for preserving this local resource.
 Reply by: Neyet Stalker      Posted: Mar. 18, 11:06:30 AM     Points: 7479    
Yes they do an excellent job. CO has consistently produced world class eyes for some time. We have been seeing/catching some fish up to 23" but no big ones yet. I know the boaters have caught a few larger to 28". I believe the quota of eggs will be reached sooner than later we have a good population of healthy females.
 Reply by: River_FlyFisher      Posted: Mar. 19, 12:19:35 PM     Points: 1487    
Awesome fish James! Has been a good season thus far. I've been catching them both from the boat and from shore. The have some girth to them this year!

Here's a couple of my shore catches. 19.5" and 22". Kept the 19.5" for dinner...
 Reply by: River_FlyFisher      Posted: Mar. 19, 12:21:29 PM     Points: 1487    
PS - They set the nets out for the annual spawn on Friday afternoon.
 Reply by: panfishin      Posted: Mar. 19, 5:52:19 PM     Points: 6016    
I am still waiting for my first trip out there this season. I can never remember, do they consider the riprap on marina point and the rip rap next to Massey draw part o the off limits dam?
 Reply by: Toadfish      Posted: Mar. 19, 6:21:31 PM     Points: 3436    
No, that riprap is ok, they have the areas you can't fish marked. Just make sure you're well away from the signs if you're fishing from shore or boat. Rangers have been out all night looking for people inside the markers
 Reply by: Neyet Stalker      Posted: Mar. 19, 6:55:10 PM     Points: 7479    
Toad is correct.

Good job "River". Yes they have been eating well. Good to see the rangers out late!

Was out last night had a solid hit that knocked my lure out of the water. Only action on my two hour trip.
 Reply by: mcflyfisher      Posted: Mar. 20, 10:54:59 AM     Points: 0    
Was on Chatfield saturday and they do have the gill net markers at the Massey Draw area. From after the bank straightens out (from the riprap point) in the treeless area west to the inlet structure is off limits. The ANS guy told us about the gill nets at Massey so we looked and saw the markers. Did not see any markers in the marina point area.

Good luck!
 Reply by: Neyet Stalker      Posted: Mar. 20, 3:05:35 PM     Points: 7479    
mcflyfisher thanks for the heads up!

In past years there were nets around the creek inlet structure. Its good to see they have expanded the off limits zone to include that entire stretch of riprap.
 Reply by: River_FlyFisher      Posted: Mar. 20, 8:05:25 PM     Points: 1487    
You are REQUIRED BY LAW to stay 100' away from the nets, no matter where they may be set in the lake. And it IS your responsibility to know where they're at too...

I will say though, that does make it hard sometimes when night fishing. Two or three seasons ago, we were casting lures towards shore from the boat at night, well South/West of the Massey Draw spillway structure.

We didn't have any idea that nets had been set there, as we'd never seen them there before. We didn't even think to spotlight the area before fishing, and even if we had, we likely wouldn't have to prevent scaring any Walleye away with the lights. Anyway, after one of my first casts, I thought I had a hit, and set the hook. Unfortunately, I quickly realized I was snagged on something, and suspected what the likely culprit was. Unfortunately, I was correct, and lost my $8 Rogue to the net. :-(

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