chatfield-canoe

My Canoe at Chatfield Reservoir

Spring Canoeing

It was a beautiful spring day in Colorado today, something I had been looking forward to for quite some time.  I decided to take the canoe to the lake and do some fishing, and it was great to get out.  The only problem was that it was very windy today, which isn’t good if you are in a canoe by yourself, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I put my canoe in Chatfield Reservoir at the very south end in a small section of the lake, an area that used to be a lake of its own, but over time the earthen wall that had separated it from the larger lake had deteriorated and the two lakes became one.  The wind was pretty strong coming almost directly from the north, so I knew I would have a struggle getting out into the main lake, and I did.  I had a hell of a time getting out into the area I wanted to fish, and I ended up kneeling in the front of the canoe to paddle into the wind.  When you are alone in a canoe, that is the best thing to do in a strong wind, but it only makes it better, not easy.  It took me almost an hour to get to where I wanted to go, on a calm day it would have taken me 15 minutes; it was only about three quarters of a mile.

I had studied my topographic map of the lake last night to find some new areas to try, and I found a place with a submerged road bed 15 feet deep, with an old gravel pit next to it that went down to 60 feet.  I figured that would be a good place to try this time of year, and by using landmarks on shore I found the general area, but when I dropped my anchor it went down way more than 15 feet, so I knew I was off a little bit.  After making several adjustments to my position, I found the spot I wanted and started fishing.  I was using a gold KastMaster, which is one of my favorite spinning lures; it is good for jigging and has a lot of action on a retrieve.  I caught two nice rainbows, I would have taken pictures but I wasn’t going to risk holding my camera with one hand while I was bouncing in every direction in the waves.  I really need to get a pair of those sun glasses that have a built-in camera, which can even record video.

bass-cove

My Favorite Bass Cove

After four hours of fighting that wind, I decided to check out one of my favorite coves that is good for bass spawning.  I knew they wouldn’t be there now, the water is still too cold, but I just wanted to check the water level and see how it had changed from last year.  It was an easy ride over to there, even though it was a quarter mile away, the wind was at my back.  After checking out that cove, I walked my canoe in the water for about another half mile, and then jumped in to ride the wind back to where I put in.

While I was walking my canoe in the water, I came across a group of white pelicans standing on a sandbar.  These are amazing birds, and one of the only birds that hunts food as a team.  They are large birds, weighing up to 20 pounds, and they circle above the water looking for a school of shad or minnows.  Once they find a school of fish they descend and land in almost a perfect semi-circle on the water, then they flap their wings on the water to chase the fish towards shore, while decreasing the size of the semi-circle.  Once they get the fish close to shore, the pelicans start scooping their massive beaks into the water to scoop up the fish.  I was lucky enough to witness this today as I was paddling back to the Jeep.

pelicans-on-a-sandbar

Pelicans on a Sand Bar

It was a good day on the lake, but the wind forced me to leave sooner than I wanted, so I left Chatfield and spent a couple of hours at Eagle Watch Lake, which is another one of my favorite local lakes two miles from home.  I caught three bass there to end the day, nothing really big, but some good fighting fish.  I caught all three on a Texas-Rigged plastic worm fished through some sunken brush.

Tomorrow is supposed to be even nicer than today was, so I am going back to the lake.  For some reason I just have this thirst to catch fish, or just be outside trying.