A Big Rainbow Trout

Summer Day of Fishing in Colorado

It was a beautiful summer day in Colorado today with very few clouds in the sky, temperatures in the mid 80’s, with a cooling breeze all day.  The wind was a little stiff from the north in the morning, but it calmed down by noon to a gentle, but steady breeze.  I took my kayak to Chatfield Reservoir this morning to do some fishing for the day, and it was the best day of fishing I have had so far this year.  Not so much for the quantity of fish, I only caught four, but they were all big fish, the smallest one being about three pounds, and the largest a six pound walleye.

Chatfield Reservoir is built on the South Platte River just near the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.  It is the last dam on the South Platte, and it is used to regulate the flow of water to farmers on the eastern plains, as well as prevent flooding when the snow melt runs out of the mountains.  Even though a lot of water is flowing out of the reservoir, there is just as much coming in from the snow melt in the mountains, and the water level is very high.  The fishing has been good all spring and early summer, although it is challenging at times to find the fish.  There are large areas on the south and southeast areas of the lake that are only two to four feet deep, which is good for foraging fish, but they don’t like to stay in that shallow of water when it gets as hot as it did today.


View from my kayak while fishing today

I decided to target the area where Plum Creek comes into the reservoir, knowing that the creek channel would provide a deeper holding place for fish, while allowing them easy access to the shallower areas where schools of shad and ample crawdads could be found.  All the years of going to this lake when the water levels were lower gave me a good idea of where to fish, and my topographic map of the lake bottom helped as well.  All of the fish I caught today were along the edges of that creek channel, two of them from an area where I beached my kayak and fished from the shore.

I caught the big walleye on a six inch rubber leech on a jig head, bouncing it along the bottom when the monster inhaled it and took off like a rocket!  I didn’t have my anchor down, and the fish pulled me along in my kayak as much as I was pulling him in.  It was quite a battle!  After about three minutes the big fish began to tire, and I was able to get him to the side of the boat.  I wish I could have taken a picture of him, he was huge!  But it was pretty dicey getting him to the boat and releasing him without using a net.  I caught a big rainbow in that same area about twenty minutes later, and he put up a good fight as well.

I needed to get out of my kayak for a while and stretch out my back, so I headed to a place on shore where I could still cast into the creek channel.  I put on a Beetle Spin lure in fluorescent green and began casting with my new bait caster.  In the next thirty minutes I caught two huge rainbow trout that fought like a badger backed into a corner.  I was very pleased with how my new rod and reel combo handled the fish, and I was able to get pictures of these two since I was standing on the shore.  Still, the pictures didn’t come out great, but I managed to release both of these monsters without using the net, which is always my goal.


Another big rainbow trout

It was an incredible day of fishing; I can’t remember a day when I have caught four fish of that size in a long time.  As the sun began to sink in the western sky, it was time to head home.  I got in my kayak and paddled the half mile back to my truck, loaded everything into the truck and headed home with a big smile on my face.