Who's up for a SW Chatty Pond Walleye Experiment or Knows more? (Divers doing PADI certs there confirm theyre 'big')
Post By: cerd Posted: 6/24/2012 5:35:47 AM Points: 548
Alright, so for the past two years now I usually stop by the SW pond every Summer Sat AM to walk or hit some perch or maybe some bass or set cray traps.
As it happens - and I discussed this with sharkbite (nate) last night who knows chatty well, and his brother just PADI certed exactly there a few weeks ago - every sat AM in the summer there is a SCUBA cert/re-cert/PADI cert upgrade program at that pond and also tons of swimmers with goggles etc.
65 yr old masters swimmers fish ID capabilties questionable yes - The divemaster who has been running the program there for years: Far more legit as is the case for people who dive CO lakes often and have for years mo (CO has largest population of PADI cert'd divers per capita if I recall - lake diving is big).
Conclusion: There are 'very large' walleye in it.
Apparently that pond is a very unique ecosystem: The divemaster has as long as I've visited as well as other high level divers who are certing or getting a higher level PADI cert report and also fish or just know what they see report seeing very very large walleye in that pond. Also, almost 8" crayfish - thats near langostine (small lobster) size. I love this pond, there is jack for mapping/depth/hydrologic data on it (the water is incredibly clear and very warm - that is not common). So I am actually going to float around and collect depths, bottom composition, gps coords etc with my other buddy who is a GIS (That's map making) specialist.
Anyone has fished there knows there are some carp, cats, bass and probably about 70% Y perch (I believe I saw a DOW site survey to back this up). I even talked a guy who pulled some stocker trout out a few months back.
I fished there 6 months straight while these courses were going and only pulled out perch and bass and cats. I through out fatheads, shiners, crawlers, stinkbait, goodsmellbait, cranks, spoons, jigs at almost every hour of the day possible during that time. No eyes. No one else I've ever talked to (obviously not 100s who fish there every month) has landed an eye.
Given the abundance of perch and either very large (old/slow) or large numbers of juvenile crayfish (btw: I can trap huge legal crays, 4-5lbs in an a night) in the wee hours, I've never seen any so big in the main lake. I would think the eyes feed mainly on small perch and these crayfish?
Who's up for some good old fashioned science and maybe get a group to try from NoMo craft (regulation) and shore, throw whatever you want - they are 'big' and numerous and they obviously eat something. Lets find out what.
Reply to email@example.com subject 'Chatfield SW Pond Walleye ' with name or fishexplorer handle, contact info, where you want to fish from (Shore, tube, etc - no motorized), what you will use, and any suggestions. Most importantly tell me why you care about doing this honestly.
And what date/time might work for you - I cant get on the forum all the time and just want to set up an email rule to collect the results into one file for me so I can organize it.
If you can't tell we are total nerds..
My DOW fisheres board member buddy who was in my biology research lab group is also stumped - most DOW people he knows seem to know nothing of their existence.
In summary: It's not about finding an untapped walleye gold mine to be raped. If this is an isolated and unknown population they could be genetically unique, and thus could actually be a new subspecies of walleye - it's basic evolution (Like darwins finches) that species that reproduce in isolated environments ('islands') develop unique characteristics as a result of unique DNA profiles (smart word 'phenotypes'). If I get enough responses I'll work with DOW on it. We''ll take a noninvasive tissue sample for DNA analysis and we can compare with the same from the main lake (of course not sure if there is a common connection between the two) - our lab group at University of Denver studied what hormones chain when in the death ('senescence') of salmon after spawning and worked with DOW/Fisheries.
So again, if you care about conservation, science and something just pretty cool and mysterious. Reply above. It will probably all be kept confidential, I'll talk to DOW about that.
Maybe people know what I don't and purposefully dont share because a) its their private stash spot, or I would hope, they want to protect a unique population. If you think its a silly idea, just read something else.
Reply by: FISHRANGLER Posted: 6/24/2012 8:26:51 AM Points: 4429
Bucket biology I doubt there is anything special about the eyes in the lake. Probably just a few and some could be rather large with all the perch in there. Good luck with that. Its not a silly idea to at least find out.
Nate I'll check my schedule, that will prob work. Lip Rippa - Can you 'borrow' a trimble unit?
@FishRangler RE: 'Bucket Biology'
A) High temps lead to increased growth rates in walleye.
B) Genetics 101 Courtesy of UC Berkeley & my Degree in Molecular Biology.
"The Founder effect A founder effect occurs when a new colony is started by a few members of the original population. This small population size means that the colony may have:
-reduced genetic variation from the original population. -a non-random sample of the genes in the original population.
I believe those ponds are connected by dikes/small streams to the platte at flood stages (97? maybe 04?). It takes a few generations of reproduction (literally a single breeding pair to lead to:
"Genetic drift has several important effects on evolution:
Drift reduces genetic variation in populations, potentially reducing a populationís ability to evolve in response to new selective pressures. Genetic drift acts faster and has more drastic results in smaller populations. .Genetic drift can contribute to speciation. For example, a small isolated population may diverge from the larger population through genetic drift."
I am not expecting a 3 headed beast. But it's just cool you can't find a single report that I am aware of anyone ever catching one yet every time I talk to the divers saturday they see them. If I am going to get the eye skunk, I am going to do it where I know they are yet no one has ever reported catching them or stocking them.
Yeah I am excited too. I just emailed the regional fisheries biologist (Paul winkle) to ask what his thoughts were on it - I owe FishRangler a 6 pack if he says 'oh yeah we stock those we just include it all under the chatfield numbers'.
I most likely will be in. Once you get a schedule around let me know and I can see what days I can help out. I will be in San Diego for the early part of this week. Once I return, I will be in touch. Sounds like a fun project.
Honestly I might be able to borrow one. They are the brand new GeoXH's and we have the software the corrects the error in the measurements. I have ArcGIS on my home computer as well as at work.
I work for Forestry and Open Space, who knows I might be able to talk them into having me map the few recreational lakes in Wheat Ridge.
Great ideas, I did a couple of research papers on bathymetric mapping, something that out here in the west is almost non existent. If I could only get onto the DOW payroll and map some lakes for them.... hah maybe someday.
I don't know you personally, but, a question for you.... Why on earth did you post this on the free side???? This side of Fx gets 30,000 views per day! If you truly do believe that there are giant walleye in there, and that they have evolved into a "new" sub-specie, posting this on the free side invites the place to be overrun in a huge hurry! Smaller waters can't sustain that kind of traffic and pressure like big waters can.
Looking back at the history of those ponds, I seriously doubt there is a large population of eyes in there.
But.... just my .02 cents worth... take it or leave it.
Reply by: cerd Posted: 6/25/2012 12:40:56 AM Points: 548
Tiny you have a point Ư - should have gone to FxR. But also part of it was 'Know more?' - Why should people who pay whatever FxR was be the only ones to take an interest in looking into this. More to the point, if you are familiar with what they are planning to do with the Chatfield water reallocation plan for the reservoir (raising max water level) several of the plans involves completely inundating all the gravel ponds, the lower boat ramp portions, masseys beach and volleyball courts and maybe even picnic area, fox run, catfish flats etc and also raising it very quickly.
I reached out to the regional DOW fisheries biologist anyway to see what he thinks of these reports - they are anecdotal anyway. So why not check it out. I do search engine and database programming for a living. I know how to find information - not a single record or news archive I came across said anything about anyone ever catching a walleye there. They did stock it with trout though recemty - so like I said before, they could just be stocking small numbers anyway and grouping it under the total number for chatfield.
Anyway it's an experiment, it's fun, and like all experiments it has a null hypothesis - that is "There are no walleye in the pond" and you attempt to prove it otherwise.
I won't be posting back results anyway, like James said - it's as simple as fishing it and finding out.
I'll keep everyone posted - if you want to join Thursday eve then let me know with you.r contact details at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply by: Tiny Stevens Posted: 6/25/2012 1:05:38 AM Points: 4599
I understand what you are saying as well as the hypothesis you are working under.
My first question would be this.... Do these divers know what a walleye looks like? Could they be mistaking a large trout, or perch, or something else for a walleye? Remember also, that water distorts images as we see them, and someone unfamiliar with what a walleye actually looks like underwater could make an honest mistake. I know for a fact that an angler actually turned in an undersize walleye at the Aurora Trout Tournament to be weighed! A walleye mind you, not a trout at all, and with hundreds of other trout to compare it with!
Regardless of that, thank you for reading what I was writing and not taking it personally. I am very cautious of what I post on the free side, not because paying has its priveledges, rather just because of the sheer numbers of people who see the free side.
I've asked around and I've always been told there are no walleye in there and there is nothing I've seen that would make me think there are 'eyes in there. Divers are unreliable. That being said, I would still join you on this if I were in town.
Something to keep in mind: There are other ponds in Chatfield park south of the first two, most visible ones. These ponds are similar in character and are actually connected to the river by small creeks. Just something to think about.
I could see some people seeing a huge bass and just assuming or mistaking it as an 'eye. Water clarity in there can be pretty low... My brother claims he saw plenty of bass in there when he got Scuba cert a few weekends back. Who knows what other people think they have seen.
I doubt they are trout... Ive fished those ponds quite a bit and this is the first year I have puled any trout out of there. All fresh stocker sized too.
Of course, saying I have fished it for a long time and having never seen an 'eye....
But wouldnt it be fun to find out? Who has really tried fishing for walleye in the specifically?
Reply by: Mr.Charles35 Posted: 6/26/2012 12:22:39 AM Points: 434
You really shouldn't have posted this. Thousands of people/trolls look at this site and are now gonna fish the crap out of those ponds. THINK BEFORE YOU POST. Figure it out yourself and don't exploit all those fish to un-necessary pressure because you heard a fricken rumor. If you know/go to the pond so much, you should be able to get it done yourself.
Reply by: FishWhacked Posted: 6/26/2012 11:08:10 AM Points: 168
Yes, the way charles came off was abrasive and berating another member was not cool but his basic sentiment is the more posts about a small body of water, the harder it gets hit. And it's exponential as years go by. Large waters can handle fishexplorer while we have to be careful with info about the small ponds we all love to fish.
I've personally seen these ponds hit hard by people who may never have ventured out to them had it not been for posts boasting large cats and large bass. I love seeing big fish pics as much as the next but I love holding that big bass more!
Post the fish, never the quaint location. Fish a pond for yourself and map it and take notes that's cool. I know this pond from canoe fishing it, watching my depth finder closely. Go explore and you'll find out what's in there. I've never caught a walleye and have never heard any of the veteran pond anglers say they have either. And they have fished it way longer than I.
The cats and bass that used to roam those ponds are a dying breed and the DOW has seen fit to stick stocker trout in there now. Maybe they'll get fat on the vast crawdad population but I used to like this pond for it's bass. I can catch trout in a ton of other locations. That's just me voicing my opinion about a used to be great little bass pond.
I like the original posters idea alot though because I dig science! But I'm sorry, I'm oldschool and don't share too much detail about fishin small ponds.
I have spent hundreds of hours diving these ponds over the last decade and have only seen 3 walleye in the east pond closest to the river. These walley were all together suspended, and about 15 inches long.. I am sure that the reported walleye were in fact large mouth bass, or small mouth bass. There are also some very large cats but I have seen their population take a serious hit over the last 5 years. I have seen just about every species of fish in these ponds, but walleye would be the least comman of them all with out a doubt. Not sure why they dont stock some here as they should do well with all the perch.
Speaking of honey holes South of Chatfield - there is one pond back in there where you will probably get BIT ON EVERY SINGLE CAST!!! Just don't pay any attention to the no trespassing signs when you're crawling over or under the barbed wire fence which goes all the way around the pond, I'm sure the DOW won't mind if you fish their private pond.
News flash! There are freshwater Marlin in Chatfield!!! And they're easy to catch too! Just hook a little grey kitten behind a large flasher about 1,000 feet behind the boat using 2,000# test line, and you're guaranteed the catch of a lifetime!!! LMAO.
Sarcasm aside, I think cerd has a good idea. He has said he wouldn't post the results, so I highly doubt the pond will see any measurable increase in usage as it is already over-fished (like pretty much all of the Chatty ponds). While my schedule is too erratic to really help much (even though I work about 5 minutes from there), I wish you good luck in your endeavor. Even though I have all of my own SCUBA gear and have spent plenty of time underwater, I have never gotten around to getting an actual certification (my dad used to be an instructor). Maybe if you can find someone to SCUBA dive the pond that would be willing to get video that might be your best way to find what you are looking for?
Well I won't post the email verbatim but the reply I got from the DOW fisheries biologist was positive and I'd still like to move forward with this idea.
Brookie: You have a point with the other ponds, they are worth checking out too - re: the above statement, groundwater has a lot to do with common connections.
For all the self-righteous flamers complaining about this is going to be over fished - you should have read: 'Don't like the idea don't read it' as I initially stated'. You missed the point of 'they were (supposedly)' seen but never have been reported caught - if they are there there is obviously something different about them where they are not taking common bait offerings it is worth noting.
I appreciate the feed back from all who have dove these ponds, that is really cool - I think misidentification of bass could certainly be behind this.
Mr. Pink I would actually like to discuss the 'genetic drift' concept more, please email @ email@example.com.
WITH THAT SAID (SHARKBITE in particular) everyone re-email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with:
-your phone # AND email
when you are available tomorrow night through sat night (Likely looking at Thurs night ~6-8).
Please Note: If you can only fish from shore.
-Which you have access to: GPS (Commercial or Consumer Grade) Float tube/yak/pontoon Depth sounder/fishfinder WITH/WITHOUT GPS.
-You can lead a mapping effort (have access to arcgis, can get everyone all the right datums etc)
Safety first, but Divers are welcome too, again so long as it is safe (I am not PADI cert'd myself) but that would be a better way to confirm with anything. Obviously would be night time and maybe not the brightest idea, with lines out, but at least no motorized craft to worry about and assume you'd have lit buoys.
Thanks and let's have some fun even if we just catch weeds.
The wind was brutal, got into some LMB, saw some carp. Marked some interesting schools of suspended large fish in an area that rapidly drops from about 15 to 30 ft. No eyes. DOW Bio. says he wouldn't be surprised if there is a naturally reproducing population in there, but I bet its small and nothing unique.
All in all it was a good time out despite the wind. Collected about 5lbs of crayfish for breakfast etouffe.