When you think about walleye fishing, you instantly think about Minnesota and Michigan. You think about cold water, leeches, night fishing, and rough conditions. Wind, rain and chop on the water. But what if we told you that there are walleye in most urban waterways and they are just waiting to be caught?
While warm urban waters are not the best places to find walleye, if you know where a walleye should be, you are likely to find em. The South Platte River flows out of Chatfield Reservoir and heads north through the city of Denver. Walleye get washed out of the reservoir during floods and Spring runoffs when the dam is opened. They then find their new home about 5 mins from your front door. The South Platte has numerous drop downs, channels and deep holes that are home to some very nice urban walleye.
Intro to Walleye (from Wikipedia)
Walleye, Sander vitreus
…The fish’s eyes allow them to see well in turbid waters (stained or rough, breaking waters), which gives them an advantage over their prey. Thus, walleye anglers will commonly look for locations where there is a good “walleye chop” (i.e., rough water). This excellent vision also allows the fish to populate the deeper regions in a lake, and they can often be found in deeper water, particularly during the warmest part of the summer and at night.
Boom. There you go. The internet tells you everything you need to know.
Walleye are predators and have an extreme advantage over their prey in rough and turbulent water. If the water you fish is calm, the walleye are in the any change of current. Drop downs under bridges, pinch points through structure, bends in the river, etc. If there are long calm stretches of water, the walleye stack up on any structure they can find to ambush their prey.
The Urban Anglers USA crew target walleye in the Platte in those exact same places. Anywhere that gives the walleye an advantage to ambush prey. While bottom bouncing nightcrawlers and leeches are the go-to favorites for walleye, we have been extremely successful on catching walleye on shad and crawdad pattern crankbaits. These are their natural food source in this specific river system. Match your flies to the local baitfish and put them in the right spots.
Please practice Catch & Release in urban settings to preserve these precious resources for other urban anglers.
If you are looking for a guide to get on some walleye in the Denver Metro area, reach out to our friends at Tightline Outdoors.
Cherry Creek Reservoir (15 mins. from downtown Denver) is full of walleye and these guys know how to find the fish!