? For Jim Brown on Chollas lake History

Discussion in 'Special Feature: Q&A with Jim Brown' started by sandiegopbo, May 1, 2017.

  1. sandiegopbo

    sandiegopbo Well-Known Member

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    I been reading all your lake boy threads and love them I saw that you were instrumental in the creation of Chollas lake. I'm hoping you could give us the full story of the lake which I grew up on and fished on when I was 12 till 16. The fishing in that lake was amazing as a kid with the trout stocks every winter, the bass fishing that was awesome, the huge bluegill we would catch and the catfish in that lake are quality size. I lost 2 ten pound bass out of there as a kid fishing trout in the winter with a 1/2 ounce kastmaster, thinking it was just another trout and letting the fish jump only to see a monster bass both times spit my kastmaster while airborne. What was chollas before it was set up as a lake was it a puddle? Any old pictures of the lake when it was being built? I always wanted to get a boat on it with a fishfinder. Thank you for your time we all appreciate you here on SDFISH.
     
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  2. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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  3. sandiegopbo

    sandiegopbo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Werfless
     
  4. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    Just got back from the Sierras an hour ago and putting stuff away, so this will be brief. While I cant be sure to the dates without diigging into some boxes for the info, Chollas Reservoir was built about 120 by the private water companies owned by either Spreckels or Fletcher. The Water Department was formed in 1901 at whisch time they began devloping a distribution system. If the City did not obtain Chollas at that time, they did in 1913 when they completed the condemnation process that brought them the reservoirs developed by those two men.

    Chollas served the city's water system for six decades or so, but when it was no longer feasible for the city to operate they shut it down. In 1966 or 68 the voters approved a proposition that called for the lake to be turned over to the Park and Recreation Department to operate it as a public park centered around a kid's fishing hole. Once the major physical work was complete, i was hired to add some finishing touches which included development and operation of the program in 1971 (or 7)2. The budget allowed for the lake to be open only on weekends and holidays but within the first month of the grand opening two young teen boys who has crawled under the fence to fish on a closed day after school. Within a week we expanded the operation to add 3 to sunset to the schedule for weekdays just like an elementary school rec. program.

    The following summer I started Camp Chollas, a day camp for kids Monday thru Friday.

    The thing I remember most about the lake before it was refilled and opened was the presence of a soft shell turtle so large that it could be seen from the north shore while sunning on the south shore and it was very alert to get into the water when anyone approached.

    Kids who hung out at the lake while it was closed told me the turtle had been there for years, and survived despite being shot by an arrow which had broken off leaving a stub sticking out of a shell.

    Whenever he was spotted, people became quite excited until one day some kids on the south T of the dock started yelling for me. Thinking someone had fallen in, I ran down to find the carcass of the turtle submerged a foot below the surface, but attached to some monofilament tangled on a rock pile. I managed to break the line free and drag the turtle to shore where I found that the line had been attached to a hook that was lodged in his jaw - making his last bite a fatal one.

    As for the fishery, a once fair warmwater fishery is now pretty dismal, largely as a result of the fact it is operated at a lower level than was intended for the structure that had been added to the east end.
     
  5. DCFISH

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    I grew up fishing chollas since I was 2 years old. OG lake for sure.
    Jim what year did you see that turtle dead? I caught a soft shell turtle and it was humongous and possibly lost an even bigger one.
     
  6. Jim Brown

    Jim Brown City Lakes Program Manager 1974-2003 (retired)
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    1972 or 73 I believe.
     
  7. George Pusey

    George Pusey "chowder"
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    I kinda wanna go again just for the hell of it before I turn 16, used to go all the time when I was a littlun, never caught nuthin.
     
  8. DCFISH

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    Bro I would always slay at that lake. I would go before it's too late.
     
  9. Werfless

    Werfless The Coach
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    Could be a different story now...
     
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