After getting skunked on Tuesday we tried the lake again on Thursday, and again were skunked. While we found several very small schools and stayed on top of them for 15 minutes at a time, we never had a bump or bite. The fish were quite deep, with the top of most schools around 95 ft -- we've never had much luck jigging salmon this deep. I suspect low oxygen levels and high water temps may have driven the remaining fish deep. River fishermen are reporting lots of salmon in the Gunnison River on their way to the Roaring Judy Fish Hatchery just north of Almont. There are still kokanee in the lake but we can't get those that remain to bite. There were only 10 boats fishing on Thursday and we never saw a fish caught. Out of curiosity we searched the old river channel in front of the Dillon Pennacles and marked a few individual fish but no schools. We also searched the deep channel area north of the island in front of the Sapinaro store (the water is now so low you can walk to the "island") and found empty water.

The lake has fallen to 7451 ft, 38.6% of full pool. In nearly 20 years of fishing BM, I don't believe I've ever seen it this low, 69 ft below full pool. Park Service employees were moving the ramp, store and dock at the Elk Creek Marina on Thursday, chasing the low water. The guy who appeared to be supervising the work told me the plan was to drop the lake another 19 feet. After fishing we decided to return to the lake and pull our boat, but the last bit of single lane boat ramp was blocked with heavy equipment pushing the store deeper. Mary ran the boat to the Lake Fork Marina, where there was again only a single lane left to the ramp and the last 5 feet of the ramp was covered with sand.

So Blue Mesa kokanee fishing ended for us yesterday with more a whimper than a bang. Still, it was a fantastic year for fishing kokanee on Blue Mesa, with hot early morning trolling from early May to mid July, and pretty good jigging until recently. We, and all our friends and neighbors, have gorged on salmon and we have our possession limit of 20 frozen fish cold smoked and ready to thaw and eat on special occasions. Now it is time to clean the boat (the scum after being continuously in the water since May 3 is pretty daunting) and change out the Blue Mesa fishing equipment for Lake Powell equipment. We're hoping to make the first of several week long camping trip to LP in a couple of weeks. It is hard to beat this retirement gig.

Best wishes to all those who stopped by this summer to read about fishing on Blue Mesa, and especially to those who posted about their experiences fishing BM. I'm already looking forward to kokanee fishing next summer and will share our experiences with those who have Blue Mesa fishing on their bucket list. And in the mean time, there is a 5 pound bass waiting for me this fall at Lake Powell, and a 6 pounder waiting next spring. Tight lines. Kokanee64