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Thread: 2022 Blue Mesa Fishing Report

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Gunnison, CO

    Default 2022 Blue Mesa Fishing Report

    First the good news. Driving by BM on Sunday we watch 25 boats working the Cebolla Basin and 10ish boats working Sapinaro. The vast majority were trolling. Friends from Gene Taylor Sporting Goods report fishing is "OK". Inspections station, ramps and a courtesy dock are in place.

    Now the bad news. The concessionaire notified us yesterday that the Elk Creek marina store, docks, restaurant and showers will not open this year. The cost to move all the infrastructure is over $80K and they fear moving everything, the water drops, and they move everything back. Too much cost for too few benefits is appears. A decision regarding lake fork facilities has not yet been made.

    With the lake at under 30% full and 82 ft below high pool, there is little water in Iola. Plans are for increasing the level this summer but a water call could change all plans. I get the impression the plan for now is to draw down BM, FG and LP to the point of destroying the fisheries and lake infrastructures, and then try to figure out what to do about too much demand and too little water. It is hard to watch this happen but we have learned by now that fisheries and infrastructure don't count for much in water decision making.

    I am starting the 2022 BM reports so that out-of-towners can get info about the current situation at Blue Mesa. We don't plan to fish BM much this year but we'll provide what info we can. Fishing the last several years has been poorer and less predictable than in the earlier years -- and it breaks my heart to see the lake like this. We plan to leave for LP in a few days and repeat if we can later in May. Then we head for FG. Not sure where we'll fish for salmon if FG does the proposed 500,000 acre ft release early in the summer. Navajo water level appears to be protected but fish are smaller, though plentiful. Have been watching reports from Idaho. Sometimes almost feels personal -- getting chased off one lake after the next.

    Good 2022 fishing for all.

    Kokanee64, aka, Roger

  2. #2


    Good update Roger. I appreciate it since we have many trips planned to BM this year and we are not local. I presume the launch ramps at Elk Creek and Lake Valley are open even though the concessions are not??

    Looks live Eleven-mile reservoir had a good kokanee fishing season through the ice. I hope that translates to a good on-the-water season as well so we may move our focus. Fishing for trout last September we marked several schools of kokes. Also heard the Wolford did well on kokes last year from a biologist.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2022

    Default Back to Where It All Started

    Blue Mesa is where I made first contact with Kokanee. As a Kansas boy growing up catching catfish and bass on farm ponds the whole concept of inland salmon blew my mind. Never imagined it becoming the obsession that it is now.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Gunnison, CO

    Default BM fish spawn

    The Gunnison country times ran an article last Thursday about egg and milt harvesting at the roaring Judy fish hatchery, where BM salmon go to spawn and die. milked fish are given away. Last week the hatchery gave away 600 fish but the week before only 60 fish. The egg take is a little under 1.2 million so far, with season ending soon. The average is 7 to 8 million and I can remember them hitting over 12 million back in the better days.

    Sounds from the article that biologist blame the decline on low water, particularly low water and algae bloom/low oxygen levels in the Iola basin. Not much about predation by Macs but my suspicion is that the Koke population can't rebound regardless of water level with low stocking numbers and huge Mac numbers. Fingers crossed.

    We fished BM one time this summer. We caught no fish and saw none caught by others. Spoke with a couple of guides who reported that they considered it a good day if they caught one fish. You may recall that the Elk Creek Marina and store didn't open this summer due to low water. Hot mess and I pray not a harbinger for Flaming Gorge.

    We are thinking FG and Navajo next summer but also toying with a multi week salmon road trip -- no idea where I would go.


  5. #5

    Default Good update...

    Thanks for the update Roger, even though the information is not what anyone would like to hear. How was FG this year for you overall? I know you focused your efforts there with the decline at BM.


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