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9/14/23 Blue Mesa Lake & Fishing Report:
Water Level: 16.2 feet below full, with the outlook being that Blue Mesa will be 25 feet below full by the end of October. This is the ideal lake level when going into winter.
Boat Ramps: Updated Hours: 6:30 am – 7 pm
Elk Creek: Open
Lake Fork: Open
Marinas / Stores:
Elk Creek: Open
Lake Fork: Open
Sapinero Store: Open
Kokanee Jigging: It can be done, but it’s not esy! A few schools are showing up, but are very small and moving a lot. Persistence will get you on them, and when you find a school that will sit, they will bite! They are being found in the typical area of the lake for this, around the Iron Works west to Red Creek Island.
Kokanee have also been spotted in the river! The ones we are still seeing in the lake haven’t transitioned nearly as much as the ones being caught in the river. It’s been an interesting start to fall, for sure!
Gill lice are still present in every salmon caught, but they seem to be shedding them as the summer goes along. The full lake is the best medicine for those, and we should see an improvement in the overall health of salmon in the coming years.
Lake-wide Rainbow trout are still feeding very shallow in the early morning, surface to 25 feet deep. Biting very well trolling typical salmon trolling lures or cowbells with worms or spoons. We’ve seen many big, healthy Rainbows being caught this week.
Brown trout are starting to become more active as the water begins to cool. Most active fish are being caught from 30-60 feet deep, trolling. Rocky Mountain Tackle Bill Fish and squid are working well behind dodgers. As the water continues to cool, browns will become more and more active in preparation for the spawn.
Trophy Lake trout fishing is pretty much on hold, with these fish going to very deep structure, 120’+ depths. It’s hard on a large, old fish to be caught from deep water and hauled up to shallow, hot water. Please be very careful if a large Lake trout is hooked. Let it burp as you reel it in slowly and release it quickly and back into shallow water so it can re-regulate its air bladder as they descend slowly back to the depths.
MASSIVE schools of Perch can be found in every basin of Blue Mesa, anywhere from 3-40 feet of water. These schools are being mistaken for schools of Salmon. Although the schools look very similar to big salmon school, the depth of the water you are in is a good indication of whether it is Salmon or Perch.
Remember that Perch tend to school up with similar-sized fish, so if you are on a school of perch and only catching little ones (but want to catch bigger ones), it might be a good idea to move and find another school. That doesn’t mean you have to motor across the lake. Most of the time, moving just 20 feet in any direction will put you on an entirely new school of fish.
Perch are being caught with many different types of techniques like trolling, casting, and jigging. The most successful method seems to be vertical jigging for them using inline spinners, jigs, worms, soft plastics, dropshot rigs, etc. Perch tend to love bright/flashy lures with a little bit of movement. If you find you aren’t getting very many bites, you might need to change up the color of your lure. We’ve found that when you find the color Perch are biting on, you won’t even need to add bait like worms to your lures. Our Fire Tiger & Olive Fin Candy soft plastics won hands down this week!
Upcoming Weather Conditions: Fall is definitely here! Morning temps are low to mid-30s with highs in the low 70°s over the weekend. Rain in the forecast for Friday, but Saturday and Sunday are looking beautiful!
Wind Forecast: The winds seem to be calming down this weekend, with gusts only in the low to mid-teens (mph.) That’s pretty rare on the lake, so we are all in for a wonderful treat this weekend!
*We highly recommend getting the Windy app to track the winds before your next Blue Mesa outing.
We are seeing the annual algae bloom, which clutters up the water and burns up oxygen. This algae bloom will slowly work its way down the lake; it’s well under way in Iola and is now showing up around Elk Creek, into Cebolla basin, and on towards Red Creek. *No toxic algae to report anywhere*