|Driving in from Montrose today we crossed the Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest body of water in Colorado. Created by Blue Mesa Dam, Blue Mesa Reservoir is 20 miles long, has 96 miles of shoreline, and is the largest lake trout and Kokanee salmon fishery in the United States. Blue Mesa Dam was completed in 1965 and was the first large dam built along the Gunnison River. The dam is 390 feet tall and houses two turbine generators. We will cross it tomorrow when we come back to drive through the Black Canyon.
Today there were numerous boats on the water but none appeared to be moving! We later learned that Blue Mesa Reservoir provides excellent fishing opportunities including rainbow trout, lake trout, brown trout, brook trout and Kokanee salmon. The fishermen where there to prove it too! We also learned that the reservoir supplies a large number of the eggs needed to supply hatcheries and sustain Kokanee populations in Blue Mesa as well as other reservoirs and lakes in the state.
While much of the shoreline is rocky, we did notice good swimming areas at the Bay of Chickens, Dry Creek and Old Highway 50 beach. The Curecanti National Recreation Area has drive-in, boat-in and hike-in campgrounds. Most have no hook-ups but there is water & a dump site available. There are a few private campgrounds within a reasonable driving distance as well. We were impressed with the crystal clear, very blue water & the cleanliness of the entire area. A very nice addition to the Gunnison area for sure...Wish we had time to get some fishing in!!!