Bringing your boat to Blue Mesa Reservoir can enhance your fishing experience and offer a lot of fun! Blue mesa is about 18 miles long and has plenty of room for hundreds of boats. The lake has three basins that all offer different aspects of fishing and fun. The Iola Basin has two boat ramps: Stevens Creek and the Iola boat ramp (opposite of Stevens Creek) Iola basin is the shallowest basin and receives the first water flow from the Gunnison River. The basin warms first in the spring so you can find hungry kokanee and trout feeding more actively than in other parts of the basin. Because it gets warm faster, it is popular for water sports. Water skiing and wake board boats favor this part of the lake and you will encounter fisherman and pleasure boaters in the same areas.
Cebolla is the next basin to the west and is much wider and deeper. It takes much longer to warm and has steep edges that offer good fishing for brown trout. It offers a lot of room to stretch out and get away from other boater. It’s a good area to relax and drift on your boat. But, when the winds howl down Blue Mesa, the Cebolla basin produces the biggest rollers and small boats capsize every year there. There are no boat ramps at the Cebolla Basin.
The last basin to the west is Lake Fork or Saperinero. This is the coldest and deepest part of the lake. In the middle of the summer Lake Fork basin is a great area to camp and enjoy water sports. Many of the fish move to the east so there not a lot of fisherman to dodge in your boat. There are 3 large lake arms that offer cover from the wind and solitude from the public. There is one marina at Lake Fork where highway 92 meets highway 50. It’s always quiet over there and has the least amount of boat traffic.
You will also encounter a few sailboats on all areas of the lake remember that they always have the right away. If you don’t have your own boat, you can rent one at the marina. Call ahead during the peak season to reserve a small fishing boat or a pontoon boat. There are no speed boats or water skiing boats available.
There is also a Mandatory Mussel Inspection for All Boaters on Blue Mesa Reservoir. All boaters who wish to recreate on Blue Mesa Reservoir must receive a boat inspection for Zebra and Quagga mussels. Please view these links for detailed information about this non-native mussel.
Blue Mesa Reservoir Marinas
Blue Mesa Reservoir has four boat ramps and two Marinas. Elk Creek Marina is located in the center of the lake, closest to Gunnison. This is the busiest Marina and Boat ramp. The hours of operation are 7am to 6pm during the peak season. All marinas close October 15th. The other Marina is Lake Fork Marina which is 25 miles West of Gunnison located at the Blue Mesa Dam. The hours of operation are the same. There are more fishermen that frequent Lake Fork and therefore less traffic than Elk Creek. Both marinas offer fuel, tackle, licenses and some food. There is bar/ restaurant at Elk Creek Marina which offers a decent menu and alcoholic beverages.