Spring boating opens at Blue Mesa Reservoir

It’s a long walk up the shore from Blue Mesa Reservoir, which last week was reported free of ice. The boat ramps at the Lake Fork (shown here in July 2012) and Elk Creek marinas are open. Motorized craft entering Blue Mesa are required to be inspected for aquatic invasive species. As of Monday, Blue Mesa was 41 percent full at approximately 7,455 feet elevation or about 64 feet low.

With Blue Mesa Reservoir free of ice and the Lake Fork and Elk Creek marinas open, National Park Service officials are reminding boat owners that state law requires all trailered and/or motorized vessels must be inspected for aquatic invasive species.

These AIS inspections are available at the Elk Creek and Lake Fork inspection stations from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily this month.

Starting May 1, the hours will be 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

“These inspections are necessary to protect the aquatic resources of Blue Mesa Reservoir for future recreational use, visitor enjoyment and maintain compliance with Colorado’s AIS regulations,” said Connie Rudd, superintendent of Curecanti National Recreation Area.

The Ponderosa boat ramp is open only to hand-launched craft this year.

The Iola boat ramp will open May 25.

It has not been announced when the Stevens Creek ramp will open.

Small, hand-launched boats with trolling motors may be launched at remotes sites such as Dillon Pinnacles and Bay of Chickens but are required to have an AIS inspection at the nearest station.

“Inspections are the most important thing we can do to protect the future of the fishery,” Rudd said.

Wading anglers fishing the Gunnison River and other streams upstream of Blue Mesa Reservoir also are encouraged to keep their fishing gear free of mud, plants, and organic debris, which may transport invasive species.

Researchers say New Zealand mudsnails can survive out of the water for up to 6 weeks.


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