Three people in a motorboat on a lake fishing off the back

Populations of brown, brook, lake (Mackinaw), and rainbow trout are plentiful in Blue Mesa Reservoir. Other fish species in the park include yellow perch, sculpin, dace, and sticklebacks. Fishing success will vary based on season.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife supplies a large number of the eggs needed to supply hatcheries and sustain Kokanee populations in Blue Mesa, other reservoirs and lakes in the state. Research indicates that a large Lake trout population in Blue Mesa Reservoir is decreasing Kokanee Salmon fishing and egg production. For more information about this current issue and actions being taken, please visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.


All Colorado State fishing regulations apply within Curecanti National Recreation Area. Please refer to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fishing Regulations.

  • A valid Colorado fishing license is required for people 16 and older. Children under 16 do not need a license and can take full bag and possession limits.
  • All fish that are not kept as part of your bag limit must be returned to the water immediately.
  • Check the Colorado State Fishing Regulations for any special restrictions or closures that may be in effect, especially during the rainbow trout spawn.
  • Taking Kokanee salmon is prohibited in the Gunnison River east of the Lake City Bridge from August 1 to October 31. Kokanee can be snagged from November 1 to December 31.

Closed Waters

Fishing is not permitted in the following areas:

  • From Blue Mesa Dam downstream 225 yards.
  • From Morrow Point Dam downstream 130 yards.
  • From Crystal Dam downstream 200 yards.

Possession Limits

Reservoir Fish Species Bag limit (daily) Possession limit (total)
Blue Mesa Reservoir Lake trout No bag limit for fish 32" (81.3 cm) or shorter Only 1 fish longer than 32" (81.3 cm) per day
Blue Mesa Reservoir Kokanee salmon 5 10
East Portal Brown trout 4 8
East Portal Rainbow trout Catch and release only Catch and release only
two fishermen wading in shallow river below a small waterfall, gently sloping canyon walls on both sides
Fishing at East Portal, accessible via the East Portal Road in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

NPS Photo

East Portal

The Gunnison River from 200 yards downstream of Crystal Dam all the way through Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park to the North Fork is designated Gold Medal & Wild Trout Water. This designation is given to the lakes and streams of Colorado that offer the greatest potentential for trophy trout fishing. Special regulations exist:

  • Only artificial flies or lures with one hook that has a common shank with a single double or treble hook may be used for angling in park waters open to fishing.
  • The use of lead sinkers, or other lead fishing materials, is strongly discouraged.
  • Bait or worms are prohibited.
  • All Rainbow trout are catch and release only. All other fish can be retained at the possession limit.
  • A Colorado fishing license is required.

Ice Fishing

The Iola Basin of Blue Mesa Reservoir offers the best ice fishing conditions. Anglers must have a valid Colorado State fishing license and obey bag and possession limits.

  • Ice fishing shelters must be removed each day.
  • Maximum hole size is 10" diameter or 10" on any side. Check ice conditions before traveling on ice.
  • On the frozen surface of Blue Mesa Reservoir, vehicles may not exceed 1200 lbs

Last updated: May 24, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

102 Elk Creek
Gunnison, CO 81230


970 641-2337 x205

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