Kokanee fry survival has been reduced by increasing predation from lake trout since lake trout began naturally reproducing within Blue Mesa Reservoir beginning in the early 1990's. Anglers value both kokanee and lake trout angling opportunities. Kokanee provide the greatest draw for overall catch and harvest; lake trout provide the greatest draw for overall trophy potential. Kokanee have provided up to 85% of the May through October angler catch, while lake trout over 50 pounds and 44 inches in length have been caught at Blue Mesa.
Unsustainable levels of predation by lake trout can lead to declines in kokanee abundance and in lake trout growth and body condition. CPW implemented lake trout netting efforts beginning in 2009 to sustain kokanee populations while still working to provide a trophy lake trout fishery. Additional harvest of lake trout is needed to return to historic kokanee abundance - increased removal of primarily smaller, younger lake trout would allow for persistence of kokanee and would leave more trophy lake trout for anglers.
To better utilize angler harvest to keep lake trout population growth in check, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is starting a harvest incentive tournament with $10,000 in prize money. The good news is that by increasing harvest of smaller lake trout, kokanee fishing and egg-take opportunities can be maintained while allowing more lake trout to grow to trophy size.
From Feb. 1 through July 31, 2021, CPW is sponsoring the harvest incentive tournament. Anglers who harvest lake trout have multiple opportunities to collect prize money.
The daily bag limit for lake trout under 32 inches at BMR is unlimited. Only one fish more than 32 inches can be harvested.
The daily bag limit for kokanee is five fish per day, and 10 fish in possession.
For more details on the tournament or to get more information on Blue Mesa Reservoir fisheries management, please contact CPW Aquatic Biologist Dan Brauch at
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-641-7070.
Complete information on Blue Mesa Reservoir (BMR) fisheries management