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Lake: Island Lake (Grand Mesa)

This lake needs to be closed and allowed to prosper

Post By: Harley fisher      Posted: 1/5/2016 8:39:58 AM     Points: 992    
I have been fishing this lake off and on for almost 25 years, and it is a far cry from the record setting Splake fishery, (or any other kind of fish), that it has been in years pass.
When was the last time a report of a significant fish was heard about this lake? They stock it 2 -3 times a year with 8" trout, in huge numbers, especially at the beginning of the season and in preparation for the holidays. You can go up there and get all the action you want on these stockers, but it has been years since a report has come up of a fish worth noting came out of there.
We have plenty of lakes that offer fun for the kids, and lots of action, this in the past had been a lake that offered the opportunity for the knowledgeable fisher person to enjoy some quality fishing summer or winter.
Just wondering, has anyone heard of anything of size and weight being caught or even seen in this lake in the past 5 years or even longer?
 Reply by: Orion      Posted: 1/5/2016 11:04:25 AM     Points: 2784    
It sounds like it's being managed as a put-and-take fishery.
 Reply by: Ajax5240      Posted: 1/5/2016 11:41:03 AM     Points: 27866    
Certainly seems that way. In the past 3 years there has been one master angler fish pulled from the lake. A 21" Cut in Aug 2013

Link for reference: [log in for link]
 Reply by: Lefty2053      Posted: 1/5/2016 11:42:11 AM     Points: 1190    
Have you been ice fishing it Harley? I went for the first time this year in over 30 years to ice fish it. I was told by a guy he usually gets some 27" Splake out of it. But nothing that day and I only got 1 Rainbow and 1 Smaller splake. I hear it is too slushy now. The only time I think people ice fish it is with the first ice. I was there in November.
 Reply by: Kolorado KingFisher      Posted: 1/5/2016 11:45:00 AM     Points: 82    
I don't know much about that lake in particular.

The reality is, that our CPW does not manage every lake, body of water, river etc. to everyone's liking...stated to point out the obvious impossibility. I can list off hand about 5 impounds that I feel are being are not being managed in the best way, however my views are simply just an anecdotal opinion and nothing more. If you feel very strongly about this matter, I would suggest you contact the management division in that area and inquire directly. This may take some time and energy but if it is worth it to you then see what happens.

Having said that, I feel as though overall that the DOW/CPW has done an exceptional job provided recreational anglers the nearly endless potential for fine fishing and hunting especially in a state with as many people as CO.
 Reply by: Lefty2053      Posted: 1/5/2016 11:48:30 AM     Points: 1190    
Got to remember a lot of people don't know about the Master Angler Program or even care about it. As for the Blue Mesa I saw a lot of 20.5" Kokanees and I have caught a lot of 21" out of there and never recorded them.
 Reply by: CoachK      Posted: 1/5/2016 3:07:51 PM     Points: 140    
As of last year, Island had as many splake in it as there were rainbows. the difference is the bows are put and take and the splake are put in as finger lengths. Takes a long time to grow big enough to turn over to eating suckers to get big. We have caught many in the 16" range and a couple almost 18". I know of 2 that were in the double digit pound wise.

Too many people eat all the fish they catch and the splake are very good fair in that they are put in as fingerlings and get pink meated. (We have had to keep a few ice fishing that were hooked too deep to save otherwise we throw all them back). There are some tricks to that lake that will help you get bigger fish but I will not give those up on here.

It will be a few more years till those bigger fish which have turned to meat eaters have enough of a population to start showing up more consistently.

Biggest factor is how many people go to the Mesa to catch and keep all the fish they catch. I am so surprised how many people go and catch 4 fish and go home.
 Reply by: esoxrocks      Posted: 1/5/2016 3:24:07 PM     Points: 2486    
You are probably right about this lake...as well as dozens more. At least as far as the need to better manage our lakes and rivers to produce higher quality fish is concerned. The meat fishers can be a problem.

Personally I would like to see slot limits on many more species at many more lakes here in CO.

Admittedly it wouldn't solve all the problems, but it would allow the focus to be on mitigating the over harvesting of mature mid year-class fish that are key to a healthy fishery... not to mention darn fun to catch.
 Reply by: Harley fisher      Posted: 1/6/2016 6:56:53 AM     Points: 992    
My point on this post is that not every lake on the mesa needs to be groomed for the family fishermen. There is one small lake that I go to up there that everyone passes on, that has consistently produced very large Browns. That will remain my spot for now.
I can name a few lakes that have been overfished and undermanaged in the past 5-10 years, that could use some new regulations such as slot limits or lower limits or even catch and release every other year. Lakes like Vega, which used to routinely produce fat 18-20 inch fish, and even large Browns. Today produces mainly smaller stockers, and virtually no Browns. Eggleston has lost most of it's productivity, the Granbys used to be fabulous because they were tougher to get to, but now they seem to be sterile ponds, and many other smaller back woods lakes on the Mesa have been allowed to just dry up as a way to save money.
In the long run, maintaining a few quality waters would bring more money to manage the entire system. People drive from all over the state to hit Blue Mesa, because you can still find some quality spots.
Look at the success of Antero.... such a success that consideration of more moderation was in the works.
 Reply by: Orion      Posted: 1/6/2016 7:16:47 AM     Points: 2784    
Slot limits would help but that adds a lot more managing and checking people's catches.