Wednesday about 3pm we left our house for Gunnison, Colorado. We decided to stay the night at a hotel in Gunnison since we would not get there till after dark. We made good time and arrived at Gunnison about 8pm. The drive is longer than a trip to Granby, but it's really a lot less stressful. Driving to Granby on 70, once you get out of Denver you have to drive up a huge incline to Idaho Springs. The whole trip the left lane is moving at 75 mph, and the right moves at about 25 mph. So it really sucks towing a trailer up to Idaho Springs. Then, once you get past Idaho Springs you have to go over Berthoud Pass! Berthoud pass is about 20 minutes of really tight switchbacks on a very exposed road. The summit puts you at about 11,300 feet in elevation. The trip to Blue Mesa has much much less incline and the only real obstacle is Monarch Pass. Is actually 5 feet higher in elevation, but the road is way less vertical and just feels a lot safer. Anyway, we spent the night in Gunnison then took off to make the 16 mile drive to the reservoir at about 5:30am.
At first Blue Mesa was a little intimidating because its a new body of water and it's so huge. New water always put me a little on edge for some reason hah. It didn't take long for me to relax. Once we had the boat launched and I was heading out of the bay I started to relax. We headed to the first spot of interest I had identified on a map. We fished in the Cebolla Basin in water about 85 feet deep. It didn't take long before I had two Blue Mesa lake trout :)
After that we hit a couple of other spots near by then decided to make the long haul to Sapinero Basin on the other end of the lake. I caught my very first Brown Trout ever there. I had no clue they would hang out in the deep water with lakers. Diane quickly caught two or three 20+ inch lakers. After that fishing was pretty slow for the rest of the day. We got rained on pretty much all day, but the wind was pretty calm... which was a REALLY nice break from Granby fishing.
The next two days fishing was pretty slow. This is pretty much expected when fishing for lakers in the hotter months of the year. I was marking lots of big fish on the sonar. They would come and look at our 2.5" radical glow jigs, then just swim off. We still managed to catch 5 or 6, but it was pretty slow. Our last day of fishing I started trying baits I don't really use often. Like jigging spoons and jigging raps. Fish did not seem very interested in them either. At that point I decided to try a huge 4" green tube jig with a heavy 3/4" ounce jig head. I had that jig in the water no more than five minutes and I started getting hard hits. I figured they were hitting the jig skirt so I pulled the jig up and modified it a little. I cut about 1/2" off the skirt then made vertical cuts up the tube jig to give the jig a lot of life in the water. Dropped it back down and had a nice 20" laker in a few minutes. We needed a break from the sun so we went in and had an early dinner. After dinner we went out again and fished for about an hour before the wind blew us off the lake. I used the green jig again and caught a nice size laker right away. As soon as I got the laker in the boat he threw up a large *green* perch in the boat. This was a major ah-ha moment for me haha.
I worked out that the smaller radical glow jigs we were using was getting reaction strikes from aggressive fish. It's a small jig that glows and we were working it pretty quick. It occurred to me that Blue Mesa doesn't really have mysis shrimp, so the jig probably didn't look like anything the lakers would normally feed on. So the fish would only hit it when they were feeling aggressive. When the fish were feeling lethargic at best they would ignore the radical glow, and at worst, they were probably scared off by the weird looking jig hah. The big green jig looked at lot like a perch. Because of the heavy 3/4" jig head I was using I had to work the jig a lot slower. I think this looked much more like a small perch dying. Most fish seeing a fish that they eat all the time dying in front of them will eat it. Even when they are feeling hot and lazy lol. So.. anyway, I remembered something I had known and used a lot in the past. I had just gotten into a rut using a pattern that had done so well for me in the past. Moral of the story, doing the same thing over and over, when it's clearly not working, and expecting different results is silly. Life lessons from fishing :)