City to Drain Carson Lake for Dam Upgrade; Anglers Encouraged to Fish While Limit is Lifted

Carson Lake.JPG
Carson Lake Dam

The City of Grand Junction will drain Carson Lake on the Grand Mesa later this summer in anticipation of a City dam upgrade project. The project, which will span three years and three phases, will upgrade the dam which was constructed in 1947.

Beginning Friday, June 8, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will lift the bag and possession limit for all fish in Carson Lake in an effort to remove as many fish as possible from the lake prior to draining. All fish must be caught legally per CPW fishing regulations. All regulations other than bag and possession limit will still apply and all anglers must have a valid Colorado fishing license with them while fishing. No belly boats or float tubes will be allowed in the lake. More information about fishing, including fishing regulations, is available on the CPW website.

Carson Lake is located in the Kannah Creek Basin and is accessed from Lands End Road. The dam is being upgraded due to the development that has taken place downstream from the reservoir. There is currently no damage to the dam nor any danger; the upgrade is a proactive measure to assure efficacy into the future.

The lake will be drained in August or September of 2018 for an engineering firm to assess the structure for any potential future failure possibilities. In 2019, the lake will re-fill with water, but the fish will not be replenished while the engineering firm develops the construction specifications. In 2020, the lake will once again be drained for construction. In the spring of 2021, the lake will be refilled. CPW anticipates stocking the lake sometime in 2021, after the project is complete and the lake is refilled. Bag and possession limits may be reinstated in spring of 2021.

While Carson Lake is a popular fishing location on the Grand Mesa, there are hundreds of alternative lakes on the Grand Mesa that offer a variety of fishing opportunities. Anglers can find other places to fish on the Grand Mesa, and other areas of Colorado by utilizing the Fishing Atlas on the CPW website.

For general information related to the dam, contact Sam Rainguet, City of Grand Junction Communications Manager, at 970-244-1507 or

For general information related to fishing, contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 970-255-6100.

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