Adobe Creek Reservoir, Colorado, USA

Lake Locations:

USA - West - Colorado - Southeast -

Also known as:  Blue Lake

For the true, unhurried western vacation in Southeastern Colorado, make the trip to Adobe Creek Reservoir. The reservoir, also known as Blue Lake presents a welcome surprise oasis in the dry Colorado southeastern plains. Hidden discretely off the beaten track, Adobe Creek Reservoir is known most popularly as a hunting, fishing and bird-watching site. It’s an ideal location for a driving vacation, perhaps with kids and boat in tow.

Straddling the Kiowa/Bent County lines, Adobe Creek Reservoir is located in a historical area that was prominent in the settlement of America’s West. A few miles south, the Santa Fe Trail carried wagon trains westward as far as California. Less than 20 miles north, a monument marks the location of a tragic massacre of the Cheyenne and Arapaho by US Army forces. Both tribes were camped under the protection of the American flag at Sand Creek at the time. Within a forty mile radius, historic forts, such as Bent’s Fort and Fort Lyon, have been preserved as museums to impart history to new generations. Gone are the vast herds of bison, the nomadic tribal lifestyles of Native Americans, and the trail-blazing stories of hunter-explorers such as Kit Carson. In their place came farmers attempting to eke out a living on the dry prairie land.

Irrigation is a way of life at Adobe Creek Reservoir; archeological evidence of rudimentary irrigation ditches dating to well before the arrival of European settlers has been found in the area. Although there is evidence that the region has seen wetter periods over the last thousand years, water has always been a somewhat scarce commodity on the high plains. Settlers with engineering expertise soon began to build a system of water storage and irrigation to water crops. Adobe Creek was dammed sometime in the late 1800’s; the Fort Lyon Canal Company built an improved dam around 1910.

Water stored at the dam doesn’t directly irrigate local fields, but is secondary storage for other reservoirs on the Arkansas River. Water travels throughout the system by an ingenious network of canals and dikes, and water levels at Adobe Creek Reservoir vary greatly. The impoundment sometimes drops to less than 2000 surface acres in drought years. Other years, the water surface exceeds 4000 acres. Although the Fort Lyon Canal Company owns the reservoir, the lake is managed by the Colorado Division of Wildlife by lease agreement for wildlife management.

Adobe Creek Reservoir is available to all types of water sports, including boating, sailing, wind surfing and water skiing. Several boat launch ramps, both at normal water level and for low-water, use are located on the northern portion of the reservoir. Restrooms are available but no other amenities are provided at the reservoir itself. Primitive camping is allowed anywhere along the 15 miles of shoreline, but there are no hook-ups and no water available.

Fishing is consistently good at Adobe Creek Reservoir. The warm-water fishery is home to walleye, crappie, bass, bluegill, wiper, tiger muskie, carp and catfish. In season, hunting for deer, antelope, rabbit, pheasant, scaled quail, mourning dove and waterfowl draws hunters. The Division of Wildlife digs hunting pits in the field for decoy hunting and around the lake for firing lines.

The Adobe Creek Reservoir shoreline is a favorite bird watching site, especially during seasonal migration. Least terns and piping plovers nest here, particularly on the small island. The island is posted as closed during nesting season; these are state endangered species. Keep your eyes open for prairie longspurs and mountain plovers. This is an excellent site for viewing prairie birds, however the hiker should be on the look-out for rattlesnakes and wear appropriate footwear. Every February, the Lamar Chamber of Commerce hosts the High Plains Snow Goose and Birding Festival at nearby Eads, attracting many visitors to this celebration of visiting Plains birds, birding information and art exhibits and crafts.

Lodgings for visitors to Adobe Creek Reservoir may be found in Eads, Las Animas, Lamar and La Junta. Near John Martin Reservoir, about 10 miles south, many vacation rentals are available. These nearby cities and towns also provide convenience shopping, golf and a wealth of historical museums and markers. Real estate is available for those wishing a small-town atmosphere in an historic area. Visitors can hike along the Santa Fe Trail, or visit The Kiowa County Historical Museum, the Kit Carson Museum on the Santa Fe Trail, the Koshare Indian Museum at La Junta and the Otero Museum Complex with its restored buildings. These locations are all near US 50 which runs parallel to the Santa Fe Trail. In the area north of the reservoir, visitors can view the Sand Creek Massacre Historical Site, the Artist of The Plains Art Gallery in Eads, Jackson Pond Natural Area south of Eads, Woelk Park historical exhibits in nearby Sheridan Lake or bicycle a portion of the Prairie Horizons Trail section of the Transamerica Bicycle Trail near Haswell.

As Adobe Creek Reservoir is only 180 miles southeast of Denver, it’s accessible to the weekend visitor. For a refreshingly serene break from the big city, visit the Adobe Creek Reservoir area, learn some history first-hand and drop a line into the un-crowded waters. Bring the boat, perhaps the camper and unwind the High Plains way.

Things to do at Adobe Creek Reservoir

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Water Skiing
  • Wind Surfing
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Hunting
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • Museum
  • Shopping

Fish species found at Adobe Creek Reservoir

  • Bass
  • Bluegill
  • Carp
  • Catfish
  • Crappie
  • Muskellunge
  • Perch
  • Pike
  • Sunfish
  • Tiger Muskellunge
  • Walleye

Adobe Creek Reservoir Photo Gallery

    Adobe Creek Reservoir Statistics & Helpful Links

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    Lake Type: Artificial Reservoir, Dammed

    Water Level Control: Colorado Division of Wildlife

    Surface Area: 5,029 acres

    Shoreline Length: 15 miles

    Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 4,128 feet

    Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 4,122 feet

    Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 4,136 feet

    Average Depth: 11 feet

    Maximum Depth: 35 feet

    Water Volume: 87,000 acre-feet

    Trophic State: Eutrophic

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    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

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    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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