Colorado Ice Fishing: What You Need to Know Before You Go | Fly Fishing Colorado
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Colorado Ice Fishing: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Colorado is a very popular destination to visit if you have ever wanted to try and catch some trout. Most of the time you will see fly fishing associated with Colorado which is primarily a spring, summer and, fall activity but one of Colorado’s hidden gems is the abundant amount of fish hiding under the layers of ice during the winter. Ice fishing is a very easy and economical sport to get into. Here is all the information you need to know about going ice fishing in Colorado. 

2000 Years of Ice Fishing

Image taken from page 68 of ‘Nimrod in the North, or hunting and fishing adventures in the Arctic regions’

Now that I have your attention you may be wondering what ice fishing is all about. Its pretty much just what it sounds like. It is fishing through a sheet of ice on a lake. Each fisherman has a different tactic of how to they ice fish. Some use fishing poles, others use netting, and if you’re really looking for an adventure then you can try fishing with a spear. Ice fishing began as a form of survival for many years especially in the places when rivers and ponds would freeze over and you wouldn’t be able to traditionally fish to catch your food. Nowadays people have a wide range of equipment and techniques that they use when they embark on an ice fishing adventure.

Gear Up

When gearing up for a fly fishing trip you will notice that there are people who will have basically a little home set up on the ice and will spend top dollar for their equipment. But paying top dollar on equipment is not always what you need to do to catch the biggest or the most fish. If you are looking to go Ice fishing for the first time ever be sure that you go with either a guide or a friend who knows how to ice fish. You will not want to just pick a random lake or pond and try to fish on it. There are many risks that you could encounter including the thickness of the ice and if you are even allowed to fish there. You also will need to make sure that you prepare for the elements by dressing in many layers and having proper shoes so that you do not freeze or slip and hurt yourself. It is always a good idea to bring more layers with you than less. If you are looking to bring the bare minimum need to go ice fishing you will need to bring a fishing pole bait and pickle buckets and hopefully find an abandoned fishing hole to fish out of. The majority of the professional ice fishermen will have a little tent to shelter them from the elements and have a device that they can put in the water to monitor their lines and fish activity.

Here is a list of all the most necessary equipment needed to make your ice fishing trip a success.

  • Jigging ice fishing rod and reel
  • Live bait container (stocked with live bait)
  • Terminal tackle
    • Line clippers
    • Fish grabbers
    • Pilers
    • Hooks
    • Sinkers
  • Ice Augur
  • Retractable Ice Pick
  • Sled to tote gear
  • Bucket
  • Chair
  • Ice Shanty

Find the Right Spot

Picking the right lake is an essential element in the world of Ice Fishing. Since Colorado is home to so many different species of fish this is a crucial step. You should be selecting your fishing spot based off of where you are and what kind of fish you are looking to catch. Keep in mind the lakes of Colorado are fresh water so we do not have any sharks or swordfish. Some of the best lakes in Colorado to fish at and catch Rainbow Trout are Lake Granby up by Granby, Colorado or Eleven Mile Reservoir Located in Park County, Colorado. If you are looking to catch Walleyes Check out Chatfield Reservoir which is located less than an hour away from Denver, Colorado and Trinidad Lake State Park which is located just 20 minutes from the Colorado and New Mexico Border. Wherever you end up fishing be sure to check the thickness of the ice before you step out there that way you can stay safe throughout your fishing adventure.

To be successful at ice fishing in Colorado be sure that you are keeping yourself safe and warm by dressing appropriately appropriately for the trip. Make sure that if it is your first ice fishing experience that you go with someone who knows what they are doing and can show you have to ice fish so that you can do it on your own. Be sure to bring the proper equipment to be successful and that you have extras just in case something gets lost or the weather takes a turn. Lastly, always plan your trip around what kind of fish you are looking to catch. That way you can actually have a chance of catching the fish based off the bait you buy. 


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