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Ice Fishing for Beginners: 5 Things must know before Ice Fishing in Colorado

By: Ali Stevens 

Ice Fishing, put simply, is when you a drill a hole, set a line, and wait for fish to bite. It was originally used to help gather and sustain food throughout the winter months. But in modern times it is now widely enjoyed for sport/recreation. It is a great way to take in the mountain scenery and fresh air in the winter.

Ice Fishing

Ice Fishing in Colorado:

#1 When: The Ice Fishing season in Colorado usually starts in early December and lasts until late February to early March, depending on ice conditions/weather.

#2 Where: Ideally you want to be looking for fishing areas such as lakes or ponds that are deeper than 10 feet.

#3 What to look for: While finishing in Colorado please follow the CO Parks and Wildlife’s “rule of thumb for ice”

  • 2 Inches or less of ice – STAY AWAY!!!
  • 4 Inches of good ice will hold a walking individual
  • 6 inches of ice for a snowmobile/ ATV
  • 8-12 inches of ice for a car or small pick- up truck
  • 12-15 inches for a medium sized pick- up truck

It is always recommended to fish with friends! Ice conditions can vary, even on the same lake or pond due to fluctuating temperatures. So please double check before you go out to ensure safety. Also always remember, there is no guaranteed “safe ice”.

#4 What to bring: Fishing in the winter is going to require some specific gear.

Here is a list of some essentials that will be needed for your trip!:

  • Boots
  • Gloves
  • Base Layers
  • Outwear
  • Warm Hat
  • Ice Auger
  • Ice Shelter (if desired)
  • Cooler
  • Fillet Table
  • Fillet Knife
  • Rods/ Reels
  • Bait

#5 Top Places to Ice Fish in Colorado

Ruedi Reservoir: Easily accessible 1200-acre reservoir stocked with populations of Trout, Perch, and Salmon

Rifle Gap Reservoir: 350-acre reservoir stocked with German Brown Trout, Walleye, Pike, Small and Large Mouth Bass, and Yellow Perch.

Harvey Gap State Park Reservoir: 190- acre lake well known for its catches of catfish, largemouth and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie, rainbow trout and northern pike.

One of the best places to ice fish in Colorado is Twin Lakes! Two high alpine lakes have about 2700 acres of water to fish on. Fish to be caught here include Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Longnose Sucker, Snake river Cutthrout and White Sucker.

These lakes sit at the base of Mt. Elbert, Colorado’s highest peak! On February 10, 2020 to February 11, 2020 the 22nd Annual Ice Fishing Derby will be held. It is the longest, competitive derby in the state. Prizes and lots of family friendly fun will be available.


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