Guide To Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In Colorado
Favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.
The best ice fishing lakes in CO include Lake Granby, Eleven Mile Reservoir and Harvey Gap Reservoir. The most popular species are rainbow trout, yellow perch and kokanee salmon. See a list of lakes and species below.
Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.
Ice fishing in Colorado is a beloved winter activity that offers anglers a unique opportunity to fish in a serene and frozen landscape. Despite the chilly temperatures, ice fishing enthusiasts can still target a variety of fish species in Colorado's frozen lakes and reservoirs.
Trout, including rainbow trout, brown trout, and cutthroat trout, are popular targets for ice fishermen. These cold-water species thrive in the icy depths and provide exciting challenges for anglers. Additionally, kokanee salmon, walleye, yellow perch, and northern pike are also commonly sought after during ice fishing expeditions.
When it comes to ice fishing methods, anglers typically drill holes through the thick ice and set up their fishing gear. Tip-ups and tip-downs are commonly used to suspend bait below the ice, allowing anglers to detect bites and reel in their catch. Jigging is another popular technique, where anglers use small, specialized lures or bait to entice fish. Flashers or fish finders are often utilized to locate fish beneath the ice and maximize the chances of a successful catch.
Safety is paramount when participating in ice fishing. It is essential to ensure the ice is thick enough to support your weight before venturing out. Ice thickness should be at least four inches for walking and at least 12 inches for vehicles. Wearing appropriate winter clothing, including insulated boots and layers, is crucial to stay warm in the freezing temperatures. It is also advisable to fish with a buddy and carry safety equipment such as ice picks, a flotation device, and a rope in case of emergencies. Regularly checking the ice conditions and being aware of any changes in weather patterns are essential for a safe and enjoyable ice fishing experience.
Colorado's picturesque frozen lakes and reservoirs offer a serene setting for ice fishing, allowing anglers to enjoy the beauty of winter while pursuing their passion. With proper preparation, adherence to safety measures, and knowledge of the specific regulations for each fishing location, anglers can have a successful and memorable ice fishing adventure in Colorado.
Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species
There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.
Grass Valley Reservoir
Harvey Gap Reservoir
Jackson Gulch Reservoir
Rifle Gap Reservoir
Click the images for species details.
This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.
Basic ice fishing tips and techniques video.
Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.
Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish
Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.
Best ice fishing method for walleye
Four basic lures are all you need. Ice jigs are minnow shaped with a tail that causes them to fall in a circular patter. Drop them to the desired depth (often to the bottom), then lift the bait a few feet to let it fall on slack line. Spoons: Metal slabs in chrome or a wide array of colors are used to jig up-and-down mimicking a dying baitfish. Lipless crankbaits: Fish like a spoon. Jigs: Use slightly larger jigs than for crappie, preferably with a flashing blade attached. Tip with live bait and let it sit, up a ways from the bottom typically 1 to 3 feet. A general tip is to always keep your bait off the bottom, one to 5 feet is an ideal place to start. Additional information about ice fishing for walleye.
Best ice fishing method for trout
Trout focus on small forage fish in winter, so baits that flash silver - jigs or spoons, do well in attracting trout. Dual rods, where legal, are very effective. One rod with a jig/live bait set up on a tip-up, the second with a spoon fished up and down pretty aggressively. See more detail about ice fishing for trout.
Best ice fishing method for bass
Bass are often found closer to the shoreline than schooling fish. Fish the same as other species, using a bit larger baits and slightly heavier line. Be prepared to battle using your drag if you hook a big one. Additional information about ice fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Best ice fishing method for pike and musky
Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.
Click here for a Colorado fishing license.
States with notable ice fishing.