As weather warms up, lake ice starting to thin

With warmer temperatures making quick work of the ice pack on low-elevation lakes, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are cautioning anglers to be aware of thin ice on waters around the valley.

The recent spate of warm weather has turned the tables on anglers.

Area lakes and ponds are showing open water, in some cases a lot of it, and Parks and Wildlife officials are cautioning anglers about avoiding the cloudy ice still remaining.

It’s generally accepted that 3 inches of ice is the minimum needed to safely support one person, and it’s not unusual on shallower lakes to find weak spots where the ice is thinner than elsewhere.

“Even though there is still ice on our lakes, it may not be thick enough to support a person and could be very dangerous to walk on,” Highline Lake State Park Manager Alan Martinez said. “We do have shoreline fishing available at both Highline Lake and Mack Mesa Lake, so people still have opportunities available to them.”

Although there is open water at Highline and Mack Mesa lakes, the shoreline is wet and access likely quite muddy.

Open water also is found at Fruita, Connected Lakes, Corn Lake and Island Lake state parks.

Martinez said the dredging operations that began last fall at Highline Lake are expected to finish soon but park visitors still should expect heavy truck traffic between the east boat ramp and the East Bluffs Loop trail.

“Currently, they are moving dirt with large trucks in that area, so it is very busy and congested,” added Martinez. “Until the work has been completed, we ask park visitors to use extreme caution and give construction trucks the right-of-way.”

Part of the parking area along with the boat ramp on the east side has been marked off with bright orange cones to protect workers and visitors.

Highline Lake usually opens to motorboating March 1, or when the lake is completely free of ice, whichever happens first, but that will be delayed this year because it was partially drained last fall to accommodate the dredging operations.

Martinez said motorboats will not be permitted on Highline Lake until mid-April this year.

Martinez said only hand-carried craft or non-motorized boats that do not need an aquatic nuisance species inspection will be allowed on the lake when it opens.

As the work proceeds, the park will remain open to camping, shoreline fishing, hiking, biking and other outdoor recreation.

Information at Highline Lake State Park, 858-7208.


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