Ice is nice

Ice fishing strategies vary depending on the angler

Ice fishing lures come in a variety of colors and styles depending on what the fish are attracted to on a given day. Most anglers prefer small lures.

There always are the curious, the ones who put forth such questions as, “Isn’t it cold out there?” and “Are the fish really biting?” and “How do you know how thick the ice is?”

Good questions, of course, and in order the answers are: sometimes; usually; and you measure it.

Ice fishing isn’t rocket science, although some ice anglers have enough equipment to supply the International Space Station.

It can be minimalistic, with tiny baits, short rods and light lines, or highly electronic, with all of the above plus a fish-finder, underwater camera and all-season fishing hut, depending on the effort and cash you put into the sport.

But novice or long-time ice angler, there always is more to learn, and some of those questions, and perhaps some of the mystery, about ice fishing will be answered when Colorado Parks and Wildlife hosts a free ice-fishing clinic Jan. 11 at Crawford State Park.

The clinic starts at 10 a.m. with an introductory lesson at the park’s visitors center and then moves to the ice at noon.

In midwinter, you’ll find most anglers at Crawford huddled near the dam, where the deepest water is pooled and the crappie, perch and occasional bass and northern pike are lurking.

The clinic will end about
2 p.m. Local experts will display different types of ice-fishing equipment, explain how it is used and provide demonstrations.

Clinic leaders also will talk specifically about strategies for fishing Crawford Reservoir, especially where and how to catch crappie and northern pike.

“Conditions for ice fishing this season are ideal at Crawford,” said Scott Rist, head ranger at Crawford State Park. “This is a great activity that’s inexpensive and suitable for all ages. And you’ll catch some great-tasting fish.”

Anglers who have their own equipment should bring it. Those who plan to fish must have a Colorado fishing license, which may be purchased at the park.

Dare we say dress warmly?

Crawford State Park is located on Colorado Highway 92 about one mile south of the town of Crawford.

And if you get hooked, or maybe just want to give yourself a chance to practice everything you learn, the ice-fishing tournament season is just beginning.

The Mountain Air Mechanical Ice Fishing Tournament at Rifle Gap Reservoir is set for Jan. 18–19. For more information go online to

Also, the Collbran Lions Club is hosting its annual Vega Reservoir Ice Fishing Tournament on Feb. 1. Call Glenn Stoll at Vega Lodge, 970-487-3733, for more information.


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