Ice Fishing – Where to go for trout

Finding a place to ice fish is easy, no matter where you live in Colorado. Nearly all public reservoirs and lakes are open to ice fishing.
Telling ice fishing stories
Ice Fishing

Finding a place to ice fish for trout is easy, no matter where you live in Colorado. From the mountains to the foothills, nearly all public reservoirs and lakes on both sides of the Continental Divide are open to ice fishing.

Some of the more popular destinations include the mountain park reservoirs, where the trout grow large and ice fishing begins earlier than at lower elevations. Ice fishing may get underway up here by mid-December. However, in some years, reservoirs and lakes may ice over later than usual, depending on the weather.  For information on ice-safety, please visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website

Ice fishers heading out at Crawford Reservoir
Ice fishers heading out for a day of fishing at Crawford Reservoir

North Park Locations

North Park’s lakes and reservoirs offer excellent ice fishing for trout. Winter comes early up here and the lakes are some of the first to ice over.

  • Lake John State Wildlife Area –  Lake John was reclaimed last summer to rid the lake of suckers, then stocked heavily with rainbows and Snake River cutthroats. Trout grow quickly in the lake’s weedy habitat, which is loaded with aquatic insects and crayfish.
  • Delaney Butte Lakes State Wildlife Area – The Delaney’s offer ice anglers a variety of trout including rainbows, Snake River cutthroats, brook trout and trophy-sized brown trout.
  • Seymour Lake State Wildlife Area – Seymour is off the beaten path and subject to winter-kill, but the weedy habitat is packed with scuds and the trout grow fat.

South Park Locations

South Park reservoirs are known for quality trout fishing and are favorite destinations for ice anglers from both sides of the Divide.

Eastern Plains Locations

Even on the Eastern Plains, opportunities exist for catching trout through the ice. Good fishing may be found at reservoirs such as Jackson Lake and North Sterling state parks. In recent years, Jumbo Reservoir State Wildlife Area near Cook has produced jumbo-sized rainbows.

Front Range Locations

Ice Fishing
Along the Front Range, it is especially important that anglers check ice conditions before heading out because of the region’s notoriously variable weather conditions. 

Ice fishers on the Front Range will find numerous trout-fishing opportunities at nearby state parks and reservoirs including:

Safety First

Before going onto a frozen lake, pond or river, it’s important to take safety precautions to reduce the risk of falling through the ice. Remember you take a risk any time you go onto the ice. Anglers should always decide for themselves if it is safe to go out and walk on or drive a snowmobile on ice. Before heading out, For information on ice-safety, please review the general guidelines for ice anglers that can be found on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

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