Ice Fishing – Where to go for trout

Ice fishers heading out at Crawford Reservoir

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, visit http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Reports/Pages/safety.aspx

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

  • Antero Reservoir State Wildlife Area – Antero is famous for producing good catches of heavy rainbow and cuttbow hybrids. Although it receives a lot of ice-fishing pressure and is subject to winter kill, it maintains a large population of trout.
  • Eleven Mile Reservoir State Park – This is another popular destination for rainbows, browns, and kokanee salmon.
  • Tarryall Reservoir State Wildlife Area –  A scenic spot with less fishing pressure than other South Park destinations. Good for catching numbers of rainbows and browns.

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.

Ice fishers on the Front Range will find numerous trout-fishing opportunities at nearby reservoirs including, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Aurora and many others.

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