A day away

Ice fishing provides relaxing atmosphere

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Area waters to fish

  • Yampa River - Moffat and Routt counties
  • Loudy-Simpson Park - Craig
  • Stagecoach Reservoir - South Routt County
  • Steamboat Lake - North Routt County
  • Pearl Lake - North Routt County
  • Trappers Lake - Rio Blanco County
  • Lake Avery - Rio Blanco County
  • Wolford Reservoir - Grand County

In Colorado, ice fishing gurus find mid-winter solace in the state's abundant streams, rivers and reservoirs full of fish. But don't make the mistake of thinking that ice fishing is synonymous with cold, windy days alone on the water.

"The big misconception is that you're out there freezing," said Craig Conrad, one of Craig's most avid fishermen. Conrad said that there have been times when he and his son have gone ice fishing in T-shirts in the middle of February.

And they live in a great region for getting bites in the snowy months.

Some of the best fishing spots are in and around the Yampa Valley - from landing the big one at Stagecoach

Reservoir to getting a hit on your line in the Yampa River, the ice fishing options available to the area are seemingly endless.

"I've had good luck," Conrad said. "Another thing that people don't know is that the fishing is actually better in the winter than in the summer."

For avid outdoorsmen, ice fishing brings an unparalleled feeling of solitude. It's just you and the great outdoors.

For many, ice fishing can seem complicated or intimidating. But with a few simple tools and a little luck, even the most inexperienced angler can snag a trophy catch.

Conrad recommends getting in touch with someone who knows the area, has the right equipment and can give you some tips on what to expect when you head out.

"It's not something you can do without the proper equipment," Conrad said. "It's minor equipment like the ice auger and the right rod."

A good place for a beginner to start is at Lake Avery, 19 miles east of Meeker in Rio Blanco County.

Offering a variety of species, the lake often produces bites every time out.

If it's trophy fishing and competition you seek, a great place to head is Wolford Reservoir.

Nestled about 50 miles southeast of Steamboat Springs, the town of Kremmling hosts an annual ice fishing tournament. On Feb. 17, the 10th annual Wolford Reservoir ice-fishing tournament will take place in Kremmling, with more than $3,000 in cash and prizes to the angler who gets the catch of the day.

With a number of bait and tackle stores in the Yampa Valley area, taking some time out of your vacation to test the waters is as easy as making a phone call, and the experience can provide you with great memories and photos.

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