Cold winter weather brings ice fishing fun | CraigDailyPress.com

Cold winter weather brings ice fishing fun

The ice on the southern side of Elkhead Reservoir has not yet connected with the shore. Ice fishing must wait for colder weather.

— Freezing temperatures have frozen some area lakes providing anglers with an opportunity for ice fishing fun.

Trout fishing has been reported as good at Steamboat Lake.

"We are seeing some good ice," said Steamboat and Pearl Lake State Park Ranger Josh Stoudt. "Fishing has been going pretty well. The ice is still setting so as always use caution."

He suggests stay to the marina side of the lake.

"Out in the middle there is a slush layer still on top of the ice," Soudt said.

The ice fishing season is well underway at Stagecoach Reservoir.

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Rangers report ice between 8 to 10 inches thick in places like Morrison Cove and over water in the southwest corner of the park.

The park will hold the Sixth Annual Ice Fishing Tournament from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Jan. 7. The tournament is limited to 200 paid entries. Cash prizes will be awarded to the top five contestants. Youth (15 and under) can participate for free and are eligible for non-cash prizes. Colorado Parks and Wildlife 2016-17 regulations apply. For a complete set of rules contact the park office on 970-736-2436.

"Elkhead is getting close. The north end of the lake has more ice than other areas. The southern end of the lake is not safe yet," said Yampa River State Park Manager Jacob Brey.

To fish at any state park requires a park entry pass and a fishing license.

Day passes are available from any state park office, self-serve kiosks at the main entrance to most parks and annual parks passes are available for purchase online.

"Since April 1, 2009, all annual licenses including fishing, senior fishing, small game, furbearer, combination fishing and hunting, Colorado waterfowl stamps, habitat stamps and walk-in access permits are valid from April 1 through March 31 of the following year," said Northwest Region Senior Aquatic Biologist Lori Martin. "Annual licenses no longer expire on January 1. The calendar-based system was changed to a season-year format, so licenses coincide better with our small game seasons."

In Craig, a number of retailers sell fishing licenses, equipment and bait including Uncle Bubba's Bait and Tackle Shop inside Car Quest of Craig that also sells ice-fishing supplies.

Ice fishing safety guidelines are available from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

Stay safe on the ice

Area rivers and streams should be avoided when ice fishing.

“There is always a risk of fishing on ice on moving water and we do not recommend it,” said Yampa River State Park Manager Jacob Brey.

The Rule of Thumb for Ice

• Two inches or less – stay off

• Four inches of good ice should hold a walking individual

• Six inches of good ice should hold a snowmobile or ATV

• Eight to 12 inches of good ice should hold car or small pickup

• 12 to 15 inches of good ice should hold a medium pickup truck

Source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

For updates on conditions at Stagecoach Reservoir call 970-736-2436.

For updates on conditions at Elkhead Reservoir call 970-276-2061.

For updates on conditions at Steamboat Lake call 970-879-3922.