From flowing rivers to alpine lakes, Colorado is home to countless fishing destinations that continue to attract winter anglers for ice fishing. The sport comes with its own unique challenges: an auger is needed to dig holes in the ice and other fishing and safety equipment. Of course, a little knowledge also increases your chances of success. Find ten great places to ice fish in Colorado below, with options for all experience levels:
Just a short drive from downtown Denver, Evergreen Lake is easily accessible and full of winter recreation. It’s one of the best places nearby for ice skating, pond hockey and ice fishing. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout and surrounded by snowy peaks, but expect to share the scenery with crowds, especially on weekends. Note that the ice thickness is inconsistent; contact 720-880-1000 for current conditions.
Chatfield Reservoir attracts visitors in all seasons as it is a prime destination for summer boaters and winter anglers. The state park is also home to one of the best campgrounds in the Denver area, with C Loop sites 103 through 153 open year-round. Take a day trip or weekend getaway to enjoy ample opportunities to fish for bass, rainbow trout, walleye and catfish. Contact 303-791-7275 for current ice conditions and plan to purchase a $10 daily vehicle pass.
From I-70, you’ll often see parked trucks and tents set up on the frozen surface of Lake Georgetown. Even in cold temperatures, it’s a popular choice given its proximity to the city and nearby attractions like snowshoe trails and the Georgetown Loop Railroad. Of course, the quality of the fishing is also a major draw, with many lucky anglers landing impressive trout. If you’re new to ice fishing, book a two- or four-hour excursion through the nearby Lawson Adventure Park & Resort. Pricing starts at $99 per person.
Located about two hours from Denver, Granby is another mountain town worth visiting this winter. Here you’ll find Snow Mountain Ranch, one of the best places for sledding and cross-country skiing in Colorado. Fifteen miles north of this attraction is Lake Granby, the second largest lake in the state and a local favorite for ice fishing. Given the sprawling area, novices are likely to benefit from a guided experience. Book a four-hour “catch big fish” or “catch your limit” excursion on Fishing With Bernie, starting at $400.
FishExplorer.com is a great resource for trip reports, and according to a recent visitor to Antero Reservoir, ice conditions are solid around the perimeter of the reservoir. Antero Reservoir is stocked with a wide variety of trout, including hybrids such as the cutbow, a cross between a cutbow trout and a rainbow trout. In fact, the Colorado cutthroat was caught here, weighing in at 18.5 pounds!
Catch trout at several of these Colorado ice fishing destinations.
Unsplash / Jack Murray
In the summer, Twin Lakes is home to one of the best mountain beaches in the state and quiet spots for paddling. Come winter, it’s a great place to experience ice fishing, but consider waiting a couple more weeks as a recent visitor reported thin ice conditions. Once the ice is at least four inches thick, anglers will be delighted with the opportunity to find a trophy lake trout. The surrounding views are another reason to visit, with 14,439-foot Mount Elbert creating a spectacular backdrop.
Eleven Mile Deposit
Eleven Mile State Park is known as one of the best fishing destinations in Colorado. In other words, it is known for producing large trout, with an average catch of rainbow trout measuring between seventeen and 21 inches. Given its reputation and location an hour west of Colorado Springs, it’s often busy on weekends. But even so, with 3,400 hectares of surface, the reservoir allows all visitors to claim a place. Just be careful: conditions are thin in areas; call 719-748-3401 for more information. Please note that a $10 daily vehicle pass is required.
Chambers Lake is about three hours from Denver and is directly west of Fort Collins. It’s a long day trip, but those willing to make the trip will find fewer crowds and plenty of fish. Cast a line from the inlet bay for a chance at rainbow trout, or from the steep eastern slopes where large lake trout are often reported. Chambers Lake is also stocked with kokanee salmon, which occasionally bite the luckier ice anglers.
Located four and a half hours from Denver, Crawford State Park is perfect for a weekend getaway. The drive is long but incredibly scenic, passing some of Colorado’s most iconic ski resorts and hot springs. Unlike other destinations on this list, yellow perch are the most common catches here. Crappie, walleye, catfish and bass also swim under the ice. Contact 970-921-5721 for current conditions and expect to pay $10 for a daily vehicle pass.
Taylor Park Depot
Located an hour east of Crested Butte, Taylor Park Reservoir is very popular in the summer. But given its remote location, it is less visited in the winter months. Enjoy solitude and unbeatable mountain views while ice fishing for pike and a variety of trout, including mighty trophy fish that reach over two feet in length! To experience Taylor Park Reservoir like an expert, book a six-hour tour with Ice Fish Colorado. Pricing varies by group size and all equipment, including snowmobiles and ice houses, is included.