Colorado Ice Fishing with Vail Valley Anglers

Your family has skied for three days straight. Muscles are sore and backs are tired. The kids and you need a break from the slopes. Now is the perfect time to call Vail Valley Anglers and take the family on an ice fishing adventure. There can be a lot of misunderstood anxiety surrounding an ice fishing experience. Settling your spirits by covering a few common misconceptions will prep you for a quality day on the ice. The right information ahead of time prepares any individual or family for an enjoyable and memorable Colorado experience. 

Where We Go:

Vail Valley Anglers has access to a variety of ice fishing locales to offer a different Colorado experience every day. Our “hard water” locations cover State Parks, high elevation impoundments and easily accessible state wildlife areas. With ice fishing specific gear our guides cater to anglers looking to have a true Colorado winter experience with memories.

Sylvan Lake State Park:

A shining star located just south of the town of Eagle, Colorado. Placed up high in the red rock cliffs Sylvan Lake recently received a new dam and asubsequent restocking of the lake. The trout found in Sylvan are healthy, active and willing to eat a variety of offerings. The most scenic locale Vail Valley Anglers ice fishes Sylvan Lake. Sylvan Lake is pure Colorado eye candy with the added bonus of ice fishing for trout. 

Family ice fishing on Sylvan Lake near Eagle, CO.
Family ice fishing on Sylvan Reservoir near Eagle, CO.

Gypsum Ponds State Wildlife Area:

Located adjacent to Interstate 70 in the town of Gypsum is an easily accessible ice fishing destination for families with younger children or anglers with difficulties walking. The close proximity to the parking area allows ice anglers the ability to access vehicles quickly if needed for warmth or for bringing along a picnic for the ice. The Ponds in Gypsum are regularly stocked with a variety of species from the well-known rainbow trout to bluegill, crappie, yellow perch, and smallmouth bass. The ice angler receives a pleasant surprise here as you never know what will come up through the ice.

Black Lakes:

On top of Vail Pass is another scenic location with a large population of catchable trout. Stocked by Colorado Parks and Wildlife regularly with larger than average sized trout makes Black Lakes a unique locale to fish. Between the scenery and the fishing, Black Lakes is a great early season body of water to ice fish as the ice forms a little bit earlier at this elevation.

Stagecoach Reservoir:

Ice anglers willing to take a longer drive to target alternative fish through the ice regularly head to Stagecoach Reservoir for their ice fishing adventures. Packed with a large population of trout in the 3-5 pound category as well as a regular replenishment of stocker-sized rainbows Stagecoach Reservoir is a trout fishing treasure. The ability to set your sights on other ice fishing species like the Northern Pike makes Stagecoach an ice fishing mecca.

The Gear:

Ice fishing specific gear is compact and light. Finesse is often the key to repeatable success on the “hard water.” Vail Valley Anglers’ guides all provide the rods and reels that enhance the ice fishing experience.  The ice fishing in Colorado is unbelievably pleasant and often necessitates are steady supply of sunscreen.

Young male holding a fish near Eagle, CO
A hearty Rainbow Trout caught through the ice.

Visitors that are interested in an ice fishing adventure to accompany their ski week have already packed the appropriate cross-over gear. Ski jackets that provide the necessary warmth for the slopes do as well on the ice. Waterproof boots keep feet dry and ensure warmth for the entire day. And the ski socks you bought for the slopes are perfect for the frozen lake.

Gloves keep hands warm especially after handling a cold trout. However, a soaked glove that is not waterproof will chill hands for the rest of the trip. Hand warmers help to keep fingers toasty. And a thin buff pulled up snugly around your face and ears battles the cool breezes that blow across lakes from sneaking down your neck.

Sunglasses are a necessity for preventing a headache caused by squinting when the sun is shining brightly on the snow. Just like ski goggles on the slopes sunglasses allow your eyes to relax in adverse conditions. 

Camp chairs fold up into compact packages and fit into sleds perfectly. Ultimately, chairs provide comfort for all anglers out on the ice. Positioned around an active hole an angler can manage their line and detect strikes more efficiently from a chair. A pop-up ice fishing shelter is another amenity providing for a more pleasant experience. The darkness created by a shelter allows angler’s visibility through the water and under the ice.

The guides at Vail Valley Anglers understand the little things that can make or break a day out on the ice. A thermos filled with steaming hot cocoa is a welcomed and unexpected treat out on a frozen lake. All of the Vail Valley Anglers guides bring along a cooler not to keep things cold but to prevent things from freezing solid.

Infectious Excitement:

When it comes to wintertime family activities ice fishing is a great alternative to another day on the slopes. Above all, Vail Valley Anglers’ guides deliver expert advice and individualized attention to all the members of your group. With anglers fishing near each other, they can all share in the excitement when the trout start to bite. The excitement is infectious when one angler hooks uplifting everyone’s spirits. And when everyone is in on the bite the whole event is a success.

Dressed in your warmest gear and paired up with an experienced ice fishing guide from Vail Valley Anglers, individuals and families enjoy the experience of a lifetime. Colorado winter scenery compliments our guided ice fishing adventures perfectly. And the ice fishing guides at Vail Valley Anglers deliver a first-class experience for both experienced anglers and newbies alike. Easing the anxiety surrounding ice fishing for new anglers the guides at Vail Valley Anglers deliver an unforgettable Colorado experience.

For more information on ice fishing check out the link here or call the shop at 1.877.926.0900 to book your guided ice fishing trip.

Michael Salomone, Fly Fishing and Ice Fishing Guide & Content Writer