Ice fishing safety and tips for anglers |

Ice fishing safety and tips for anglers

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Courtesy of photos.comIce fishing can be a fun way to bring friends and family together in the winter.

For ice fishing in and around the Vail Valley, check out Nottingham Lake in Avon or Twin Lakes just south of Leadville in Lake County. There are also many other opprotunities to ice fish in high mountain lakes around the region.

For many the ice fishing season is just getting underway. Anglers are reminded to make safety a top priority. No fish is worth the possibility of breaking through unsafe ice.

As a rule, many of the bodies of water found along the Front Range, Eastern Plains and in the Western Slope’s Grand Valley never freeze solid enough to allow safe ice fishing.

If they do freeze, it’s only for a short time period.

Two things factor into how much weight ice can support – the quality and thickness of the ice.

Clear solid ice is stronger then milky, cracked or slushy ice.

Ice thickness can vary widely on the same lake or reservoir. Springs, pressure ridges, snow cover, wind, water inflow and outflow and even the presence of waterfowl can all cause ice thickness to vary.

Here are a few common sense rules:

* Immediately following freeze-up, ice toward the middle of a lake is thinner than ice along the shoreline.

* Beware of lakes covered with snow. Heavy snow cover slows freezing and can cause overflow.

* Ice thickness is not always an accurate measure of its strength. Clear ice is strongest and new ice is stronger than old ice.

* Stay on traveled routes that indicate solid ice and also areas of good fishing.

Having a long rope is a good safety idea, too. Never venture out on ice alone and be aware of changing conditions that could make ice unsafe.

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