Winter outdoor activities: Ice fishing part 1

Fishing enthusiasts know that there are no limitations to fishing all throughout the year, not even winter! In fact, winter brings along ice fishing fun! Ice fishing is a very popular sport in Colorado, where lakes freeze and the ice thickens enough to even set a small “shanty town” with hundreds of anglers. Enjoy the outdoors, breathe in some fresh winter air and practice this type of fishing with your family or friends. Let’s take a look at what is needed to ice fish and some considerations to keep in mind in this first post out of two.

Mile Hi Rafting Company, just 30 minutes from Denver, offers outdoor adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. We offer ATV and UTV tours and full overnight camping excursions; and help you plan your perfect outdoor day!

Ice-fishing equipment and preparation

Frozen lakes in Colorado State offer ideal conditions for ice fishing. Ice fishers use a sled or a vehicle to haul their equipment, as they need several things to get started. First, you need an ice auger or chisel to drill a hole in the ice. A skimmer is also used to scoop out slush from the hole and to keep it from closing. Depending on temperatures, a hole can close within minutes; that’s why some anglers use burners to avoid this from happening. Once you have a nice hole in place, you can then bring in your fishing equipment: bait bucket, fishing rod, lines, lures or jigs. A vital piece of equipment is a stool or something to sit on, as you won’t want to sit on the cold ice. Nowadays, technology offers many devices with sonars to find fish such as flashers. Fishing licenses are always required.

Considerations when Ice Fishing

  • Check ice thickness. Many anglers risk fishing on thin ice (2.5 inches), but the recommended thickness is 4 inches.
  • Rotten ice or soft ice. Late-winter warm spells can start to affect the ice composition, making it thinner and weaker. It’s extremely dangerous and something to be on the lookout for.
  • Vehicles on ice. Every year, many vehicles such as cars, snowmobiles and trucks fall through ice. It’s important to check the ice thickness when driving on ice, as it should range from 5 to 16 inches, depending on the vehicle.
  • Frostbite. Fishing out in the winter weather can easily lead to hypothermia and frostbite. Remember to dress accordingly, the more layers the better!
  • Recycle fish. Practicing catch and release helps keep the population and natural reproduction of fish species at a high level. All fish below the legal minimum length must be fishing Colorado.



Mile Hi Rafting’s convenient location makes it an ideal destination for day trips and vacations.  Whether you are heading out for your day of adventure or coming back from one-stop by for an ATV tour to finish your day. We offer child and group discounts. Come see us for your next adventure!