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Discussion Starter #1
All,

Myself and two other guys are planning on ice fishing for the first time this Saturday. None of us have experience with ice fishing, although we are all avid fisherman (fly, boats, spincasting, etc). We each were given a task, mine is tactics. So, here I go...

1) How do we decide where to drill our holes?
2) Bait/lures?
3) Do you play with depths or does it depend on species?

I believe we are headed to Gross, though not sure yet. Also, any etiquette I should know about? For instance, is it bad form to set up 10 feet from another guys hole? Any input is appreciated.

Also, the other two guys were tasked with location, and gear. We will have all of the gear, including a hut, auger, rods, etc. I need to know things like the questions above.
 

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Gross is a tough cookie but has some macs, browns and kokes.

For macs try to find a point and vary depths from 10 to 50 ft at 10 ft increments, white tube jigs or silver Kastmasters and some sucker meat would be a good place to start for macs. CHECK the ice before going out there!

Tarryall, try something like a Berkey Atomic teaser in pink or orange, 10ft to 20ft of water.

Your best bet at catching something would be Tarryall IMO.

Jefferson... only if you have snowmobiles, gate to the lake will be closed, plus the road to the gate will most likely be drifted.
 

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I'd suggest Evergreen lake. It's relatively close to the Metro, safe ice if you can avoid the skaters, and they have some nice smallies in there. :thumb:

Otherwise, Pistol's recommendations are sound.
 

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St. Vrain you are guaranteed to catch fish. Evergreen is similar to Vrain but I'd say Vrain will be less crowded.

Ditch the hut and move around till you find fish.

For stocker trout use any small jig, I prefer green or pink, and tip with any of the following: wax worms, piece of nightcrawler, shrimp, or a meal worm.

It's also fun to have a kastmaster or swedish pimple tipped with any of the above or a minnow head. I've never used sucker meat but I'm sure it would work.

Get on the ice by at least 8am. I usually try to get on the ice by 6:30am if I don't have kids. Last week the bite slowed around 10am and was DEAD at 11am.
 

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fishing will vary, electronics very very helpful, others info. look at maps, lay of the land. varied depths at different times of day. Reports, experience.
Gross some small bows close to boulders, big tiger muskies, big lakers early. Sucker meat, eggs, tube jigs and various points.
Gross ice vary dangerous, water fluctuates. Always look for other out first until you check thickness. Deep deep lake. can be good and difficult. by damn and also ospere point.
 

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Is St Vrain out by Longmont? I see a whole bunch of ponds, which one do you fish?
Sandpiper and Mallard are good ones for consistent action on stocker bows.

I haven't fished Sandpiper, it tends to get more crowded, but even just driving up I see numerous people catching fish.

Just look for where somebody has drilled holes previously and you really can't go wrong.

Get a spring bobber for the rods. The bite tends to be light and the spring bobber really helps.

Deadsticking a rod works great. If you have electronics and mark some fish but they aren't taking it, set the rod down on the ice and hover your hand right above it. Watch that spring bobber and when they tap it snatch that rod up and set the hook!

Dallas is the king of Vrain, Listen to him!
Thanks Johnny! With four kids and Vrain being 7 minutes down the road it is a great place. Stockers for the kids and some little bass for dad to chase.
 

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Gross is a pretty ambitious lake to cut your teeth on. Hard lake to fish on any given day, and with this weather, the ice conditions will definitely be questionable. (it's more about the fluctuating water levels, as P-Diddy and Dogman pointed out)

If you're just wanting to fish for stocker trout, any metro area lake will do. Sounds like you might be northwest-ish. St. Vrain is a solid suggestion. All the ponds are small enough that you can work them quickly until you find fish.

Boyd, is another option.

Start simple. A minnow on a small hook or tiny jighead with a bobber will catch just about anything that swims in Colorado. As will a bit of night crawler or meal worm or wax worm.

Spoons, as has been suggested, also work well. Tip with any of the suggested bits of bait. Work them off of the bottom, and up the water column.

Like others have said, move around until you find fish, and yes, you most certainly will want to play with varied depth. I have fished as shallow as 10 FOW down to 80 FOW (depending on species). Typically though, 12-24 FOW will hold fish.

Good luck.
 

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Honestly, if you want a close mountain destination for some ok scenery, where you're not surrounded by campers and I-25 traffic like at Vrain, Evergreen is an option if you just want an easy place with safe ice to catch millions of slimers. I've taken my kids there several times. Just avoid the inlet area. Some big suckers in there too. Very few smallies tho. ;D
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everyone for your input! We are looking really closely at Tarryall now, Gross is out. Any thoughts on Tarryall?

And as far as tactics, my biggest question it where to drill holes. Look for previously drilled holes? Try to find points/structure using maps? I am getting some maps of the bottoms of lakes. Now that I have these, what am I looking for as far as where to drill a hole?

I assume that once I find a hole it is all about the proper bait/lure and depth, but if the hole is in a bad spot, none of that will matter. So, how do you find a spot to drill a hole?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Also, my friend said he thought St Vrain is catch and release only. Any truth to this? He is generally wrong about most things but I wanted to make sure before we went there. If it is catch and release, St Vrain is out.
 

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Certain ponds there are catch and release for certain species. I think its certain types of bass but just check their regulations. Really easy to find.
 

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Certain ponds there are catch and release for certain species. I think its certain types of bass but just check their regulations. Really easy to find.
Thanks, and glad I looked. Found this! http://cpw.state.co.us/aboutus/pages/calendar.aspx?calid=5121

Saturday, January 28: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

"Beginners Ice Fishing Clinic at St. Vrain State Park- Interested in ice fishing? Join Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Saturday, January 28, 9 am to noon, at Sandpiper Pond for an ice fishing clinic. Rods, jigs, bait, augers, and all the gear you need will be provided. Learn about place to ice fish, ice safety, and more!

​All participants 16 years or older must have a valid fishing license (and consider purchasing a 2nd rod stamp so you can fish with 2 poles!). Each vehicle must have a valid Colorado State Park Pass.

Participants must register in advance. As ice conditions may change rapidly on the Front Range, staff will be monitoring the ice conditions and reserve the right to cancel should conditions become unsafe."


Probably already booked, but I am going to look into it!
 

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Thanks everyone for your input! We are looking really closely at Tarryall now, Gross is out. Any thoughts on Tarryall?

And as far as tactics, my biggest question it where to drill holes. Look for previously drilled holes? Try to find points/structure using maps? I am getting some maps of the bottoms of lakes. Now that I have these, what am I looking for as far as where to drill a hole?

I assume that once I find a hole it is all about the proper bait/lure and depth, but if the hole is in a bad spot, none of that will matter. So, how do you find a spot to drill a hole?

Also, my friend said he thought St Vrain is catch and release only. Any truth to this? He is generally wrong about most things but I wanted to make sure before we went there. If it is catch and release, St Vrain is out.
There is one pond that is C&R, as it is managed for bass, other than that, you can keep fish at STV.
 

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There is one pond that is C&R, as it is managed for bass, other than that, you can keep fish at STV.
Just to clarify, at St. Vrain bald eagle pond is catch and release only for any bass and is artificial only. Blue heron, the large lake, is also catch and release only for all bass and has some restrictions on large cats as well. All other ponds you can keep your fish. On another note, no ice fishing allowed on pelican pond due to all the aerators.
 
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