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Starting with a Clean Slate

Guest Blog by: Alan Peak 12/4/2011
I love the summer weather; the green leaves, camping trips and even the bugs of summer.  Open water, no matter what time of year, gets my attention.  My comfort zone of open water was crushed this weekend with the blistering cold weather and snow on the ground.  I know that these coming cold months filled with ice will be humbling after a bountiful summer.

Before I go any further, let me first explain myself.  I have not seen weather below 40 degrees in over two years now.  Because of training and deployments to Iraq, ice has been something only found in a beverage.  When a cold front came through Iraq in January, the temps dropped to 60 degrees.  We might have well been on the ice in the middle of Eleven Mile Lake.  

Ice is forming and I peer out the window wondering what I am going to do.  But wait, there is hope.  I have a new clean slate to start relearning something I have not done in twenty years; ice fish.  

My plan of attack is going to be as follows:  Safety first, watch, learn, and read everything I can.  I am going to treat myself like a kid for the first time in years; I am going to limit my time on the ice, and try not to frustrate myself.  The passive-aggressive fisherman inside of me will be brewing a couple extra containers of coffee, a good will offering to the knowledgeable.  Hopefully, this coffee will spare the lake from looking like Swiss cheese as I would otherwise dot the ice with random holes in search of fish.

Before I cut my first hole I have already learned that wax worms, spikes and meal worms tipped on tiny jigs should be included on the menu.  Depths I should look for are six to twelve feet of water.  The tip-up I used in Wisconsin perhaps will not fare well for trout here in Colorado.  The rest, for now, will be a mystery. 

I am going to give it a few weeks before I go out to the ice capped lakes.  All this talk of "good ice here" and "sketchy ice here" gives me the willies.  I am going to read all the reports as they start rolling in.  One thing I have learned in the Army is not to get comfortable with your surroundings and do not take needless risks.  I am excited about the season ahead of me, but I will not run out on a lake not knowing it is safe.

If you should see a long line of holes cut into the ice leading to a heavily dressed ice fisherman, come say hello!  Better yet, if anyone is willing to take their clean slate and share it, please email me.  We can learn together.

As always, feel free to email me at

-I would like to thank David Coulson the opportunity to put my thoughts, beliefs and knowledge into words.  I hope the ramblings of a Colorado transplant are entertaining and will help others.
Alan Peak is addicted to fishing. By day he is a fly fishing guide and by night he dreams of his next day on the water. You can find him guiding and fishing primarily on the South Platte nearly every day of the week. If Alan is not with his family he is guiding, fishing or tying flies. If you see Alan on the water, say hello! Normally, he ties a half dozen flies of the day for each day for people he meets on the river.
Blog content © Alan Peak
Member comments
IceFishingFool, CO   12/4/2011 4:11:30 AM
Welcome on board Alan, you mention in your bio, about lakes to icefish and list Spinney as one of them. Hate to tell you (Not allowed at Spinney.)
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   12/4/2011 7:48:11 AM
Thank you. Proof of the time I have been gone!
jshanko, CO   12/4/2011 9:29:43 AM
Welcome to the site Alan. As an older man I too have gotten back into the fishing scene after many years. Still, the thiught of getting on a frozen lake gives me an uncomfortable feeling. Hopefully I will be able to overcome this fear and enjoy the moment. Jon
brookieflyfisher, CO   12/4/2011 11:12:37 AM
I'm looking forward to watching your development as a fisherman happen through this blog. I always enjoy watching people learn. Good luck dude and I'd be more than willing to ice fish with you at some point.
brookieflyfisher, CO   12/4/2011 11:13:06 AM
Also: thank you for your service to our country, I really appreciate it.
reconfisher, CO   12/4/2011 12:44:58 PM
Welcome Alan! I'm sure we will see each other out there this year!
Alan Peak (moosegoose), CO   12/4/2011 1:00:09 PM
I am sure we will.
PikeD, CO   12/4/2011 5:25:19 PM
Colorado Outdoors just published an article on tip-ups, don't put them away just yet......
Bassnfly, CA   12/4/2011 7:52:33 PM
Welcome, Alan!
Alan Peak
Guest Blogger