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Dave Bryant
"Ice Stick" - Guest Blogger

Early Ice Frenzy

Guest Blog by: Dave Bryant , CO 11/28/2018

Here we go!  Another ice season started for many of us. Right in our own back yard we have access to some close, safe, early ice. With a little work and some good planning you might want to look at the Fall River area. There are a couple of great lakes that offer some pretty good action. What is nice about these lakes is you probably will not find another person up there. There is nothing better than putting the first holes on a clear mountain lake.

Anglers will find some beautiful Cutbows and Brookies and on the upper lakes you will find a good supply of active Splake.  These little guys can be very stealthy.

The best way to approach these lakes is to travel very lite. Give your self enough time to get in and out and always fish with a friend. Always, anytime when you are on the trail let someone now where you are. Winter is an entirely different game out there. Be smart and take your time.

All of these high lakes will offer clear water challenges. Fish the edges with small tubes and shad patterns.
Simple rule for the clear lakes, fish brighter colors on brighter days and go dark on overcast days. Down size your line and don't be afraid to tie in a piece of strong tippet material.

For the Splake go deep and stay suspended. Be patient as these fish will cruise the entire water column. Lake Fork Tackle makes a very good assortment of baby shad. Have a good assortment of colors on hand and tip them with fresh raw shrimp. As always keep your ice fishing jigs in a small ziplock baggie with your shrimp.

Lets look at some other choices besides Fall River. Loch Lomond and Caroline, are the higher lakes that have Splake in them. The road has snow right now so you will need snow shoes on some parts of the trails. Anglers will find deep clear water. Concentrate on the deep cliffs fifty to eighty feet. White tubes or the tiny shad patterns with shrimp will do the trick. 1/4 oz jig heads will do just fine. The fish will range in size from thirteen to eighteen inches. There are some big fish in these lakes, put the time in and you will catch them.

Catching early ice is a fun thing to experience.
Have fun and be safe.

Chinns Lake
Fall River Reservoir
Loch Lomond
Lake Caroline
USFS: Fall River Reservoir & Chinns Lake

Blog content © Dave Bryant
Blog Comments
Bassackwards, 11/25/2013 9:31:18 AM
If you are not in marathon shape, don't attempt to reach Fall river or Loch Lomond. I was there this weekend. There is 10" of snow on both roads. Loch Lomond was not passable to far past the first gate. Fall river was barely passable up to a mile away from the reservoir. We hiked the rest of the way sleds in tow, and found 8' of snow on the ice. Went out after drilling test holes, and realised that we were so beat, and cold from sweating that it wasn't worth fishing once the winds picked up
droolr, 11/25/2013 12:13:08 PM
travel light back pack your gear and slow down to avoid getting sweaty . splake have a weakness for chart and pearl. try the lake fork crappie shad in those colors for lakers and splake .
opencage, 11/26/2013 9:02:54 AM
Those are some beautiful fish Dave! Good on ya for getting up there.
opencage, 11/28/2018 7:09:01 PM
This blog was a great taste of early ice action if you got the legs, trying out bringing back some classics that still work, let me know what you think.
River_FlyFisher, 11/29/2018 10:48:32 PM
8 feet of snow on the ice!!! :-o Tell me that's a typo! Dig a snow cave to ice fish? -)