Freezing temperatures arrived a little late this year, but the ice is forming over Crawford Reservoir, marking the beginning of ice-fishing season. While people are already venturing out onto the ice, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are warning the public to use caution.
"Test the ice," said Crawford State Park manager Ed Keleher.
Last Friday a group of anglers was fishing near the dam. Anglers are reporting catches of rainbow trout and crappie, according to park staff. The reservoir also offers yellow perch, black channel catfish, pike and large-mouth bass.
For those wanting to try ice fishing for the first time, a limited number of kits are available for checkout at the park office.
Freezing temperatures also mean that Crawford State Park's annual ice fishing clinic is on. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 27. Participants can learn about the best techniques and different types of gear available for a successful day of ice fishing. Following a roughly 1.5-hour clinic the group will move out onto the ice for hands-on experience.
Visitors are invited to bring cross country skis and ice skates. An area will be cleared for ice skaters to enjoy. Visitors can also gather around a campfire and enjoy hot cocoa, hot dogs and s'mores.
Interested participants should plan to meet at the Visitor Center, 40468 Hwy. 92, at 9 a.m. on Jan. 27. For details, visit cpw.state.co.us or call 921-5721.
While the clinic is free, anyone planning to fish will need a current fishing license and a valid State Parks pass. Due to a purchasing system upgrade, a system blackout that began Jan. 1 will affect on-line purchase of licenses and parks passes. The new system is expected to go live within a week. Once up and running, the system will provide one-stop shopping for hunting and fishing licenses and required stamps, annual parks passes, camping reservations and merchandise.
Passes and licenses are available at the Crawford State Park office daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.