Last weekend was the Winter Celebration at Crawford State Park. It was a chance for the park to highlight the recreation available to winter enthusiasts. One of the events was an ice fishing seminar and demonstration. KVNF’s Jake Ryan was there.
The day started with a class led by Senior Ranger Scott Rist.
“Today we’re teaching people how to catch crappies through the ice, focusing on equipment, strategies, electronics, just everything that’s involved,” says Rist.
“We did an hour and a half presentation in the classroom, and now we’re going out on the ice and hopefully reinforce all of that and catch some fish for the next couple of hours.
“The fishing has been good. People have been coming out and catching multiple species at once. We’ll see. The weather is so-so. That does play into effect, you wouldn’t think, and we are getting a little late in the morning for crappie fishing. Usually we fish early morning until 10 o’clock. Hopefully we’ll put some fish on the ice and have a good day. The big thing is that they’ll take the knowledge they learned here and hopefully use in future to catch more fish,” says Rist.
Everyone bundled up to head out into the wet and cold. Two old timers, Wayne Blacker and Tom Bain decided not to fish today, but that doesn’t mean they’re new to this.
“Well let’s see,” says Blacker, “I’ve been fishing since I was five, so that’s 70 years. I’ve probably ice fished for 20 years. Fishing’s my thing.”
“We’re still debating about ice fishing today,” says Bain, “but we’re gonna go one of these days, I’m sure.”
“You got to be careful of the ice,” says Blacker, “because we haven’t had any good cold weather yet, so we really got to be careful.”
There were plenty of others though that went out. A train of people hiked across the ice to the north east corner of the lake, near the dam. A thick, heavy snow fell quietly as some of the first holes were drilled.
There were a few veteran fishermen, mostly from the Western slope. One man came down from Denver be there. There were also some people new to ice fishing
“Nah, I’ve never been ice fishing,” says Montrose resident Dave Bries. “I don’t enjoy fishing; my granddaughter does. I heard about it so I brought her out to try it.”
He says it’s a way to keep her engaged in fishing.
“Well we moved from Kansas, and we had a lake in our back yard. Since she was about six years old, she’d go down there first thing in the morning and through a line out and she’d catch three pound bass,” he says.
“When we moved out here, she wanted to go fishing. So I figure out ways to take her fishing,” says Bries.
It’s her first time ice fishing, and she likes it.
“My name is Kyla, and I like fishing. A lot. I like catching them for the fun. It’s been in my life forever. It was my dream to do, but since we moved, it’s been really sad for me. I used to have a big stuffed bass, but now it’s all gone. Now I have to do this, and catch trout. But that’s fun too.”
By noon, only one fish had been caught. I was cold and wet and hungry, so I packed it in, but the rest of the anglers, including Kyla, stayed out. For KVNF, I’m Jake Ryan.