Skip to primary navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

Stories From The Water

Back to Stories From The Water

Ice Fishing Safety Tips for Colorado Anglers

Testing the thickness of the ice

A true angler won’t let a little frost stop them from going fishing. Before you head out on the frozen lake to catch your dinner, make sure you have the right gear to get you safely there and back. 

Obviously, the first thing that you need to make sure of is that the lake is frozen enough for you to head safely out to your fishing spot. The puddle on your sidewalk may be frozen solid, but that doesn’t mean that the lake is ready to carry your weight. Before stepping out on the ice, it’s a good idea to drill a couple of test holes to gauge the thickness of the ice.

  • If the ice is less than 2 inches thick, stay off.
  • If the ice is around 4 inches thick, it is safe for you to walk on, but
  • You need at least 6 inches of solid ice to drive a vehicle like at ATV
  • You need between 8-12 inches for a small pickup or car
  • You need between 12-15 inches for a bigger pickup

It is up to every angler to judge for him or herself whether it is safe to step out onto the ice, but if you are ever unsure you can always check with the park staff and officials who will know if the lake is frozen enough to be safe.

Even if the lake is frozen enough for you to venture out, you still need to proceed with caution and always be aware of where you are stepping. If there are trees, grass, structure or brush sticking out of the ice, stay away from that area. Especially if the object that is sticking out is a living thing. Trees, grass and plants will absorb sunlight, causing the surrounding ice to be weaker, if not dangerous.

And, always carry a safety kit, just in case, and let someone know where you are going.