Steamboat Springs Ice Fishing Guide: Local Spots, Gear & Guides

Published on 12/18/2018 by Brad Luth

Catch More Than The Slopes On Your Steamboat Visit

As summer and fall transition into the chillier temperatures of the winter, you may feel a pang of loss as the fishing season comes to a close. For many, fishing is both a source of enjoyment and an opportunity to relax and reflect. Without the chance to get away from the world, stress can be high. For those who are willing to brace the cold, your hobby certainly doesn’t need to end just because the lake or river is covered in ice.

In fact, one of the best vacation spots you can find for ice fishing is located on Steamboat Springs in Colorado. This river is popular among fishermen year round, but even when it freezes over, there is still plenty of fish to be had. So, if you’re interested in some Steamboat Springs ice fishing, consider these tips before hitting the ice.


Steamboat Springs Ice Fishing Guide Local Spots, Gear & Guides
Photo Credit: Deposit Photos via Flickr CC2.0


Like with any fishing trip, you’re going to need to be properly prepared for this fishing session. Perhaps the most obvious battle that you’re going to face is that of the elements. The temperatures are already going to be cold, and you’ll be sitting or standing on ice. This isn’t the best place to maintain the warmth of your own. As such, you’ll need a shelter. This is especially true if you plan on ice fishing for a few hours or even the entire day. A shelter can provide you with a place to warm up–if you want to fish outside of the shelter–or even a warm place to fish if you intend to fish within the shelter.

You may recall seeing those wooden shelters on the ice that barely seemed to be standing up against the cold wind. Those days are long gone. With new innovations happening every day, you can now easily acquire a shelter that can be easily installed and collapsed whenever you’re done using it. They also come in varying sizes, so you can bring some choice family members along with you or a buddy or five. The shelter will keep the chilly wind from making contact with your body, so you can fish with relative comfort.

Space Heater

Another sure way to keep your fishing session from ending prematurely due to being too cold is to bring along a space heater. As with shelters, there are plenty of space heaters to select from. For ease of use, a portable space heater is the best to use in this situation. You can move it where you like without having to worry about extension cords or providing electricity on your shelter. Considering that ice may melt a bit and certain areas may be exposed to the water, it’s best to reduce the necessity for electricity wherever possible.

With a space heater pointed at your chair while you fish, you can keep nice and cozy while you try to reel in the big one.

Types Of Fish Caught Ice Fishing

Photo credit: Deposit Photos


Year round, you can typically expect to catch Northern Pike, Walleye, Native Cutthroat Trout, Grayling, and quite a few more! For those who are intending to visit Steamboat Springs in the winter, however, your best bet is to catch the beautiful and delicious Rainbow Trout. The Springs are practically filled with them in winter. So, if trout is one of your favorite fish to catch, then be sure to hit Steamboat Springs come winter.

Fishing Spots And Guides

As most fishermen know, the best chance of catching fish is to have yourself a local guide who knows where all of the best fishing spots are located. Some of the best spots are located at Kuntz Ranch, Chimney Creek Ranch, Whispering Willows Ranch, Yampa River Ranch, and the Graces. However, having a guide either from Straightline or a company known as Steamboat Fishing Adventures can uncover some fishing spots that many other visitors may not be aware of. Guides like Erik Totten and Lily Tierny are ready to show you the best spots in and around Steamboat Springs, so you can catch the One.

Safety Instruments

Since any form of activity on the ice can be potentially dangerous, it’s always wise to have a few items on hand in the event of an emergency. While Steamboat Springs has a lot of fishermen throughout the year, even in the winter, it’s always a good idea to be ready just in case no one can get to you quickly. A spud bar, or even an ice chisel, is a good tool to use when you first walk on the ice to determine how thick and strong the ice is as you walk on it. This tool can spot weaker points in the ice that you can avoid.

Safety picks are also wise to bring along. The picks have a floatable handle and are connected to your body with a cord. If you end up falling through the ice, you can use the picks to jab into the ice and climb out of the water. It doesn’t hurt to have a throw bag either in case you notice someone else in trouble. The throw bag should contain a rope and a foam float that the person can grab onto. Next, you should have a safety whistle on your person at all times. This can bring someone to your aid quickly or signal other people to your side to someone else out. Finally, you should have a personal flotation device attached to your body to help you float if you fall through.

With these tips, you’re sure to have a great time ice fishing on Steamboat Springs. Plan your vacation soon!