HARTSEL, Colo. (KDVR) — The bitter cold didn’t stop Tucker Bamford from hauling his ice fishing gear onto the iced-over surface of Antero Reservoir, but the sun peeking over the surrounding mountain tops stopped him in his tracks.
“Zero-degree sunrise and sunsets are incredible for some reason,” Bamford said in a moment of reflection. “It just like, throws the light funny. And it’s just a cool place to be.”
Cool doesn’t begin to sum up this subzero experience. Antero Reservoir, in Park County, is known for extreme cold. Bamford believes the brutal conditions are ideal for reeling in trophy trout.
“If you like fishing in the summer, this is really no different. I mean, well, it’s a little different,” Bamford admitted with a smile. “Yeah, it was like minus 10 when we got here.”
Armed with an auger, Bamford bores holes through the ice, then wets a line and watches his sonar display. If the fish don’t cooperate, he moves to a new spot and starts the process again.
“I see far too many people drill one hole and sit on it all day with the same bait, and they’re wondering why they only got one bite,” Bamford said.
To be clear, successful ice fishermen aren’t lazy, they’re crazy.
“Yeah, I think so,” Bamford laughed. “You’ve got to be a little out of whack upstairs, probably, to really get into it.”
Provided that you have clothes to withstand the elements and possess the patience of a kindergarten teacher, ice fishing could be the sport for you.
“It’s still a kick,” Bamford said. “I mean, hooking that fish down there (through this) little hole in the ice and finally seeing that head pop up (through) the hole. And seeing what you do on the end of the line (is) a really cool experience.”
Tucker’s right: That is cool.