PARK COUNTY — In our exclusive new series Adventures with Alan, we'll travel across Colorado week-by-week to show you thrills and chills, hidden gems and well-known spots.
Our adventure this week begins in Lake George at the Tumbling Trout Fly Shop.
That's where we meet Tumbling Trout owner Michele White, and our ice fishing guide Tad Shannon. Both bring years of experience to the game and are eager for us to try ice fishing for the first time.
From the shop, we hop back in our cars and drive west along Highway 24 until we reach Antero Reservoir.
Our destination for the day - Antero Reservoir
The lake is big and beautiful, and supplies drinking water to the Denver metro region almost 140 miles away.
As we step outside our vehicles, the wind is gusty and the sun above is bright.
Temperatures are comfortably in the 30s and I have on enough layers to keep me warm for the half mile trek across the frozen lake.
Once we find our spot, Tad starts shoveling snow from the top of the lake.
Next, he sets up a large insulated ice hut that's perfect to block out the elements and keep us warm.
He then takes an ice auger and drills four holes through the ice, which is about 30" thick.
Our ice fishing adventure begins
Not long after settling into position, I get my first bite.
The excitement is palpable as I reel in a 16" rainbow trout!
After a few celebratory screams and high fives, Tad puts more bait on my line and I drop it back into the icy waters below.
He tells me that he's using sucker fish or shrimp as bait, but in some cases he tries out different lures.
Now that I've caught one fish, I'm eager to catch another, but fishing is a sport of patience.
Sitting comfortably in our ice hut, I find myself loving the experience and am fascinated by the world around me.
In particular, I really stay focused on the TV in front of us. It's part of a more sophisticated operation that includes an underwater camera that gives us a 360 degree view under the water. This lets us know when the fish are coming in for a bite.
Watching the TV, we see at least a dozen fish come up to the bait during the next couple of hours.
Tad teaches me the jig technique, which involves bouncing the line gently to lure in the fish.
I get the hang of it pretty quickly, but sometimes get too excited when I see a big fish coming in and bounce the line too quickly, which scares them away.
In the end, I caught two beautiful rainbow trout. Tad caught one as well. Overall, I'd say that it was a successful day!
If you want to give ice fishing a try, you better hurry because the season comes to an end at the end of March.
For more information or to schedule an ice fishing trip of your own, visit Tumbling Trout online at tumblingtrout.com.