Fisherman are gassing up their ice augers and rigging rods and reels in preparation of the 25th annual Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest set to take place Jan. 25-27.
The three-day contest will take place on Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, and Grand Lake with more than $6,000 in daily cash prizes being awarded to the winners. Contestants can enter any one, two, or all of the three days of the contest.
The contest is open to anglers of all ages who want to compete to see who can catch the largest fish. Anglers who are 17 years old and under can enter the competition for free, though youths must pay an entry fee to be eligible for the adult prizes.
Prizes will be doled out each day to the angler who brings in the largest fish of three species: rainbow trout, brown trout, and Mackinaw.
There is also a "grand slam" prize for fisherman who work to catch a fish of each species as well as a Kokanee salmon. The grand slam prize will be awarded to the individual who brings in the heaviest creel containing all four fish species.
There will also be a raffle this year with prizes ranging from a Clam Corp. gift pack worth $1,200, to a pair of binoculars worth $100. The raffle will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Granby Community Center, though you do not need to be present to win. Tickets for the raffle are $10 and can be bought with the entry fee.
Richard Crager, owner of Budget Tackle in Granby, said the low level of the lakes has concentrated fish in certain areas; however, fishing conditions remain fairly normal.
The ice on the lakes is "thick enough," according to Crager, and ranges from 6 inches to 15 inches thick.
Crager runs a retail marathon during the contest, staying open from 6 a.m. on Thursday until midnight Saturday.
While the bait the fish are biting varies from day to day, Crager reports that tube jigs have been working well, along with meal worms and wax worms, depending on what species of fish you are fishing for.
Crager reports seeing some early registrations being bought to his shop, though "Thursday is when we really get hit," he said.
Many of the details of the contest, which is hosted by the Greater Granby Area Chamber of Commerce, are similar to former years, according to the Chamber's Executive Director Laurie Findley. Call the chamber office for more information at 970-887-2311.
The contest will start 6:42 a.m. Friday and fish weigh-ins will take place everyday during the contest from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the North Shore Resort, 928 County Road 64.
"People have come to this contest every year for 20 years," Findley said. "It's a great time."