GRANBY —The 26th annual Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest is set to begin on Friday, Jan. 24, and continue throughout the weekend with more than $6,000 up for grabs each day and thousands more in raffle prizes being offered through the competition.
The competition takes place on three of the most popular fishing lakes in the Granby area; Lake Granby, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, and Grand Lake, and participants can choose to fish one, two, or all three days of the competition.
The competition is open to all anglers, not just the serious anglers, and children of all ages are welcome to compete. Children under 17 can enter the competition at no cost, and the entry fees for adults range from $35 for a one-day participation to $50 for all three days. You can also save $5 by entering before Jan. 20.
This year the competition will feature the standby “Grand Slam” prize, where anglers try to catch one fish of each species including Kokanee salmon, Rainbow trout, Brown trout, and Mackinaw. After weighing all four fish, the prize is awarded to the person with the heaviest overall weight.
This year the competition will also feature a “Big Fish Catch and Release” competition, where anglers are held to their honor — by photograph or eye witness — to catch the largest fish and then release it back into the lake. Fish 32 inches or larger will be eligible to win the daily prize.
Anglers will also have the opportunity to help Colorado Parks and Wildlife with the task of controlling the population of Mackinaw in Lake Granby with the introduction of the special Mackinaw prize on the Saturday of the tournament. Cash prizes will be awarded to the three anglers who bring in the heaviest bag of three Mackinaw, all less than 17 inches in length.
The special Mackinaw prize is an effort to utilize the fishing tournament to help manage the fish population in the reservoir, according to Jon Ewert, a fisheries biologist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The prize should aid in increasing the Kokanee salmon population in the reservoir, which has been struggling in recent years due to the increase in the population of Mackinaw, the fish’s natural predator, according to Ewert.
“We are trying to work together with the CPW to help manage the population and use the fishing tournament as a tool to harvest the fish rather than bringing in a government entity,” said Steve Penley, the sponsor of the special Mackinaw prize event. Penley has been sponsoring the tournament since its inaugural year 25 years ago, by supplying trophies and sponsoring special events.
Kokanee salmon are stocked in the lake at a very small size, about an inch, which makes for a prime meal for lake trout less than 17 inches, according to Ewert.
Mackinaw under 17 inches are the most populous size group currently inhabiting the reservoir, Ewert said.
“This should help us with the management of the reservoir and keep things in balance,” Ewert said.
More information about the tournament as well as information about lodging specials in the area can be found at the Granby Chamber of Commerce’s website at Granbychamber.com. You can request an entry form from the chamber by emailing your name, mailing address, and phone number to email@example.com. You can also fill out an entry form at Granby Bait n’ Tackle, located in Granby, Budget Tackle, also located in Granby, or Rocky Mountain Outfitters in Grand Lake.
Reid Tulley can be reached at 970-887-3334