Three Lakes Ice Fishing contest kicks off in Grand County in sub-zero temps | SkyHiNews.com
Lance Maggart lmaggart@skyhinews.com

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Three Lakes Ice Fishing contest kicks off in Grand County in sub-zero temps

It was a brutally cold Friday morning with ice crystals hanging in the air as the Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest (TLIFC) got underway today, Jan. 27, in Grand County.

The mountain morning was brisk for anglers with temperatures hovering somewhere between negative 15 and negative 20 Fahrenheit. Gayle Langley, Executive Director for the Granby Chamber of Commerce, was setting up shop at the tournament's weigh station at the North Shore Resort on Lake Granby Friday as she prepared for the weekend of activity. The Granby Chamber puts on the Three Lakes Contest each year.

"We have a cold start to the 29th annual Three Lakes Ice fishing tournament," Langley said as she waited for competitors to submit their catches. Langley and other Tournament workers had already tallied roughly half-a-dozen fish by 9 a.m. "It has been a slow start but the day is young, fish on," she said. Langley was excited about the number of registered anglers participating in this year's contest and said new registrations were coming in so fast she was having difficulty keeping up.

The TLIFC is something of a tradition for many residents of the high country and Front Range areas. Roy Hurley of Wheat Ridge was fishing on Lake Granby with friends Friday. He has been participating in the TLIFC since its inception 29-years ago. Like almost everyone else out on the lakes for the morning Hurley's first comments were about the frigid conditions. "It is bitterly cold this morning," Hurley said.

His companion Randy Rosales echoed his sentiments. "It was twenty below zero when we showed up at around five this morning," Rosales said. Rosales, Hurley and two other men were all fishing together and debating when to take their first prize of the day in for weigh-ins; a modest rainbow trout pulled out by John Ota who was fishing with the group. "We are looking to walk away with cash," said Russell Hurley who was also fishing in the group. He jokingly adding, "We need to buy more beer."

Down at the North Shore Resort Weigh Station a stream of anglers slowly trickled in for fish measurement. Eric Lawing was beaming with pride after submitting a nice sized brown trout that left him in third place in that division early Friday. "This morning has been good," Lawing said. "It is a little chilly," he added with a laugh. Lawing, who was fishing on Grand Lake, lives along the Front Range but works regularly in Grand County and is familiar with the area.

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Not long after Lawing's brown was tallied Brett Butson of Georgetown dropped off his catch. "This is actually my first year up here," Butson said. "I am pretty pumped. I have a lot of buddies that do it every year and have for a long time." Butson, who was fishing on Lake Granby, submitted a sizeable mackinaw to the judges Friday and appeared very excited about his chances of taking home some prize money.

"This was my first fish of the day," Butson said. "It seems like there are a lot of fish down there, but they just aren't interested in the bait yet. Hopefully it picks up, it's pretty cold out there."

Butson and other anglers were easily spotted out on the surface of Lake Granby where hundreds of fishing hut and snowmobiles could be seen from US Highway 34. The crowd on Grand Lake was significantly smaller. Early Friday there were only four groups of anglers on the lake including Gene Scohy and his family who were just a few hundreds yards out on the ice. The Scohys were visiting from their home in Broomfield. Scohy his wife Christina and daughter Sorina were officially competing in the TLIFC but as Gene put it, "We are just up here having fun."

Scohy said he normally ice fishes closer to home but this year he and his family are staying in Grand Lake and competing in the tournament as his Christmas present. "We are staying in the hotel right here and it doesn't get any better than walking right out your door and setting it up."

The TLIFC continues Saturday Jan. 28 and Sunday Jan. 29. Please follow the Sky-Hi News for additional coverage as well as updates on winners.

Eric Lawing displays the fish he submitted for measurement early Friday morning.
Eric Lawing displays the fish he submitted for measurement early Friday morning.
John Ota pulls a rainbow trout up out of the ice after catching the fish Jan. 27.
John Ota pulls a rainbow trout up out of the ice after catching the fish Jan. 27.
Little Sorina Scohy (left) and her mother Christina hurry to scoop ice out of a fishing hole Friday morning so they can drop their lines.
Little Sorina Scohy (left) and her mother Christina hurry to scoop ice out of a fishing hole Friday morning so they can drop their lines.