Three Lakes fishing contest takes place Jan. 27-29 |

Three Lakes fishing contest takes place Jan. 27-29

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News | Sky-Hi Daily News

Anglers throughout the area are gearing up for the Three Lakes Fishing Contest, one of the largest fishing tournaments in Grand County.

The three-day contest takes place Jan. 27-29, and contestants can enter any or all of the three days.

As much as $17,000 in cash prizes is being doled out during the course of the contest for mackinaw, brown trout, rainbow trout and the “Grand Slam” combination category. Lake Granby, Granby pump canal, Shadow Mountain Reservoir, Grand Lake and the Colorado River 500 yards downstream from the Shadow Mountain Dam are waters included in the contest.

And new this year is a special prize on Saturday-only for the angler who presents the heaviest bag of four mackinaw, all under 19 inches. This new “side contest” is being offered by Penley Concrete and the Colorado Department of Parks and Wildlife. The contest has been arranged to help prevent smaller mackinaw from overpopulating and outstripping their prey base in Lake Granby, since species reproduction has been doing well the past few years.

The raffle contest is also continuing, with a first prize of $1,000 and a second prize of $500. An ice auger, Grand County travel package, ice hut, gear wrench set and binoculars are also included in raffle givings.

“Fishing has been better than normal,” said Richard Crager, owner of Budget Tackle and Sporting Goods in Granby since 2002. Although the ice-fishing season started out unique this year due to a lack of snow on the frozen lakes, “we finally got enough,” Crager said. The coverage is adequate for snowmobile travel, he said.

Crager reports that angler traffic has been fairly heavy the past few weekends in his store, and many have indicated they’re returning for the fishing contest. Each year during the contest, Crager conducts a retail marathon at his store, staying open from 6 a.m. Thursday morning until midnight on Saturday to accommodate anglers arriving at all times of the day and night.

The ice thickness on Lake Granby ranges from 12 inches to as thick as 20 inches. For catching lake trout, Crager recommends tube jigs, pieces of bait fish, suckers and spawn sacks. For rainbows and browns, the veteran angler says wax worms, meal worms and regular night crawlers are a safe bet.

Most of the details of the contest, hosted by the Granby Area Chamber of Commerce, are the same as former years, according to Laurie Findley, interim executive director of the chamber. But one change repeat contestants may notice is there are no big-ticket raffle grand prizes this year, such as an ATV and snowmobile offered last year. This is due to “financial conditions” at the chamber office.

Purchasing expensive prizes would have been “risky,” Findley said, but cash-prize amounts remain similar to past years, she said.

Fish weigh-ins take place at the North Shore Resort each day, and contestants should be in line no later than 4:30 p.m. each day. Award ceremonies take place each day at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Center in Granby, with the raffle taking place there on Sunday only.

Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603

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