By Jamie Leary

DILLON, Colo (CBS4)– Lakes and reservoirs are beginning to freeze over following cold spell and while people are eager to begin the ice fishing season, many areas are still too thin. Eleven Mile State Park recently warned visitors in a Facebook post, not to attempt fishing. The Summit County Rescue Group told CBS4, people should assume no ice is safe right now and asked that everyone take precautions.

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Still, some areas are starting to see a buildup. On Dillon Reservoir, for instance, those eager to get out, know exactly where to drill their holes.

“It’s 11 inches right now and last week it was about 5,” said Broomfield resident, Jalen Whitt.

Whitt has been checking the ice weekly and watching it build. On Friday, he was with two friends, catching Kokanee salmon.

“Coronavirus,” Whitt stated. “I got time, just hanging out. Throw some holes in the ice, catch some fish.”

The rule of thumb is at least four inches of solid ice to safely fish, and Friday, the small portion of frozen water on Dillon Reservoir looked promising.

“Once we get to a certain point in thickness of the ice, you know, you’re pretty safe as far as temperatures warming things up,” said Brennon Garrett, a guide for Alpine Fishing Adventures.

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Garrett said wind could threaten to break-up the outer edges but was confident the warm spell wouldn’t have much impact on the ice that was already in place.

“The big thing would be wind. If the wind were to kick up, then all of that thinner ice out there would start breaking up,” he continued, “You know, we’re pretty darn safe out here today.”

Garrett was with Brazendeh family from Oklahoma who visits annually, always making sure to include ice fishing in their itinerary.

“The biggest one we have is right down there,” said Ali Brazendeh, the family patriarch, who admitted it was grandma who caught it.

The warmer temperatures on Friday did cause the ice to crack, and move, a relatively common occurrence according to Garrett.

“Especially on warm sunny days like this, the ice tends to move around and moan and groan a bunch,” said Garrett.

Garrett measured the ice in his location around 8 inches.

“Obviously, we don’t want to go to much farther out here towards the open water,” he said.

Give or take a week, Garrett anticipates by the end of the month, the ice will be thick enough to take clients to the main part of Dillon Reservoir to fish.

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“The entire lake will eventually freeze solid, you know, by the end of February we’ll have almost 3 feet of ice on the entire lake.”

People still need to take extreme precaution with varying weather and conditions. Colorado Parks and Wildlife has put together general ice fishing guidelines for anglers.

Jamie Leary