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Try ice fishing at Crawford State Park

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Photo submitted Crawford State Park has ice fishing gear to check out for free.

Ice fishing is growing in popularity and Colorado Parks and Wildlife wants to make it easy for people to try this great outdoor activity. Starting Jan. 1 at Crawford State Park you can check out, at no charge, ice fishing kits and give the sport a try.

"We want to help introduce aspiring ice anglers to the joys of catching fish over frozen water," said Scott Rist, senior ranger at Crawford State Park. "And ice fishing is a great way to introduce youngsters or friends to fishing."

The park owns four kits and each includes the basic equipment necessary to get started: four rods designed for ice fishing, tackle, an ice scoop, depth finder, and an ice auger upon request. That's enough gear for a whole family or a group of friends. The kits were purchased by CPW using a grant from the Foundation for Colorado State Parks.

If you want to take advantage of the opportunity, go to the park's office during regular business hours on weekdays and weekends. You must possess a valid Colorado fishing license. All equipment must be used at the park and returned at the end of the day.

CPW reminds everyone that whenever venturing onto ice to use caution, bring a partner and always drill test holes to determine ice thickness. It is recommended that ice be four inches thick to be considered safe. Each angler should carry a cell phone, wear a life jacket, and carry ice-safety picks and 50 feet of rope. Stay away from cracks, pressure ridges and slushy or darker areas that indicate areas of thin ice.

To learn more about ice fishing and safety, visit www.cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/IceFishingSafety.aspx.

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