Guide To Popular Ice Fishing Lakes In Wyoming
Favorite fish species at top ice fishing lakes in the state.
The best ice fishing lakes in WY include Flaming Gorge Reservoir, Big Sandy Lake and Seminoe Reservoir. The most popular species through the ice, across the state, include rainbow trout, brown trout and crappie. See a list of lakes and species below.
Ice fishing is as basic as fishing gets. During winter, it is popular here in the state. Aside from the tools one uses to create a hole in the ice, all other gear is very basic. A simple rod, reel, line and hook or lure is all you need. Lures, live bait and prepared bait are options, depending on the fish species in the lake or pond.
Wyoming's winter landscape transforms its lakes and reservoirs into frozen playgrounds for ice fishing enthusiasts. Ice fishing in Wyoming offers a unique angling experience, with a variety of fish species available to target beneath the icy surface. Popular species for ice fishing in Wyoming include trout, such as rainbow trout and brown trout, as well as yellow perch, walleye, and northern pike. These cold-water species thrive in Wyoming's frigid winters, making ice fishing a popular and rewarding activity for anglers.
Ice fishing methods in Wyoming vary depending on the targeted species and the preferences of the angler. Common techniques include using tip-ups, which are lines with flags that indicate when a fish bites, or using ice fishing rods to jig or suspend bait beneath the ice. Anglers often use small jigs, spoons, or bait such as worms, minnows, or artificial lures to entice the fish. Patience, finesse, and knowledge of the fish's feeding habits are key to success in ice fishing.
Safety is of utmost importance when engaging in ice fishing. Wyoming's icy waters can be treacherous, and anglers must take precautions to ensure their well-being. It is essential to check the thickness and quality of the ice before venturing out. A minimum ice thickness of four inches is generally recommended for foot travel, while six to eight inches or more is necessary for snowmobiles or ATVs. Wearing appropriate clothing to protect against cold temperatures and wind chill is crucial. Additionally, it is recommended to fish with a partner and carry safety equipment such as ice picks, a throw rope, and a personal flotation device.
Wyoming's ice fishing season offers anglers a unique opportunity to enjoy the sport in a winter wonderland. With its diverse fish species, various techniques, and a commitment to safety, Wyoming provides a memorable ice fishing experience. Whether you're seeking the challenge of catching trout or the excitement of landing a trophy-sized northern pike, ice fishing in Wyoming promises a thrilling adventure and the chance to create lasting memories on the frozen waters.
Top Ice Fishing Lakes & Species
There are numerous places to go ice fishing in the state. Here are a list of some of the proven, best destinations.
Big Sandy Lake
Pilot Butte Reservoir
Click the images for species details.
This is a great way to get the kids to go outdoors in winter, connect with nature and learn to fish. The first consideration when attempting to go ice fishing, is safety. Make sure the ice is safe, and that you are prepared should an accident occur. Dress to stay warm - it's better to remove extra jackets than be cold and miserable. Be aware that the ice can be slippery, and falls can be dangerous.
Ice Fishing Tips & Techniques Video
Click here for ice fishing basics, including details on finding the best place to fish, tips for cutting a hole, basic tackle, bait, lures, depths to fish, safety, shanty's, tents and huts.
Best ice fishing method for crappie, bluegill, perch and sunfish
Horizontal jigs and spoon-type baits are the go-to baits for crappie, either tipped with a minnow, wax worm or prepared baits often triggers more bites. Jigs work better close to the bottom, spoons tend to work better higher in the water column. If options allow, 15 to 30 feet is the most common depth. Adjust as necessary. See additional info on ice fishing for crappie, perch and sunfish.
Best ice fishing method for walleye
Four basic lures are all you need. Ice jigs are minnow shaped with a tail that causes them to fall in a circular patter. Drop them to the desired depth (often to the bottom), then lift the bait a few feet to let it fall on slack line. Spoons: Metal slabs in chrome or a wide array of colors are used to jig up-and-down mimicking a dying baitfish. Lipless crankbaits: Fish like a spoon. Jigs: Use slightly larger jigs than for crappie, preferably with a flashing blade attached. Tip with live bait and let it sit, up a ways from the bottom typically 1 to 3 feet. A general tip is to always keep your bait off the bottom, one to 5 feet is an ideal place to start. Additional information about ice fishing for walleye.
Best ice fishing method for trout
Trout focus on small forage fish in winter, so baits that flash silver - jigs or spoons, do well in attracting trout. Dual rods, where legal, are very effective. One rod with a jig/live bait set up on a tip-up, the second with a spoon fished up and down pretty aggressively. See more detail about ice fishing for trout.
Best ice fishing method for bass
Bass are often found closer to the shoreline than schooling fish. Fish the same as other species, using a bit larger baits and slightly heavier line. Be prepared to battle using your drag if you hook a big one. Additional information about ice fishing for largemouth and smallmouth bass.
Best ice fishing method for catfish
Fishing techniques mirror those for bass and crappie. More emphasis is places on added baits (minnows, worms, prepared bait), and location can be very important. Find a ledge or point that is in 20 foot range on top, dropping to 30 feet or more directly off the side. See more information on ice fishing for catfish.
Best ice fishing method for pike and musky
Live bait, shiners and sunfish, are a great way to attract these big fellahs, assuming local law allows their use. Heavier line, steel leaders, bigger hooks and stronger tip-ups are in order. See more information on ice fishing for pike and musky.
Click here for a Wyoming Fishing License.
States with notable ice fishing.