Twin Lakes

Celebrating Two Decades: Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby

“We are excited!” reports Angelina Salazar, one of the Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby organizers. “We got some great sponsors this year.  Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eagle Claw Fishing Tackle CO, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Scheels from the big out-fitters, as well as local individuals and business from Eagle, Lake, Summit and Chaffee County.”

Looks like the group’s extra marketing and PR efforts are paying off, and the Leadville Road and Gun Club, which sponsors the annual event, is ready for some big crowds for what is known as the longest, competitive ice-fishing derby not only in the state, but across the region. There’s no break in the action, as competitors kick-off early on Saturday, Feb. 10 and continue overnight until noon on Sunday, Feb. 11.

Abigail Marcella shows off her winning catch from the kid’s competition.

 Salazar notes that there will be one change in the weighing procedure this year. In the past, competitors had to bring their Mackinaws into the the official weigh station trailer at Dexter Point Campground. 

“This year, we are doing a mobile weigh-in station for Mackinaws only,” explains Salazar. If a contestant catches a Mackinaw they can call Danny at (719) 293-5057 or Angelina (719) 293-0567, and Danny will go weigh their Mackinaw. This is for fishermen who wish to release the fish back into the water; this way they don’t have to bring the catch out of water that far, if they are simply going to be recorded for the competition and put back for future catching. Great idea!  

Of course, as stated in the rules, ANY MACKINAW between 22” – 34” must be returned to the water immediately and will not be weighed. And the mobile station will be for Macs only, all of the Rainbows, Browns and Cutthroats will be recorded as usual in the weigh station trailer at Dexter Point. 

 Sponsored by the Leadville Rod & Gun Club, this year the event marks two decades of frozen fun that creates a shanty-town wonderland bringing folks together for a mid-winter contest for cash and prizes. And no doubt, some of the fish being pulled from that glacial reservoir are impressive, setting the tone for bragging rights that keep local fishing men and women – and yes, there’s a kid’s competition too! – coming back for more. 

Ice Fishing Derby Poster_2018

Competitors can enter to win cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd  place for Mackinaw, Rainbow, Brown and Cutthroat fish. Prizes will be awarded on weight of individual fish caught. See how the competition panned out at the last derby in 2017 (RESULTS).

This is also a great outdoor event for the children, passing down family traditions of winter recreation. Children age 12 & under who participate and place in categories will be eligible for a 1st place belt buckle. Trophies will be awarded to 2nd and 3rd winners in each category. There is NO entry fee for the kids competition.

ice fishing shanty

The Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby is sponsored by the Leadville Rod & Gun Club and will be held February 10 & 11, 2018. Photo: Leadville Today/Brennan Ruegg.

And money isn’t the only thing they will be giving away! In fact the LRGC is known for delivering some top-of-the-line prizes including an ice auger and portable ice shanty. Each paid contestant will be eligible to win those prizes. And don’t forget the LRGC raffle with tickets at $5 a piece or buy 5 for $20 from any club member. 

The entry fee is only $40. For an application CLICK HERE. Paper applications can also be picked up locally at the Leadville Sanitation District office at the corner of McWethy Drive and Highway 24 South and up until Friday, Feb 9 at Saturday’s Discount, located south of Leadville at 12655 US-24, across from the Little Red Schoolhouse.

The official event headquarters and weigh-in station during the derby weekend is staged at the Twin Lakes Dexter Parking lot. The Leadville Rod & Gun Club can be reached at P.O. Box 604, Leadville, CO 80461. Or contact LRGC derby organizers Angelina Salazar at 719-293-0567 or Danny Gurule 719-293-5057.

This year, Leadville Today will again be a media sponsor for the Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby, so stay tuned for all the fishing action, photos, videos, and results. It should be a fun winter weekend! So pull out your shanty, grab your pole and auger and head out for some winter fun – and what may be the biggest fish you ever catch.

© Leadville Today. No portion of this post or the content therein may be re-published without express written consent of the Publisher (


Russell Dicks of Pan Ark caught this sizeable mackinaw weighing in at 14.5 lbs which earned him second place in that category at the 2017 Twin Lakes Ice Fishing Derby held annually in February. Photo: Leadville Today/Kathy Bedell.


Special Events & Happenings at Twin Lakes

It’s been a good and busy summer in the southern end of Lake County. The tiny village of Twin Lakes sees hundreds of daily visits and has had a lot of interesting events this summer. Last Sunday, the Friends of Twin Lakes had their community picnic in conjunction with a re-dedication service for the historic Schoolhouse after its recent renovation, made possible by a grant from the Freeport McMoRan Climax-Area (CO) Community Investment Fund (CIF) for $20,000. 


The Twin Lakes Schoolhouse is the meeting and gathering place of the historic alpine village. Photo: Leadville Today/Brennan Ruegg.

For those who may not know, The Friends of Twin Lakes is a non-profit organization formed to promote improvements in services and amenities available to homeowners, visitors and full-time residents of the area.

The group’s next meeting will be held next Saturday, Aug. 26 at 9 a.m. in the Schoolhouse, located at 231 Lang Street in the village.  Come and find out more about membership and how you can get involved.

The Twin Lakes Yoga Class continues this Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. and continues weekly through mid-October with instructor Matt Hakala in the Schoolhouse. Students can find gentle yoga flow with warm up sequence and sun salutation followed by a series of Asanas focusing on strength, endurance, flexibility and balance.  This pleasant routine culminates with an introduction to seated meditation.  All ages and levels welcome, please bring a mat or blanket and flexible clothing.   Suggested donation of $8 to $10.

Also on Wednesday, Aug. 23, villagers can join in for some Bingo fun at the historic Schoolhouse starting at 6 p.m. Please bring your own beverages and, if you would like, some simple snacks (chips/dip/cookies) to share-this is not a potluck.  They will gladly accept your donations to pay for prizes in future games.

On Tuesday, August 22, The Friends will be offering a CPR/AED/First aid training session, but this one is back in Leadville. This free training is being provided a second time by St. Vincent’s Hospital.  It will be held at Climax Mine Building room 401 at CMC, beginning at 8 am.  Space is limited, so please sign up with FoTL by emailing if you’re interested.

Looking ahead on Tuesday Sept. 5 the Lake County Board of Commissioners will host their Annual Meeting at the Twin Lakes Schoolhouse starting at 1 p.m.  The public is welcome. Then later on that evening stick around for some live music as the Irish Duo Sweet Sorrows will share their beautiful and powerful music starting at 6:30 until 8 p.m.  The hat will be passed at the end of their performance to help them with their travel costs, so come with some cash!

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