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Rifle Gap, Grass Valley reservoirs teem with ice fishers

Clint Charboneau and his dog, Toby, do a little ice fishing Saturday at Rifle Gap Reservoir. Ray Erku / Post Independent

Nestled among a slew of bright-colored ice shacks dotted on the frozen surface of Rifle Gap Reservoir, Clint Charboneau braved the rough winds as he kneeled with his dog Toby beside a bored out hole, an ice-fishing pole in his grip.

It was a little after noon, and the Rifle appliance repair company operator had already been out on this tundra-like surface for a couple hours. His father, Don, sat perhaps a little more cozily inside the tandem’s nearby ice-fishing shack.

Rifle resident Don Charboneau catches a fish Saturday at Rifle Gap Reservoir. Ray Erku / Post Independent

Meal worms on the younger Charboneau’s hook, nibbles from rainbow trout were occasional, as distant mountain peaks shone bright beneath minimal cloud coverage.



“We put ‘em back,” he said, dressed in thick layers as Toby looks on anxiously. “They were eaters but we weren’t keeping ‘em today.”

A lack of bites didn’t really matter for the Rifle native, an avid hunter and fisher. Since December, when the water finally hardened to a safe sheet of ice, he said he’s already been out fishing four times. Plus, it’s just good to get out of town.



“I go about every weekend,” Charboneau said. “I just like getting out here — it’s better than sitting in the house, any day of the week.”

Charboneau wasn’t the only one enjoying the nice, mostly sunny weather Saturday at the reservoir. Like the front lot at a car dealership, a fleet of trucks and sedans lined the main boat launch at Rifle Gap State Park.

Ice shacks out on Grass Valley Reservoir on Saturday. Ray Erku / Post Independent

It was a similar scene over at Grass Valley Reservoir a few miles to the east — heavily-layered people trudging through snow, sleds full with crumpled tarps, augers, buckets and poles dragging slowly behind, mountains blue with trees surrounding the shore.

Just after Charboneau joked about how his father Don “stole the shack” for this bitterly cold day, Don experienced another bit of good fortune: a bite!

He rushed from the comforts of his tarped palace to a hole and eventually reeled up a small trout, snow enveloping the fish’s silver scales.

A rainbow trout caught from a frozen Rifle Gap Reservoir gripped in the glove of an ice fisher Saturday. Ray Erku / Post Independent

The catch marked a good day of fishing for the Charboneaus. After a little while, son Clint said he will go home to his TV to end the day.

“I’ll maybe watch some football,” he said.

rerku@postindependent.com


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