Finally time to boat: Rifle Gap now open |

Finally time to boat: Rifle Gap now open

Colleen O’Neil

RIFLE GAP STATE PARK — Gone is the season of ice fishing and snowshowing. As of April 1, the gorgeous waters of Rifle Gap State Park’s 350-acre reservoir are open for boating, fishing, water-skiing and windsurfing.

The long, narrow reservoir is strikingly offset by the craggy, sage-covered ridge of the Great Hogback. When the sky is clear, the water is a beautiful alpine aquamarine, and gentle breezes stir the surface.

Visitors can launch their boats from the ramp at any time, as long as they’re familiar with the reservoir’s no-wake zones and follow registration rules. Jet skiing is also turning into a popular activity. And this time of year, Rifle Gap anglers are itching to catch rainbow and German brown trout, walleye, pike, smallmouth and largemouth bass and yellow perch.

However, because of the population struggling with water levels and other environmental factors, a bag and possession limit of 20 h​​​as been placed on yellow perch at Rifle Gap Reservoir. Also, the swimming beach on the west side of the reservoir is closed until May.

On warm summer days, the campgrounds and picnic areas will be full of families on day trips or long weekends. The park has 89 camping sites, as well as many spots for picnicking. Sites are available on first-come, first-served basis. And the park rents out a group facility available for weddings, reunions and meetings.

Last week, Tuesday afternoon was sunny and blustery, but a few stalwart anglers got out to enjoy the waters.

Denverites Chris Galindo, 48, and her daughter Sara Galindo, 23, were visiting Rifle Gap for the first time to see what they could catch.

“So far it’s windy,” said Chris, “but it’s so beautiful that it’s worth it.”

For more information about visiting Rifle Gap, the park office can be reached at 970-625-1607.

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