Too warm for ice fishing tourney at Rifle Gap
For the third time in 17 years, the Mountain Mechanical Ice Fishing Tournament has been canceled because of unseasonably warm temperatures, event officials announced on Wednesday.
“The ice is too thin and with the current temperatures that are expected to continue throughout the week and to the end of February, we can’t get any ATVs on that ice,” said Gina Reece-Long, special events coordinator for the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce. “The ice on Rifle Gap is shrinking and went from 8 inches on Saturday to 5 inches on Tuesday and a decision has been made by the Parks and Wildlife that we can no longer have ATVs on the ice.”
Those needing an ice-fishing fix can get it at the Farm Fresh Cafe and Steakhouse at 1733 Railroad Ave., which will be showing the classic movie “Grumpy Old Men,” starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, along with a prime rib dinner for $16.99 and $5 pitchers of beer. The dinner and movie will be held from 5-7 p.m. Saturday.
“There are no cold temperatures in sight through the end of February,” Reece-Long said.
The popular event was last canceled was five years ago, also because of warm weather. Refunds of the $35 registration will be offered by the Rifle Area Chamber of Commerce, or the money can be donated to the Rifle Mule Deer Foundation, one of the sponsors of the event.
The annual Mountain Air Mechanical Ice Fishing Tournament was expected to have more than 450 participants and a potential $20,000 grand prize for the person who caught the longest fish.
It is unknown whether the 2015 tournament will be rescheduled.
Each year, the Lions Club uses race proceeds from the FireKracker 4K race to provide eye examinations and eye glasses for those in the Roaring Fork Valley who are in need.
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