Rangely fishermen have a local option

Michael and Chance Sheppard of Rangely show off some of the fish they caught at the Rangely fishing pond, located in the town camper park.

Michael and Chance Sheppard of Rangely show off some of the fish they caught at the Rangely fishing pond, located in the town camper park.
Michael and Chance Sheppard of Rangely show off some of the fish they caught at the Rangely fishing pond, located in the town camper park.
RANGELY I Michael and Chance Sheppard, two brothers from Rangely, spent the afternoon at the fishing pond located in the town camper park. Even though they had only been at it for about 20 minutes, they had three rainbow trout wrapped in a wet towel to keep cool until the boys were ready to head home.
Michael, who likes to go by Mikey, was excited and eager to tell the story of “the big one” that got away, as he held out his hands about 14 inches apart.
He then pointed to an area of the pond and said the fish really like to hang out “right there.”
The brothers, who fish at the pond almost every day, said they liked it there because there wasn’t any current and they never got their line snagged on the bottom, unlike the nearby White River, which is flowing dangerously high and swift with spring runoff this time of year.
This fishing pond came to be a few years ago as a result of a partnership between the town of Rangely and the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Historically, the site of the pond was a series of settling ponds used by the town of Rangely’s potable water plant.
When the water treatment plant was moved east of town, the ponds were left in place to serve as a storage site for water pumped from the White River and ultimately used for irrigation by the various government entities in town.
When the town of Rangely came up with the idea of incorporating a recreational use for these municipal raw water ponds, they approached the Division of Wildlife for partnership in the project.
This involved expanding, combining, and deepening the three ponds into one big pond with gradual slopes on the banks for safety.
After reviewing the plans and listening to the overall ideas and goals of the project, the DOW became an enthusiastic supporter of it.
The town of Rangely and local construction company, W.C. Striegel, supplied the equipment and all the labor to get the project completed.
Funding for the project was provided by the Division of Wildlife’s Fishing is Fun program.
The pond was completed in the summer of 2005 and has been stocked by the DOW with rainbow trout every spring since.
Fishing is Fun is a cooperative program between the state and federal government, the fishing and boating industries, and boaters and anglers.
The program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The funding source comes from a federal excise tax on all fishing equipment, small motor boats, and motor boat fuels.
The enabling legislation that allowed the collection of the tax was written and co-sponsored by Michigan Congressman John Dingell Sr. and Colorado Senator Edwin Johnson, and was signed into law by President Truman in 1950.
It is now known simply as the Dingell-Johnson act. It has been credited with helping pay for the construction of fishing piers, boat ramps, boat docks, fisheries research, and aquatic education for thousands of people across the nation.
Ultimately, it provides a valuable investment in the maintenance and enhancement of our aquatic natural resources and the economic benefit they will provide, for future generations.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collects the Dingell-Johnson funds and distributes them to state wildlife agencies based on the size of the state and the amount of its fishing license sales. No state may receive less than 1 percent or greater than 5 percent of the total generated annually.
The states then accept and fund project applications that are ranked the highest by a review panel.
The Rangely project application succeeded as one of the highest the year it was submitted.
“By all accounts the project has been a success,” said Ann Brady, mayor of Rangely. “The fishing pond enhances the town camper park, provides a close-to-home fishing opportunity for the local kids and their parents, and provides one more outdoor recreational option for the residents and its visitors.”