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RANGELY I Rangely 4-H Gone Fishing Sportfishing Club members Dusty Hall, Dixie Hall and Cash Leischer enjoyed a field trip to the Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery outside of Rifle, Colorado, on July 17.
Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery is the largest trout producing hatchery in the state, able to handle 2.5 million eggs and fry at one time. Rifle Falls produces several varieties of rainbow trout, including whirling-disease-resistant rainbow trout. Rainbows inhabit the indoor and outdoor production areas year-round. Brown trout fingerlings are reared in the winter months and are stocked in various lakes around the state. Native cutthroat fry are reared in the Rifle Isolation Unit for aerial stocking of high altitude lakes. Every year, somewhere between 100,000 and 250,000 2-inch cutthroat fry are stocked by plane. Cutthroat eggs are spawned at Durango and Glenwood Springs units and then hatched at Rifle Isolation Unit and stocked in late summer.
If you are interested in visiting, the Rifle Falls Hatchery is located 14 miles north of Rifle on Hwy. 325. Visitor parking is in the lot on the west side of the road. Nestled below 300-foot-tall limestone cliffs, the property is bounded by the Rifle Mountain Park to the north and by Rifle Falls State Park to the south. The Bobcat hiking trail connects Rifle Falls State Park and the State Fish Hatchery. Two ponds directly above the falls (not visible from the highway) are open to public fishing. There is also ample wildlife viewing in this area.
By ROXIE FROMANG | Special to the Herald Times