Colorado boasts more than 2,500 miles of lake water and over 12,000 miles of streams.
The waters have more than 35 popular fish species—small and big game, making The Centennial State a favorite spot for many anglers.
The yellow perch is arguably Colorado’s favorite and most abundant fish species across many waters.
However, to enjoy the incredible fishery in Colorado, you’ll need a license.
And while licensing is a straightforward process in Colorado, you must meet some requirements before getting your hands on one.
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Things You Need to Buy a Fishing License in Colorado
Getting a fishing license in Colorado is a straightforward process for both visitors and residents.
The registration agency will require the below information:
- Your full name, residence, and other personal information.
- Choose the type of license you wish to buy—for instance, license duration and the number of rod stamps.
- Verify the purchase and choose your preferred delivery method (through mail or the Colorado digital app)
Who Needs a Fishing License in Colorado?
Any angler aged 16 or older needs a valid license to fish in Colorado.
The license is available for both residents and non-residents but under different application options.
Residents are those who have lived in Colorado for more than six months.
You’ll need to produce your social security number, a state-issued driver’s license or use your income tax bill as proof of residence during the license application.
Sport fishing license applicants must be 18 years or older.
Cost of Fishing License in Colorado
Buying a fishing license depends on a range of options, such as age and residence status.
While most options are only available for Colorado residents, visitors can take advantage of short-term renewable licenses.
Below is what to pay for a fishing license for residents and non-residents.
|Fishing License Type||Residents||Non-residents|
|Annual Habitat Stamp||$10.13||$10.13|
|Senior annual (65+)||$9.85||N/A|
|Low-income senior lifetime (65+)||$9.85||N/A|
|Senior annual fishing combination and small game (65+)||$29.75||N/A|
|0ne-day fishing License||$14.23||$17.35|
|Extra rod stamp||$10.95||$10.95|
|Annual Aquatic Nuisance Species stamp||$25.00||$50.00|
|Lifetime Fishing License||$312.30||N/A|
Note: All licenses include a $1.25 Wildlife Education Fund fee and a $0.25 search and rescue fee.
Colorado also offers discounts, plus other programs for veteran anglers and anglers with disabilities.
Colorado Licensing Requirements Exemptions
The state of Colorado has fishing policies that exempt particular circumstances and residents from the fishing licensing requirements.
The exemptions apply to the following:
- Disability license obtained through a special application from Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.
- Free 30-day fishing for Colorado armed forces residents who are on active duty.
Where Can I Buy a Fishing License in Colorado?
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission oversees and administers all fishing regulations and licenses in Colorado.
The agency aims at promoting ethical angling by protecting all wildlife and their habitats for the present and future generations.
Money collected from anglers as license fees is used for maintaining hatcheries and other various stocking programs.
Some funds are directed towards research on disease prevention and other conservation studies.
All that effort is geared towards building a positive fishing community to encourage more people to take up the sport.
Below are options on how you can buy a fishing license from Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.
- In person from CPW location or licensed retailers. Official vendors can be found in hardware stores, tackle stores, and Walmart.
- Online: Digital fishing licenses are now available for anglers in Colorado. You’ll need to fill an online form after creating an account. Although Colorado has a digital app that allows you to display the permit on your phone, the agency will still offer you a printed card.
- Purchase by Phone through toll-free number 1-800-244-5613. A trained sales representative will guide you through the step-by-step application process.
Note: When you order a short term fishing license, the agency will send you a temporary authorization number (TAN) to act as your license. There’s no printed paper copy.
Your license will arrive within 14 days by mail if you order online or by phone.
If you intend to start fishing immediately, you can always use the TAN as you wait for the printed license.
Things to Know About Your Colorado Fishing License
- Colorado annual fishing licenses run from March 1st to March 31st of the following year. You’ll need to apply before the next expiry to continue fishing.
- You can reprint your CO fishing license if you lose it. The replacement charges depend on the type of license, but first, you’ll need to complete an affidavit explaining how you lost your permit.
- You can fish for free in Colorado on the first weekend—Saturday and Sunday of June every year.
Once you acquire a Colorado fishing license, you can catch all the fish within the state.
And since Colorado has not entered any inter-state-water fishing, you’ll need to be careful when fishing near the borders to avoid drifting to the neighboring waters.