Colorado Fishing License Cost: Everything You Need to Know

Colorado Fishing License Cost: Everything You Need to Know

Fishing in Colorado’s pristine waters is a dream for many anglers. However, before you can cast your line, you need to understand the state’s fishing license requirements and costs. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about obtaining a Colorado fishing license in 2024, including types, fees, where to buy, and frequently asked questions. By the end, you’ll be fully prepared to embark on your Colorado fishing adventure while supporting the state’s vital conservation efforts.

Why You Need a Colorado Fishing License

In Colorado, anyone 16 years or older must have a valid fishing license to fish in the state’s waters, regardless of whether they are a resident or non-resident. This legal requirement serves a crucial purpose: fishing license fees directly fund fish stocking, habitat restoration, public access improvements, and conservation programs that benefit anglers and wildlife alike. By obtaining a license, you contribute to maintaining healthy fish populations and preserving Colorado’s world-class fishing opportunities for future generations.

Who Is Exempt from a Colorado Fishing License?

While most anglers require a license, certain groups are exempt:

  • Children under 16 can fish for free without a license.
  • Residents with disabilities can apply for a lifetime free fishing license through Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW).
  • Military veterans who are over 60% disabled from active duty and are Colorado residents can apply for a free fishing and hunting combo license.
  • Colorado residents eligible for the Centennial Program, which provides lifetime fishing licenses for low-income seniors aged 64 and older.

Types of Colorado Fishing Licenses and Fees

Colorado offers several types of fishing licenses to cater to different needs and budgets. Here’s a breakdown of the main options and their 2024 fees:

Annual Fishing Licenses

  • Resident Annual Fishing License (ages 18-64): $41.83
  • Non-Resident Annual Fishing License: $117.14
  • Senior Annual Fishing License (65+, CO residents only): $11.47
  • Youth Annual Fishing License (ages 16-17): $11.47 for residents, same as non-resident adult for non-residents

Short-Term Fishing Licenses

  • 1-Day Fishing License: $16.33 for residents, $19.97 for non-residents
  • 5-Day Fishing License (non-residents only): $38.19
  • Additional Day Fishing License: $7.82 for both residents and non-residents

Combo Licenses (CO residents only)

  • Small Game & Fishing Combo License: $60.05
  • Senior Small Game & Fishing Combo License (65+): $35.32

Special Licenses & Stamps

  • Low-Income Senior Lifetime Fishing License (64+, CO residents only): $10
  • Senior Lifetime Fishing Upgrade (65+, for low-income or disability lifetime license holders): $22.56
  • Second Rod Stamp (available to all licensed anglers): $12.68
  • Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Stamp: $25 for residents, $50 for non-residents

In addition to the license fee, all anglers aged 18-64 must purchase a Habitat Stamp for $12.15 with their first license of the year. This stamp is valid from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.

Where to Buy Your Colorado Fishing License

Colorado offers several convenient options for purchasing your fishing license:

  • Online through the CPW website
  • By phone at 1-800-244-5613
  • In person at CPW offices or authorized retailers, including many sporting goods stores and fly fishing shops like Cutthroat Anglers.

When ordering a short-term fishing license, you’ll receive a temporary authorization number (TAM) that acts as your license until the physical copy arrives in the mail for annual licenses (within 14 days).

Do I Need to Carry My License While Fishing?

Yes, you must carry your valid fishing license while fishing in Colorado. The state offers a convenient myColorado app that allows you to display your digital license on your mobile device, eliminating the need to carry a printed copy.

Can I Use Two Fishing Rods in Colorado?

You can use two fishing rods in Colorado, but you must purchase a Second Rod Stamp for $12.68 in addition to your fishing license. This stamp does not increase your bag limit and must be purchased annually.

What Is the Habitat Stamp, and Why Do I Need It?

The Habitat Stamp is a $12.15 fee that all anglers aged 18-64 must pay when purchasing their first fishing license of the year. This stamp funds the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program, which protects important fish and wildlife habitats and provides public access for hunting and fishing.

Are There Any Free Fishing Days in Colorado?

Yes, Colorado offers a Free Fishing Weekend annually, typically on the first full weekend of June. During this period, you can fish in Colorado without a license, although all other rules and regulations still apply.

Conclusion

Obtaining a Colorado fishing license is a simple yet essential step in planning your fishing adventure in the state’s renowned waters. By understanding the types of licenses available, their costs, and where to purchase them, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy Colorado’s fishing opportunities while supporting crucial conservation efforts. Remember to always check the current Colorado Fishing Regulations for season dates, catch limits, and area-specific rules before heading out. With a valid license in hand, you’re ready to cast a line in Colorado’s stunning lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and streams.

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