Take your kids fishing in Colorado

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Fishing with kids is fun & easy to do.

Fishing doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to cost a lot or involve a lot of planning or a long drive. Start with the basics and be sure to bring a camera to capture the landscapes and maybe even a big catch.

Family fishing trips are a great pastime – bring a picnic and plan an adventure. Keep young kids busy and active. Have them look for wildlife, play a game to learn the different types of fish or have a casting contest.

Give everyone a “job” they can do to get them involved and instill a sense of responsibility. Your family learns about safety on the water and taking care of the environment, while spending time together and having fun.

Colorado is one of the best places to take your kids fishing. There are more than 2,000 lakes and over 6,000 miles of rivers with a huge variety of cold-water and warm-water fish. There’s likely a lake or stream near you that can become a family tradition, your own “fishing hole.”

Take your kids fishing. They’ll learn patience and how to work toward a goal and let’s face it, it’s just fun! Your kids will get excited about fishing, and you’ll make some lifelong memories.

5 Reasons to go fishing with your kids.

  1. IT'S EASY - There's no need to keep score, it doesn't cost a lot, you go where you like and anyone can do it.
  2. FISH STORIES - It's fun to have your
    own fish stories to tell when you get together with friends. Tell 'em about the BIG one that got away.
  3. BEING OUTDOORS - Colorado has spectacular scenery, fabulous weather and you'll breathe all that fresh air!
  4. THE THRILL - Feel the tug on the line and the excitement of reeling it in.
  5. IT'S DINNER - Fish seems to taste better when you catch it yourself. Have a fish fry with your friends!

"Many men go fishing all of their lives without realizing it's not the fish they're after."

- Henry David Thoreau

Get your Colorado fishing license.

If you are ages 16 and over, you’ll need to get a fishing license. It’s easy to do and only requires:

  • A valid ID
  • Proof of residency (Driver’s License, Student ID or a Military ID)
  • Social Security Number

There are several ways to get your Colorado Fishing License:

Purchase online at Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Go to any Colorado Parks and Wildlife Office License Agent Retail Location

Call Colorado Parks and Wildlife at (303) 297-1192

Get a habitat stamp.

When you buy your fishing license for Colorado, you must also purchase a Habitat Stamp. The stamp is good for the entire season and supports conservation of natural habitats and improved survival rates for future generations of wildlife.

Stamps are non-refundable and only one is needed per person per year. If you like, you can purchase a lifetime stamp for a fee of $300.00. Please note these exemptions to the stamp purchasing requirement:

  • Anyone with a lifetime fishing license
  • A veteran's lifetime combination small-game hunting and fishing license
  • Those approved for the BIG-Game Mobility Impaired Hunting Program. Click here for details.

APRIL 1, 2015 - MARCH 31, 2016

Prices, rules and regulations are subject to change on an annual basis. Please check here for the most updated information.


  • Online
  • By phone: 1-800-244-5613
  • In person at: CPW offices, state parks, or license agents
Habitat Stamp
Required for residents and nonresidents, ages 18-64. Add this to license fees below if you have not yet purchased a 2015 Habitat Stamp.
Adult annual (age 16-63) $26
Senior annual (age 64 and older) $1
Small Game & Fishing combo $41
Annual $56
Five-day $21
Resident and nonresident younger than age 16 (second-rod charge still applies) FREE
Second-rod stamp
The second-rod stamp is available to anyone who has purchased a fishing license and any youth under 16.
One-day Fishing $9
Additional-day Fishing
Customers buying a one-day or additional-day license are exempt from the Habitat Stamp fee with the first two of these licenses. The habitat fee will be assessed when a third license of this type is purchased.
Prices include 25-cent search-and-rescue fee and 75-cent surcharge for the Wildlife Management Education Fund.

Colorado fishing license FAQ:

Q: Who needs to have a Colorado Fishing License?
A: Anyone 16 year of age or older must purchase a valid license as well as a Habitat Stamp.

Q: What are the rules for catch and release?
A: There are lots of different rules and regulations depending on the body of water you are fishing at. To find out more for your specific location, please check the fishing brochure before you go. The brochure can be found here.

Q: Do I have to wear or display my fishing license?
A: You don’t need to have your license displayed on your clothing, but you must have it in your possession when you are fishing.

Q: Can I replace a destroyed or lost Colorado fishing license online?
A: You can replace a license online or at any License Agent Retail Location. The cost is $5 and you will need to provide a photo ID.

Q: If I only plan to fish a couple days, do I still need a license?
A: Everyone 16 years of age and older needs a valid fishing license. Senior licenses (persons 64 and older) cost $1. Residents and nonresidents can purchase a one-day pass for $9. Additional days are $5 per day, or you can get five days for $21.

Q: Can I buy a license for someone else?
A: Yes you can buy a license for someone else. It is called a gift license. The person buying the license will need to have all the information for the person they are buying the license for (SSN if not on file and Customer ID). The person buying the license will have to fill out a gift affidavit saying the information they provided is true.

Q: When are the Free Fishing Days?
A: The first full weekend in June every year are FREE fishing days when you will not need a license.

Get your Colorado Fishing License online, in person or by phone at any of our agent retail locations. Your contribution supports the natural beauty of our state and the bounty of wildlife that lives here.

The type of fishing you do determines the gear you’ll need.

Walking into your local sporting goods store and staring at all the fishing merchandise may seem a little daunting. But don’t worry, you don’t need to buy the entire fishing section to start casting tomorrow.

Download this list for everything you need, from
lures and sinkers to hats and waders.

Download PDF

Fishing tips for beginners.

Learn how to string your fishing rod, what to bring and what to wear for a fun day of fishing.

Fishing is fun for the whole family. It's a chance to be outdoors together, enjoying the natural beauty of Colorado and sharing the challenge and excitement of landing a catch.

What to bring: You don’t need a lot of complicated or expensive equipment to enjoy your day. Here’s what we recommend to get started:

  • A fishing rod – that suits your type of fishing
  • Hooks – bring a variety
  • Bait – live or prepared
  • Weights – to keep your line in the water
  • Bobber – to let you know when the fish bites
  • Tackle box – to keep things organized
  • Fishing vest – kids love all the pockets!

Another great fishing tip: Bring along some cold drinks and snacks, and don’t forget the camera! You’ll be making memories that you’ll want to share.

Putting a new line on your fishing rod: One of the first fishing tips for beginners is to learn how to string your fishing rod. Here are the basics:

  1. Figure out what type of line to use.
    Monofilament is the most popular.
  2. Tie the line to the spinning barrel on your reel and begin rolling it until the reel is full.
  3. Be sure to keep your line straight and don’t let it twist. You don’t want it to get knotted.
  4. Then thread the line through the metal eyes on your rod, starting at the end closest to the reel.
  5. When you’ve threaded the line through the eyes up to the top of the rod, pull the line out another 8 or 9 inches. Then tie a weight or hook to the end.

Types of Hooks: Just like rods, hooks come in different sizes. The larger the number, the smaller the hook.

Videos Courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org

Bobbers: Attaching a bobber helps you know when a fish is biting. When your bobber goes under water or moves in a different direction, it is time to set the hook. To set the hook, pull back on the line sharply by raising your rod tip straight above your head to the 12 o’clock position.

Videos Courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org

Casting with a spinning reel: Practicing simple casting techniques can make all the difference. Remember, cast lightly so your bait doesn’t fall off!

Videos Courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org

What to wear: Colorado weather is always unpredictable. Dress for the forecast, but be prepared for changes. It makes sense to bring along a jacket or sweatshirt and, for younger children, a change of clothes in case they get wet. Outdoor activities are always more fun when you’re comfortable and dry, and it might be colder near the water or at higher elevations.

Don’t forget a hat with a brim to shade your face, sunglasses to protect your eyes and an inexpensive poncho or rain gear, just in case.

Basic first aid kit and handy items for a fishing outing.

Be prepared with a safety bag that’s easy to grab and go. Here are a few items to keep on hand so you’re prepared if something comes up:

  • A basic first aid kit
  • Sunscreen lotion
  • Lip Balm with SPF
  • Insect repellent
  • Any prescribed medications
  • Aspirin (Bayer®), Ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) or Acetaminophen (Tylenol®)

NOTE: While you’re out enjoying your fishing adventure, remember to follow the Colorado Rules and Fishing Regulations. Get familiar with the licensing requirements, bag and possession limits for various types of fish as well as any special conditions or restrictions.

Our fishing tips for beginners should give your summer a jump start for fun on the water with your family and friends.

Practice your casting.

Learning to cast properly isn’t hard. But, just like anything else, practice makes perfect. Try casting towards a target, like a hula-hoop. After a few times you’ll have the hang of it.

Casting a spinning reel.

Practicing simple casting techniques can make all the difference. Remember, cast lightly so your bait doesn’t fall off!

Videos Courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org

Set the hook/catch and release.

Reeling in a fish requires setting the hook. And knowing how to put the fish back without harming them is important.

Videos Courtesy of TakeMeFishing.org

Colorado fishing lakes, rivers and streams.

Whether you want a secluded area in the mountains or a place closer to home, there are a wide variety of fishing spots in Colorado to suit your preferences. Find more information about your perfect place in the Colorado Fishing Atlas, and start planning your fishing trip today.

The Colorado fishing experience.

Get out and enjoy our fabulous fishing lakes in Colorado! Take the kids somewhere close to home for an afternoon of fun, or plan a trip for a few days for a more immersive Colorado fishing experience.

Lake fishing:

“Still fishing” on a lake in Colorado is a very popular way to get started. Lakes have a variety of fish species, and you can expect to have good success, whether you’re in a boat or fishing from shore. Many are located in local or regional parks that may have campgrounds, restrooms, a playground for little ones or even a boat house with ice cream and snacks!

Most fish feed during the morning and evening hours when the temperatures are cooler. They like to hide in the shade or around rocks where their coloring helps them blend in and mask their location.

River and stream fishing:

This type of fishing is often all about trout and catfish. You have to deal with moving water and how the fish behave in a stream. River fish tend to hide under overhanging trees, around rock eddies and in other areas that provide similar protection.

They feed in areas where the current is slower and food can collect or sink. Typically, fish in moving water are a little smaller than lake fish, but they’re quite strong from fighting the currents.


Information & Conditions:
These recorded updates and the CPW website have current conditions for waters in the following areas of the state:

Metro Denver/Foothills
(303) 291-7535

Northeast Colorado
(303) 291-7536

Northwest Colorado
(303) 291-7537

Southeast Colorado
(303) 291-7538

Southwest Colorado
(303) 291-7539

Fish Stocking Reports
(303) 291-7531

Find your spot on the Colorado fishing map.

Fishing in Colorado & making memories with your kids.

Anyone can fish, and Colorado fishing is the best. The gorgeous lakes and streams in our state make for memorable vacations, exciting afternoons and tons of opportunities to take pictures and relive fun times together. Just think of the fish stories you’ll share again and again.

Get out in the fresh air, take a little hike, hunt for frogs, have a picnic lunch or have a friendly competition to see who can cast the farthest or catch the biggest fish. Fishing in Colorado is something the entire family, young and old, can enjoy together.

"You can let the fish go, but
hang on to the memories."

Fishing with your dad videos.

Take a look at some of these videos and reflect on your first experience fishing in Colorado. Imagine your own kids and the excitement on their faces when they hook their own fish on their first Colorado fishing adventure. It’s an experience that will stay with them for a lifetime.

Phyllis Dejaynes

Find out how a man of few words was able to connect with his daughter on their special father/daughter trips.

Randy Hampton

Randy’s father - like many dads - worked a lot growing up. But that all changed when he got out on the lake. 

Greg Gerlich

After hearing his father's fishing stories for years, Greg was finally old enough to go on a trip with him.

Navarre Roybal

Three generations and one fishing trip inspired Navarre to never give up. 

Chad Gauerke

Watch as he relives a trip to Yellowstone he took over thirty years ago.

Ed Dawson

In his eyes, Ed's father was an angler who knew everything... and shared it with his son.

Shawn Hermosillo

An emotional memory brings tears to Shawn’s eyes. 

The foundation of a healthy family.

With the hectic schedules of work and family life, Colorado fishing is a welcome break from the routine. You have the time and space to get out, talk with the kids, be silly, teach a few lessons about patience and determination and give them the opportunity to talk to you in a relaxed setting. A tradition of fishing with the family builds trust and stronger relationships to grow on.

Fishing in Colorado is truly an adventure and a special opportunity to share time with your kids. Get started today and make some memories.

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