Getting a recreational fishing license in Colorado allows you to go fishing in the state’s diverse waterways. Residents and non-residents who obtain a freshwater fishing permit from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will have access to 2,500 natural lakes and reservoirs and 12,000 miles of streams. Commercial fishing permits are also available to those who wish to sell fish in Colorado or operate other fishing-related businesses.

Review the sections below to learn how to get a recreational fishing license and other types of Colorado fishing permits. Find out where to get your sport fishing license, learn a freshwater fishing license cost and get information on types of fish commonly caught in Colorado.

Who needs a fishing license in Colorado?

You need a CO recreational fishing license to go fishing in the state if you are between the ages of 16 and 64. Senior residents older than 64 can obtain a sport fishing license for $1 annually, and low-income seniors can apply for a free lifetime fishing license. Do you need a fishing license for freshwater aquatic life other than fish? In Colorado, a valid recreational fishing license is required to take or attempt to take amphibians and crustaceans, except when prohibited. Before getting a sport fishing license in CO, all anglers age 16 to 64 must first purchase an annual or lifetime Habitat Stamp.

Colorado Fishing License Requirements

Purchasing a sport fishing license in CO comes with a few minimal requirements. When applying for a recreational fishing license, you must show a secure and verifiable ID card, provide your Social Security Number and show proof of Colorado residency by the following means:

  • Live in CO at least six consecutive months prior to applying for a recreational fishing license and have the intention of making Colorado your home.
  • The residence you provide to CPW must match the address on your CO income tax return.
  • A CO driver’s license may only be used for recreational fishing license proof of residency if it was issued at least six months before applying for your fishing license.
  • U.S. military personnel and their dependents qualify as Colorado residents if they are in the state on active duty orders.
  • Full-time students enrolled in a CO college, university or trade school qualify for residency after living in the state for six months. Colorado residents attending college out of state may also obtain a sport fishing license at the reduced resident rate.
  • Children between 16 and 18 who live with Colorado resident parents have resident status.
  • If you live in CO and another state, you must meet the residency requirements above and you may not hold a fishing license in another state.

Types of Fishing Licenses in Colorado

A recreational fishing license opens fishing access in Colorado’s network of lakes, streams and rivers. These sport fishing licenses are issued in a variety of forms, including:

  • Resident and non-resident annual fishing licenses.
  • Resident senior annual fishing license.
  • Small game and fish fishing license
  • Non-resident five-day fishing license.
  • One-day fishing license.
  • Additional-day fishing license.
  • Special disability licenses.
  • Lifetime fishing licenses.

Colorado also offers a basic commercial fishing license for those who wish to engage in fishing for commercial or business reasons. The commercial fishing license price is listed below.

What types of fish can I catch with a fishing license in Colorado?

Your recreational fishing license in Colorado allows you to catch specific fish species, which will vary by location and season. Popular types of Colorado fish include the following:

  • Yellow perch
  • Arctic char
  • Splake
  • Grayling
  • Mountain whitefish
  • Kokanee salmon
  • Sunfish (green, redear, bluegill)
  • Trout (rainbow, brown, brook, cutthroat, lake and tiger)

What types of fish require special fishing permits or tags in Colorado?

Your CO sport fishing license does not require special permits or tags for certain species. However, your recreational fishing license does not permit you to take every type of fish or aquatic wildlife you encounter or take an unlimited amount of allowable fish. Consult the freshwater fishing license information in the latest issue of the CPW Colorado Fishing Guide to find out if any fish currently have special limits.

How long is a fishing license valid in Colorado?

A Colorado recreational fishing license is valid from April 1 to March 31 of the following year. Lifetime fishing licenses are valid for the holder’s lifetime. A set-time sport fishing license is valid for the length printed on the document, such the One-Day License.

How much does an Colorado fishing license cost?

Your sport fishing license cost will vary according to the type of license, the length of time that it is valid, and whether any discounts apply. Residents and non-residents between 16 and 64 years of age must first purchase a $10 Habitat Stamp before applying for a sport fishing license, unless you are exempt due to a disability. Colorado recreational fishing license and other fishing license fees are as follows:

  • Resident Annual Fishing License: $26
  • Non-resident Annual Fishing License: $56
  • Resident Small Game and Fish Fishing License Combo: $41
  • Resident Senior Annual Fishing License: $1
  • Non-resident Five-Day Fishing License: $21
  • Resident or Non-resident One-Day Fishing License: $9
  • Second Rod Stamp (resident, non-resident, youth): $5
  • Commercial Fishing License: $40
  • Resident Disabled Lifetime Fishing License: No Fee
  • Veteran’s Lifetime Combination Small Game and Fish Fishing License: No Fee

Related Guides

Are fishing license discounts available in Colorado?

Colorado recreational fishing license discounts are available to qualifying individuals, including totally and permanently disabled state residents and disabled veterans. Contact CPW for these sport fishing license application requirements and instructions.

Where can I get a fishing license in Colorado?

You may obtain any recreational freshwater fishing license offered in Colorado online, in person at a CPW office or by phone. CO sport fishing licenses are also available at license agents, located inside certain retail stores and outdoor recreation locations.

How can I replace my Colorado fishing license?

To replace a lost or damaged Colorado recreational fishing license, you may visit any fishing license agent or CPW office and request another copy. Direct questions about recreational fishing license replacement by phone.