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Colorado: Free fishing this weekend

Relatively low river flows make for good angling this year

Trent Park, Silverthorne, Colorado.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — After the earliest snow-melt on record, many Colorado rivers and streams are already running clear and warming up. And with flows projected to drop off quickly going into summer, the upcoming free fishing weekend might be the perfect time to get into the groove of the season.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife traditionally sets aside the first full weekend in June to promote sport fishing. For this weekend only, anglers do not need a valid fishing license in order to wet a line. The state fishing report is online here.

“Fishing is one of Colorado’s most important outdoor traditions and a great way to hook kids on healthy outdoor recreation,” said Greg Gerlich, aquatic section manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Free fishing weekend also gives anglers who haven’t fished for a while a chance to reconnect with the simple pleasure of being on the water.”

While no fishing license is required during free fishing weekend, all other regulations remain in effect, including bag and possession limits, and restrictions on bait in certain waters. Anglers should consult the 2012 Colorado Fishing brochure for regulations and restrictions.

With more than 2,000 lakes, ponds, and reservoirs, as well as 10,000 miles of streams and rivers, Colorado anglers can pursue a variety of species, including trout, bass, walleye, catfish and carp.

Each year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife stocks more than 3 million catchable-sized trout and 14 million trout fingerlings. The agency also stocks more than 64 million warm-water fry and fingerlings around the state.

With the exception of free fishing weekend, anglers between the ages of 16 and 64 are required to have a valid Colorado fishing license before casting a line. Annual resident fishing licenses cost $26 and one-day or five-day licenses are also available. Youth under age 16 are not required to have a license. Resident seniors aged 65 and older can buy an annual Colorado fishing license for $1.

Fishing licenses can be purchased at any Colorado Parks and Wildlife office or from one of the more than 600 license agents across the state.  Licenses can also be purchased online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/. Anglers who just can’t wait may purchase a fishing license over the phone and receive a temporary authorization number allowing them to fish immediately by calling 800-244-5613.

For more information on state fishing regulations, the current Colorado fishing brochure is available online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/RulesRegs/RegulationsBrochures/. An interactive version of the brochure available on the web site provides links to maps and useful videos for beginning to experienced anglers.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife produces a weekly fishing report that includes information about fishing conditions and stocking activity around the state. The fishing report is available online at http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/Reports/Pages/StatewideConditions.aspx.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife was created by the merger of Colorado State Parks and the Colorado Division of Wildlife, two nationally recognized leaders in conservation, outdoor recreation and wildlife management. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages 42 state parks, all of Colorado’s wildlife, more than 300 state wildlife areas and a host of recreational programs.

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