Morning photo: Fishing!

Licenses for the 2012-2012 season on sale; state fishery experts warn against ‘bucket biology’

Fishing in glassy water at a "hidden" cove along the shore of Dillon Reservoir.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Early spring weather might not be the best thing for skiers looking to extend the season, but it could be good news for Colorado anglers looking to get early access to high country lakes and streams.

And with the 2o12-2012 license year just a few weeks away, it could be a good time to make sure you’re ready by buying or renewing your license. The latest fishing brochure, with regulations and other info, is also available where licenses are sold and online at

Memorial Day fishing at the Dillon Marina.

This year’s brochure includes a link to printable fishing maps, QR codes to access interactive information. It also provides important information on ways anglers can protect their fisheries from illicit stocking and aquatic nuisance species.

“Colorado has some amazing fishing opportunities,” said Matt Nicholl, acting aquatic section manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “From urban bass lakes to high-mountain fly-fishing streams, there is something for everyone. But more than ever we need anglers to help us protect those fisheries for today and the future.”

First fish with a flyrod, Snake River, Keystone, Colorado.

As in other states, Colorado fishery managers have been forced to wage an ongoing and costly battle against the damage caused by so-called “bucket biologists,” irresponsible anglers who break the law by moving fish wherever they please. These illegal introductions have threatened sport fisheries, complicated endangered fish recovery and siphoned money away from other needed fishery management efforts.

“Some people might move their favorite species of fish because they want it closer to home or in their favorite spot,” said Bob Thompson, who heads wildlife law enforcement for the agency. “But those people are committing a crime and threatening fisheries that all anglers have paid to create and preserve.”

A lot goes into maintaining good fishing opportunities, including ongoing monitoring of fish populations by state biologists and volunteers. In this image, a team electroshocks the Snake River at Keystone.
After the electro-shocking comes the counting and measuring.

Fish such as smallmouth bass, walleye and northern pike have been illegally introduced in several Colorado reservoirs. These predator fish can out-compete traditional sport fish such as trout and kokanee, and ruin recreational fishing for other anglers. They also threaten populations of native fish downstream in the Colorado and San Juan rivers.

“There are many examples of fish being put in places where they don’t belong and we’re committed to stop the illegal movement of fish in this state,” Thompson said. Anyone caught illegally moving fish faces fines of up to $5,000 plus the loss of hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 36 other states. Those convicted could also be liable for the extremely high cost of eradication or removal of the illegally stocked fish.

Trent Park in Silverthorne is a great place to introduce youngsters to fishing.

In addition to information about the illegal moving of fish by unscrupulous anglers, this year’s fishing brochure also includes expanded information on ways to prevent the movement of invasive non-native species such as zebra mussels, quagga mussels and rusty crayfish.

“We are a mobile society and boats travel long distances in relatively short periods of time often bringing harmful invasive species with them,” explained Aquatic Nuisance Species Coordinator Elizabeth Brown. “Non-native species can be catastrophic if they hitch a ride and end up in our waters in Colorado.”

Early spring fishing at the mouth of Tenmile Creek in Frisco.
Dillon Reservoir, with a storm rolling in.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife conducts mandatory boat inspections and decontaminations at 27 State Parks and 58 other locations around the state. Information about the state’s extensive boat inspection program can be found online at Resources for boaters in Colorado state park waters can be viewed at

Take good care of the fish you catch, and don't keep them if they're not big enough!

A Colorado fishing license is required for anyone age 16 and older who fishes in Colorado. An annual fishing license is $26 for Colorado residents and $56 for nonresidents. Seniors 64 and older who are residents of Colorado can purchase an annual fishing license for $1. Parks and Wildlife  offers five-day and one-day fishing licenses for visiting anglers or those who are going on a shorter outing.

Colorado also asks sportsmen who purchase a fishing or hunting license to also buy a $10 Colorado Wildlife Habitat Stamp each year. Since state lawmakers approved the stamp in 2005, funds from the program have helped conserve more than 124,000 acres of important wildlife habitat and opened more than 23 miles of new fishing access for anglers.

For more information about fishing opportunities in Colorado, go to

Casting for brookies in a beaver pond.
Big fish, big smiles.
Fishing for cutthroat, Clinton Gulch Reservoir.
A peaceful summer day at Officers Gulch pond.

One thought on “Morning photo: Fishing!

  1. Very timely and informative also. I have to say that those individuals who stock illegal species, are among the selfish in this world. That said, the pics are a nice jump on springtime in the Rockies, delightful to look at, plan for, along with the stories that will surely be told. Thanks Bob, hope you & yours have a great fun filled season upcoming.

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