As warmer weather approaches, everyone is looking forward to spending time outdoors – especially Colorado anglers. Resisting the state’s assortment of over thirty different fish species, which range from stunning rainbow trout to hard-hitting northern pike, along with the state’s public access to 9,500 miles of streams, 2,000 natural lakes, and 800 reservoirs, is nearly impossible.
Unfortunately, however, a surprising number of anglers remain unaware of the numerous regulations that the state places on fishing. For example, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) releases a myriad of rules each year that address everything from permissible bait to protected species. Furthermore, the regulations may vary depending on the waterbody, and there is no guarantee that last year’s standards are the same as this year’s. As a result, many well-intentioned fishermen can find themselves inadvertently outside of the law at the start of a new fishing season.
To prevent paying significant fines – or even losing their fishing rights altogether –Colorado anglers should ensure they understand all relevant CPW regulations before casting out their first lines. Such restrictions include bag limitations, species length requirements, proper licensure, fishing time limits, waterbody-specific rules, and more.
Many of these rules can be found in the 2017 Colorado Fishing Brochure, an up-to-date guide on the subject. As its numerous pages illustrate, there are various regulations pertaining to specific fishing areas. For example, Cherry Creek Reservoir, located in Arapahoe County, has a CPW special regulation that limits the take of walleye to only one fish longer than twenty-one inches per day. Conversely, Stagecoach Reservoir in Routt County also has a special regulation that puts no limitation on walleye takes for individuals.
For someone attempting to abide by the state’s fishing laws, the number of requirements necessary for compliance can be daunting. Furthermore, the CPW tickets individuals for rule violations, such as using live bait in a waterbody that only allows artificial flies and lures or unlawfully taking and possessing a fish species during a closed season.
Notably, the odds of committing a violation increase for individuals fishing in unfamiliar waters. Also, because these laws vary widely from state to state, it can be easy to fail to recognize a violation. For these reasons, making sure you’ve received reliable information before embarking on a fishing trip in Colorado is highly recommended.
Colorado’s 2017 fishing license sales began on March 15, and the upcoming season promises to draw many of us out to the water in search of a trophy catch. But, like any fishing season, it’s important to know what regulations you and your companions must abide by, especially considering that Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers check for proper licenses and compliance with daily bag limits all season long.
At Welsh Law, LLC, we can assist you in ensuring compliance with all applicable laws on your next fishing trip. From expedition compliance planning to protect your rights if you’ve received a ticket, our experienced team of wildlife attorneys can help you get the most out of the 2017 fishing season – and enjoy it legally.
For additional consultation on Wildlife, Hunting, or related matters, please contact an experienced professional at Welsh Law, LLC at 866-477-8616 toll-free.