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Colorado Fishing Licenses

The CO Parks and Wildlife Department requires all anglers planning to catch fish in state public waters for the purpose of sale to buy Colorado commercial fishing licenses prior to conducting any commercial fishing activities. To buy commercial fishing licenses in Colorado, anglers must complete the fishing license application process by submitting an application in person to a CO wildlife official. The local wildlife department in Colorado is very selective in regards to which entities and the type of entities (individuals or companies) that are permitted to buy commercial fishing licenses in the state.

The state typically only sells commercial fishing licenses to individuals or companies that own a private body of water that they can fish in commercially. Anglers who desire to fish commercially but live in an area where commercial fishing waters are mostly on private land must legally make a request to the landowner of the property (individual or company) for the privilege of fishing commercially on the property. Many times, the owner will agree to let anglers fish on the property for a set fee negotiated between the angler and the property owner. In these cases, the rules and regulations for fishing on the private property are subject to the property owner's discretion. For public state waters, anglers can apply for a commercial fishing license through the state wildlife department. Regulations set by the state wildlife department concerning commercial fishing include a number of provisions prohibiting certain fishing practices. For example, there are only a few types of fish that anglers are allowed to catch for commercial purposes in Colorado. Colorado is home to numerous fish that belong to a prohibited species group, and they are therefore protected. Commercial fishing license fees vary based on a number of factors, such as the applicant's residency status and the type of fish the applicant plans on catching. Anglers must present certain documents when applying for a commercial fishing license, such as proof of identity and proof of residency. Proof of residency and identity can typically both be presented in the form of a state-issued ID card or driver's license. For more information on how to get fishing licenses in Colorado, the various types of available fishing licenses and other CO fishing license rules and regulations, read the sections outlined below.


What is the difference between a resident and non-resident Colorado commercial fishing license?

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department offers both residential and non resident commercial fishing licenses to anglers in the state. Though the privileges afforded in each type of commercial fishing license are largely the same, some fundamental differences exist between each license to fish commercially. Colorado residential commercial fishing licenses are issued at a reduced fee rate in comparison with non resident commercial fishing licenses. For fishing license purposes, individuals are considered Colorado residents if they have lived in the state for at least six consecutive months directly prior to submitting their fishing license application. Residents must present proof of residency when submitting their application. Acceptable documents for proof of residency include state-issued ID cards and driver's licenses.

How do I obtain a Colorado commercial fishing license?

Currently, there is only one method available to anglers planning on buying commercial fishing licenses in Colorado. To buy fishing licenses for commercial use, individuals can submit a fishing license application in person at a local CO wildlife department office. The wildlife department typically only issues commercial fishing permits to companies and individuals who own property with a private body of water on it. From there, many of these individuals and companies rent out their bodies of water to other individuals who desire to fish commercially in the state. In these cases, the fee requirements and rules are set by the owner of the property that the lake is on. However, anglers with an unregulated or protected public body of water near them may apply for a commercial fishing license for that particular water body through the CO wildlife department.

During the commercial fishing license application process, anglers must present proof of identity and – in the case of residential commercial fishing license applicants – proof of residency. A state-issued ID card or driver's license is sufficient proof of both identity and residency.

How do I replace a Colorado commercial fishing license?

Anglers in Colorado dealing with a lost, stolen or damaged commercial fishing license must contact a local wildlife department office to start the process of applying for a commercial fishing license renewal. Commercial fishing license renewals must be applied for in person, as applicants must present proof of identity during the transaction. Documents that satisfy proof of identity requirements include state-issued ID cards and driver's licenses. Depending on the specific situation, fees for commercial fishing license replacements may apply.

What is considered a commercial fish in Colorado?

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department only allows anglers with commercial fishing license credentials to catch specific types of fish for commercial purposes in state waters. Commercial fish in Colorado include: gizzard shad, white and longnose suckers, carp and minnows. Anglers who possess a commercial license to fish in Colorado are only authorized to fish in certain bodies of water as determined by the state. In order to fish commercially in privately owned lakes, anglers must get legal authorization from the property owner.

Are there any fish that cannot be taken with a Colorado commercial fishing license?

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department has a list of prohibited fish species that anglers are not authorized to catch, regardless of the recreational or commercial fishing license they possess. State fish that are part of the prohibited species list include: gar, piranha, trahira, burbot, stickleback, rudd, bowfin, tilapia, zebra mussels, white perch, Asian swamp eel, quagga mussels, rusty crayfish, green frog and others. Fish species on this list may only be caught for experimental purposes with prior authorization from the local wildlife department.

Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Oftentimes you can buy a fishing license through your state’s fishing department website. You will most likely need to create an account on the webpage and have a printer nearby to finalize your transaction. Make sure to also have a valid credit card on hand, as no other form of payment is accepted by state departments online. Take note that, as proof of your residency, you may be required to enter your driver’s license number.
In a general sense, a good number of states offer the following types of fishing licenses: a regular fishing license and a commercial fishing license. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to get a saltwater license to fish, if you are by coastal waters. In addition to these permits, you may be required to buy a fishing stamp, depending on the specific type of fish species you intend to catch.
A regular fishing permit is often valid for the period of a full year. However, you may also have the option to obtain a license to fish that is good for 24 hours or 72 hours, for example. In some instances, a weekly fishing license or a lifetime license may also be available. Lifetime licenses to fish are the most suitable option for those anglers who intend to fish for the duration of their lives. Keep in mind that if you would like to continue fishing after the expiration date of your current licensure, you will be required to get a new permit to fish.
The fees related to a state fishing license may vary, depending on a few factors. But senior residents and military veterans can usually get a fishing license that is free of charge, as long as they can present official documentation that supports their residency or military service. Resident licenses to fish are often more affordable than nonresident licenses. The most costly licenses are for those who would like to get lifetime credentials.
In the event that you have lost your fishing license or it was stolen, the most common way to obtain a duplicate is through your state’s fishing department. You may be required to make an in-person visit to a nearby office or to contact a licensed agent directly. Depending on where you reside, you may also have the option to order a fishing permit replacement online. But, to be sure, it is important that you double check with your state department first, as you may also need to bring in certain documentation, such as your driver’s license or ID card.
This site is privately owned and is neither affiliated with, nor endorsed by, nor operated by a government agency.