Best time to visit Colorado

Fishing in Colorado

Fly-fishers, ice-fishers and rod-and-reelers can find many great spots in Colorado

Best time: all year round


Colorado has 13,000 km (8,000 miles) of rivers and more than 2,000 lakes. If you are into fishing, you'll have plenty of locations to choose from and beautiful views as a bonus. Another great thing is that you can go fishing at any time of the year if you are not afraid to stay outside in the cold. For the most comfortable weather opt for the period between May and October.

In Colorado, you'll need a fishing license. They are available on April 1st each year and are good through March 31 of the following year. There are also 1-day and 5-day passes sold by Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

The Northwest region is often called Trout heaven on earth. Check out the Fryingpan River just east of Basalt below Ruedi Reservoir or Roaring Fork River and Colorado River, Pearl Lake State Park or Steamboat Lake State Park.

The Denver area also offers great fishing at Charlie Meyers State Wildlife on the South Platte River between Spinney Mountain State Park and Eleven Mile State Park. There is also Cherry Creek State Park, Chatfield State Park and Standley Lake. You can also try Clear Creek Canyon near Golden or South Boulder Creek near Boulder.

Rocky Mountain National Park also offers unbelievably good trout fishing, amazing walleye and smallmouth bass fishing at Horsetooth Reservoir, Boyd Lake State Park and Carter Lake.

Practical info

When is the best time to go fishing in Colorado?

Fishing can be done at any time in the state, but the most comfortable and popular time for fishing in Colorado is between May and October. It is essential to check the weather forecast regularly, especially in the high mountain streams where weather can change rapidly. Trout is popular during winter ice-fishing that opens up more fishing spots. However, the overall best time for fishing is in spring and summer. Show more

Where can I get a fishing license in Colorado?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife department issues fishing licenses that are available online, in-store, or through phone calls. Departmental and park offices sell licenses, including annual licenses, five-day licenses, one-day licenses, and lifetime licenses for all ages. State residents and non-residents catch fish free of charge under the age of 16, but obtaining a license is still mandatory. Show more

What is the Northwest region in Colorado known for in terms of fishing?

The Trout Heaven on Earth nickname is the most significant attribute of Colorado Northwestern when it comes to fishing. The region comprises several rivers, including Colorado, Roaring Fork, and Frying Pan, offering the best fishing opportunities. Frying Pan River is exemplary for fly-fishing, while Colorado River is perfect for catching brown trout. The serene settings of Steamboat Lake State Park and Pearl Lake State Park offer great fishing experiences too. Show more

Where are some good fishing spots near Denver?

South Platte River's Charlie Meyers State Wildlife Area is one of the best fishing spots closest to Denver, which regularly stocks trout. Other great fishing locations near the city include Cherry Creek State Park, Chatfield State Park, and Standley Lake. South Boulder Creek Boulder and Clear Creek Canyon in Golden are other favorite fishing hotspots, enabling the catch of smallmouth bass, trout, and catfish. Show more

Can you fish in Rocky Mountain National Park, and what kind of fish can you catch there?

Fishing is allowed on all streams and lakes within the Rocky Mountain National Park, but a fishing license, like in other Colorado areas, is necessary. The park fishing locations offer Greenback Cutthroat, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, and other fish species. Horsetooth Reservoir, Boyd Lake State Park, and Carter Lake near the park also offer great fishing possibilities for smallmouth bass, walleye, and catfish while enjoying a calm environment. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin