Colorado Fishing License (2024): Cost, Who Needs One & How to Buy

Colorado Fishing License Info Feature Image

Colorado has a huge diversity of freshwater fishing headlined by blue ribbon fly fishing opportunities for trout in the Rockies (here’s our guide to the best Colorado fly fishing spots).

To fish the state’s more than 6000 miles of streams and 1300 lakes and reservoirs, you’ll need the right license.

Read on to find out which license you need and how to buy it. 

Fishing in Colorado

Before we break down Colorado’s licensing requirements, we just wanted to highlight some of the brilliant fishing available. Colorado is chiefly known for trout fishing – rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, brown trout, and other species.

The South Platte River, the Gunnison River, and the Arkansas River are just a few great Rocky Mountain streams. Down on the plains, the good trout fishing remains, but you can throw walleye into the mix.

Fishing is such a big deal in Colorado the state has created an interactive fishing map showing locations for different species as well as where to buy a fishing license:

Who Needs a Fishing License in Colorado?

All anglers over the age of 16 need a valid license to fish in Colorado public waters across the area (see here for the age requirements for holding a fishing license in other states). While both residents and non-residents are eligible to procure a fishing license, the application is separate, and the cost varies. 

Colorado is famous for super fly fishing in the Rockies

Who Is Exempt From Needing a Fishing License in Colorado?

  • Children 15 and under
  • Colorado residents on active duty with the Armed Forces out of state can fish free for 30 days while on temporary leave and on specified days and/or months. Learn more here.
  • Disability licenses can be obtained by a special application from the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission.
  • You can fish in Colorado without a license only on the first full weekend of June each year

See also:

Fishing License Types in Colorado

Both residents and non-residents are eligible to procure a fishing license; the application is separate, and the cost varies. For individuals aged 18 through 64, a $10.59 Habitat Stamp is required with the first license purchase for the year (March 1 – March 31 annually). For more information, read about the Habitat Stamp. Disabled individuals may not need a Habitat Stamp. See disability information.

Please note that paying the license fees also includes a $0.25 search and rescue fee and a $0.75 fee for the Wildlife Council. 

Cost: How Much is a Fishing License in Colorado?

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An annual fishing license in Colorado costs $36.71 for a resident angler and $102.40 for a non-resident angler. See the tables below for more detail on the cost of various Colorado fishing licenses. (See here for a breakdown of the cost of a fishing license in all 50 states).

Resident Fishing Licenses

A Colorado resident is someone who has lived in the state of Colorado for more than six months continuously. Proof of residency, such as a state-issued driver’s license, social security number, or utility or income tax bill, may be requested from anyone who wishes to purchase a resident fishing license in Colorado. 

Fishing License Type (Resident)Cost
Annual Fishing License (18+)$36.71
Small Game & Fishing Combination (If born after 1948, you must show hunter education card)$52.60
Senior Annual (65+)$10.23
Senior Low Income Lifetime Fishing (64+)
​​Senior Lifetime Fishing Upgrade (65+)If you hold a lifetime senior low-income fishing license or are a senior disability lifetime license holder, you may purchase a reduced-cost small game license annually. This license allows the holder to exercise all benefits of the license, including using it as a qualifying license for the big game draws.$22.56
One-day Fishing License$14.46
2nd Rod Stamp (Available to licensed residents, licensed nonresidents, and youth under 16 years, licensed or unlicensed.)$11.28
Youth (16-17)Second-rod charge still applies. For youth under 16, see the Fishing Brochure​.$10.23
Annual Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Stamp*$25.00​

Non Resident Fishing Licenses

These licenses are applicable to all visitors to Colorado who want to fish from other states or countries. Non resident licenses are typically more expensive than resident licenses, and some of the discounts and exemptions that apply to residents, veterans, the disabled, and seniors don’t usually apply to non resident license holders.

Fishing License Type (Nonresident)Cost
Annual Fishing License (18+)$102.40
2nd Rod Stamp (Available to licensed residents, licensed nonresidents, and youth under 16 years, licensed or unlicensed.)$11.28
​Annual Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Stamp*​$50.00

Who Can Purchase Discounted Colorado Fishing Licenses?

An adult annual license for a Colorado resident is $36.71 plus tax, with discounts for seniors, youth, and people who are low-income.

Fishing licenses for the 2022-2023 season, which runs from March 1, 2022, until March 21, 2023, are on sale now

Special Fishing Programs in Colorado
Colorado Wildlife Council

Part of the license fees goes to the Colorado Wildlife Council. The Colorado Wildlife Council’s goal is to educate the general public about the benefits of wildlife, wildlife management, and wildlife-related recreational opportunities in Colorado, specifically hunting and fishing.

Wildlife Conservation & Management

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s conservation teams aim to nurture healthy landscapes and coexistence between humans and wildlife for generations to come. Through proactive monitoring and surveying, it keeps tabs on all species, both those in trouble and those thriving. Preventing endangerment includes careful land use, in-depth research, and cooperative partnerships. 

To learn more about Colorado’s conservation efforts, please click here

Where Can I Buy A Colorado Fishing Licence?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Licenses can be purchased in person at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife office or sales agent​.


You can also buy online or by phone at 1-800-244-5613.​

What Happens With Colorado Fishing License Fees?

Colorado Fishing license fees go to support the development of the different programs of the state, such as Colorado natural areas, habitat partnership programs, land and water management, invasive species, river outfitters, trails, and others. 

Does Colorado Have Reciprocal License Arrangements With Neighboring States?

There is a reciprocal license agreement for fishing in reciprocal waters of the Colorado River, Lake Mead, and Lake Mohave. Each person who is 12 years of age or over must possess (a) An Arizona fishing license, (b) A Nevada fishing license, or(c) A Nevada Interstate Boundary Waters license.

Persons under 12 years of age may fish in the reciprocal waters of the Colorado River, Lake Mead, and Lake Mohave without obtaining a special use stamp, license, or permit to fish.


Check out our state-by-state guides to fishing license costs, discounts for seniors and veterans, and where to buy.

Does Colorado Offer Lifetime Fishing Licenses?

Yes. Any Colorado resident who has a total and permanent disability may obtain, free of charge, a Lifetime Fishing License. Lifetime Fishing License holders are exempt from purchasing a Habitat Stamp each year. The license will only be valid as long as the applicant maintains their Colorado residency.

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Rick Wallace is a passionate angler and fly fisher whose work has appeared in fishing publications including FlyLife. He's appeared in fishing movies, founded a successful fishing site and spends every spare moment on the water. He's into kayak fishing, ultralight lure fishing and pretty much any other kind of fishing out there.
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