Colorado Fishing License: Rules, Regulations, and How to Get One

Last Updated on May 26, 2023

Colorado is a state famous for its scenic beauty, vast landscapes, and abundant wildlife. It is also a popular destination for anglers who come from all over the world to fish in its numerous lakes, rivers, and streams. 

However, before you can cast your line in Colorado’s waters, you need to obtain a Colorado fishing license.

In this article, we will explore the rules and regulations governing fishing licenses in Colorado and guide you through the process of obtaining one.


Going fishing in Colorado? Then give a read to our Best Bass Fishing Lakes in Colorado article.

Who Needs a Fishing License in Colorado?

If you plan to fish in Colorado’s public waters, you need a fishing license. 

This rule applies to all residents and non-residents over the age of 16. Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) is the agency responsible for managing fishing licenses in the state.

What Age Do You Need a Fishing License in Colorado?

In Colorado, children under the age of 16 can fish without a license. However, they must still follow all fishing regulations and limits.

If you are 16 years old or older, you need to obtain a fishing license before you can fish legally.


If you are a resident of Colorado, you are eligible for a resident fishing license. 

A resident is defined as someone who has lived in Colorado for at least six consecutive months before applying for the license. 

To prove your residency, you will need to provide a valid Colorado driver’s license or state ID card.


Non-residents can also fish in Colorado, but they need to obtain a Colorado fishing license for non-residents.. 

These licenses are available for purchase online or at local retailers. Non-residents are required to pay higher license fees than residents for their licenses.

How to Buy a Colorado Fishing License Online

The easiest way to obtain a Colorado fishing license is to buy one online. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at
  2. Click on the “Buy and Apply” tab on the homepage.
  3. Select “Fishing Licenses” from the drop-down menu.
  4. Choose the type of license you want (resident or non-resident) and the duration (annual or one-day).
  5. Follow the prompts to provide the necessary information and pay for your license.

Once you have completed the process, you will receive a confirmation email with a digital copy of your license. You can print this copy and carry it with you while fishing or display it on your smartphone.

By Phone

You also have the option of obtaining a license over the phone. You can call 1-800-244-5613 and follow the prompts until you reach a live sales agent.

They can help you purchase your license and it’ll be shipped to you in the mail. 

Local Retailer

If you prefer to purchase your license in person, you can do so at local retailers across the state. These include sporting goods stores, fly fishing shops, bait, and tackle shops, and some Walmart locations. 

To find a retailer near you, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website and click on the “License Agents” tab.

How Much is a Fishing License in Colorado?

License TypeResidentNon-Resident
Adult Annual$36.71$102.40
Youth Annual (Age 16-17)$10.23N/A
Senior Annual$10.23N/A
Low-Income Senior (Life)$10.00N/A
5-Day PassN/A$33.53
1-Day Pass$14.46$17.64
Additional Day$7.05$7.05
Second Rod Stamp$11.28$11.28

In addition to the standard Colorado fishing license cost, some areas in the state require special permits.

For example, fishing in a state park or wildlife area may require an additional fee. Make sure to check the regulations for the area you plan to fish in to avoid any penalties.

What is a Habitat Stamp in Colorado?

In Colorado, the Habitat Stamp is a requirement for anyone who purchases a hunting or fishing license.

The Habitat Stamp is a small fee that is added to the cost of your license, and the revenue generated from this fee is used to fund conservation and habitat restoration projects throughout the state.

The Habitat Stamp fee is $11.50 for both residents and non-residents. 

When you purchase your hunting or fishing license, the cost of the Habitat Stamp will be automatically included in the total price.

Colorado habitat stamp

You can purchase the Habitat Stamp online, at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife office, or from a licensed vendor.

The funds from the Habitat Stamp are used to support a wide range of conservation efforts, including:

  • Habitat restoration projects to improve fish and wildlife habitat
  • Public access improvements, such as new boat ramps and fishing piers
  • Wildlife research and monitoring
  • Youth education programs that promote outdoor recreation and conservation

By purchasing a Habitat Stamp with your hunting or fishing license, you are helping to support these important conservation efforts and ensure that Colorado’s natural resources are protected for future generations to enjoy.

The only people who are exempt from the Habitat Stamp fee are one-day or additional-day licenses. 

Who Can Get a Free Fishing License in Colorado?

In Colorado, certain groups of people are eligible for free or discounted fishing licenses. These include:

  1. Active-duty military personnel: Colorado offers a free annual fishing license to active-duty military personnel stationed in the state. To qualify, you must present a valid military ID and a copy of your current orders.
  2. Disabled veterans: Colorado offers a discounted fishing license to disabled veterans who have a service-connected disability of at least 60%. The fee for this license is $9.
  3. Resident seniors: Colorado residents who are 65 years or older can obtain a discounted annual fishing license for $14.
  4. Low-income families: Colorado offers a program called “Fishing is Fun” that provides free fishing clinics and free fishing licenses to low-income families. To qualify, you must meet certain income requirements and attend a qualifying fishing clinic.

If you are eligible for a free or discounted fishing license in Colorado, you will need to provide proof of your eligibility when you apply for your license.

This may include a valid military ID, a disability rating letter from the VA, or proof of income.

What Happens if You Lose Your License? 

If you lose your Colorado fishing license, you can obtain a replacement by following these steps:

Log in to your Colorado Parks and Wildlife account:

If you purchased your fishing license online, you can log in to your account on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website. If you do not have an account, you can create one by clicking on the “Register” button.

Request a replacement license:

Once you are logged in, click on the “Replace License” button and follow the prompts to request a replacement license. You will need to provide your name, date of birth, and other identifying information to verify your identity.

Pay the replacement fee:

There is a fee to replace a lost or stolen fishing license in Colorado. You can pay this fee online using a credit or debit card.

Print your new license:

Once you have completed the online request and paid the replacement fee, you will be able to print a copy of your new fishing license. You can also choose to have a physical copy of the license mailed to you for an additional fee.

If you purchased your fishing license in person at a local retailer or Colorado Parks and Wildlife office, you can still request a replacement license online or by contacting the Colorado Parks and Wildlife customer service center. 

You will need to provide your name, date of birth, and other identifying information to verify your identity. You’ll likely still have to pay a fee as well.

Related Articles

Frequently Asked Questions 

Do you need a fishing license in Colorado?

Yes, everyone over the age of 16 is required to have a fishing license to fish in the state of Colorado. 

How much is a 5-day Colorado fishing license?

A 5-day fishing license is available to non-residents for $33.53. I’m not sure why they don’t allow it for residents but that’s just the rules. 

How do you get a fishing license in Colorado?

You can get a Colorado fishing license online, in person, or over the phone. 

Does a Colorado fishing license expire?

Yes, your CO fishing license is valid for one year unless you fall under the unique criteria that allow you to get a lifetime license. 

Final Thoughts 

You now possess the knowledge needed to go out and get a Colorado fishing license. I highly recommend that you follow the laws in your state and get a license when it’s required. 

It’s our duty as anglers to protect the waters we fish and to do our duty to fund the many organizations responsible for maintaining these waterways. 

Do your part and get a fishing license in Colorado today
If you’re looking for great areas to fish in Colorado, feel free to check out our interactive fishing map!