Fishing is a very popular sport in the state of Colorado, but it’s hard to find a location to fish that doesn’t have catch and release laws. These laws are put in place to conserve the environment and wildlife, but sometimes it’s nice to catch a monster and plan your dinner around it. Here are a few places in Colorado where you can keep your catch.
The Crawford Reservoir is located at Crawford State Park off of Highway 92 south of Hotchkiss. These waters are known to have great crappie and perch, as well as an abundance of catfish, largemouth bass, and northern pike. When fishing the Crawford Reservoir, you are able to keep as many norther pike and yellow perch as you would like. With crappies you are limited to 20, catfish is limited to 10, and bass is limited to 1 and it must be at least 18 inches long.
About an hour west of Steamboat Springs is the Elkhead Reservoir, which is home to both warm and cold water fish including smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and northern pike. At Elkhead, the crappie fish limit is 10 and the largemouth bass limit is 2 with a minimum length of 15 inches. When it comes to smallmouth bass and northern pike in the reservoir, you can catch and keep as many as you would like.
Harvey Gap Reservoir
The reservoir at Harvey Gap State Park is just west of Glenwood Springs north of I-70. A plethora of catfish, northern pike, large and smallmouth bass, crappie, muskie, perch, and rainbow trout live in these waters, making for a great fishing spot with a wide range of catches. Ice fishing also has a big draw at Harvey Gap Reservoir, just be sure to check with park officials about ice conditions. If you happen to catch some pike or smallmouth bass, you can keep as many as you would like. The minimum size for keeping largemouth bass is 15″ and the possession for the catfish is 2. Side note: they have reintroduced tiger muskie to the lake and they look very similar to northern pike, so it’s advised to know the difference between the two before casting your line. Tiger muskies have a minimum size of 36″ and a bag limit of 1.
Ridgway Reservoir sits just about 15 miles from the lovely mountain town of Ouray, Colorado, and offers some great outdoor activities including fishing. Ridgway has been known for its rainbow trout and the kokanee. If you were to snag a kokanee, it is only permitted from September 1st to December 31st every year. When it comes to keeps when fishing these waters, you can keep as many smallmouth bass as you can catch!
There are a handful of places in Colorado that allow fishermen to keep their catch. Now that you know, enjoy your delicious fish dinner! If you’re wanting to try your hand at fly fishing this year, book with Fly Fishing Colorado! Our guided trips on the Upper C will teach you the ropes of fly fishing and get you catching those monsters in no time.
*Featured image courtesy of Colorado Parks and Wildlife.