Colorado rivers offer some of the best fly fishing in the United States. The best way to prepare for a proper excursion is cover all ground on how to respect the environment as you enjoy your day on the water. There are a few basic protocols that the Colorado Parks and Wildlife government branch requires all prospective and current fisherman to follow.
1. Acquire a Fishing License
The first step involves getting a fishing license. While this may sound intimidating, it is actually a very easy and inexpensive process. A single-day adult license is only $9.00 and a youth license is free of charge. A full year license is $26.00 for Colorado residents or $56.00 for anyone outside of the state of Colorado. This license is required even for guided trips through outfitters such as Fly Fishing Colorado and for many stretches of river if you’re heading out for a solo fishing day.
2. Know the Catch and Release System
The catch and release protocol is required for all of Fly Fishing Colorado commercial trips. Fly fishermen who go on their own trips can sometimes keep the fish they catch depending on the type of fish and the area they are fishing. Smaller fish generally cannot be kept because they are intended to grow and breed in order to sustain the environment. The main issue nowadays with catch and release are everyone wants to get that Instagram-able picture with their catch. The longer the fish is out of the water, the more difficult it is on their health. Be mindful of the wildlife instead of spending too much time getting that trophy shot and respect the fish and their home.
3. Pack It In, Pack It Out
This means that everything you bring with you for your fishing trip you leave with. Whether you’re just spending the afternoon on the river or a few nights camping, don’t leave a trace of your time there behind. By doing this we preserve the environment and protect local wildlife.
4. Protect Yourself from the Colorado Elements
One thing you cannot forget on your adventure is sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, and a sunhat. The Colorado sun is very strong due to the elevation and the reflection of the water will intensify it further. Also be sure to throw a rain jacket in your pack as afternoon showers in Colorado’s summers are no joke. Waders and wading boots will keep you comfortable while you stand in the water for prolonged periods of time. Insect repellent is generally a good idea as many times mosquitos and other bugs breed in the shallow sections of the river. These are what draw many of the prime fish because that is a large part of their diet, so be prepared to stand in their area for potential of the biggest catch of the day.
Enjoy your experience on the water and if you want a relaxing float along the Colorado River, call Fly Fishing Colorado. We’ll help keep you on your toes with all the great fishing protocol and even provide all the gear you need!