Information. There is a lot of it going around. Coming in many forms and all degrees of relevance, sometimes the information we get is critical, sometimes it is interesting but unimportant, or it may simply be not needed, even not welcome. But then there is the intentional, you go-find-it information that is for fun.
In the just for fun category is anything to do with recreational fishing. In the great perspective of life, commercial fishing aside, recreational fishing should be no more serious than just a fun thing to do. Oh, we get philosophical, dwelling on such ideas as stress management and theorizing about something that really accomplishes nothing, but sometimes we forget we do it just because it’s fun.
So information about fishing can be almost as fun as actually fishing. Such is the case with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s web page. I’ve followed this page now for a few years. Skinny at first, it has really become a great source of information for the sportsman. I say sportsman instead of fisherman because, even though the subject of this column is fishing, most fishermen also have other outdoor interests.
The CPW page includes not only includes the expected and primary hunting and fishing subjects such as season and license information, but also other wildlife interest items such as wetlands information, wildlife ranching, volunteer activities and organizations, endangered species, state laws and regulations regarding wildlife, and duck stamps to name only a few.
Within those links to sub-pages, you will find such things as wildlife news reports, education programs, phone numbers and addresses of CPW offices, hunting season dates, hunting statistics, wildlife watching opportunities, and River Watch which is a youth education program dealing with water quality. A great variety of information — just fun information.
Click on the Things To Do tab, then Fishing and you will find stories and more links to aquatic research, law enforcement, youth fishing, aquatic management, regulations, and streamflows. Of course, the really good stuff is the pages on fishing conditions and hot spots.
The fishing conditions report lists waters by regions within the state, meaning the four quadrants of the map plus the Denver metro area. Here you can find a listing of the more popular lakes and rivers in each region and what is going on currently, telling of such things as water levels, water clarity, what bait or lure or fly is working, and if the fishing is good or not.
One link I like to view in the summer season, when fishing is truly “hot,” is a more detailed description of featured water, called the “Hot Spot.” Being winter now, the current listing is minimal, but come summer this is updated with current information by region that can direct you to where the bite has been good lately. Stocking reports are included, so come summer if you want a high-percentage chance at entertaining the kids, head to a recently stocked lake.
If you can’t locate your paper copy of the annual fishing brochure, you can download a full copy of it from the web page. The 2019 brochure was just released. An important section upfront is called “What’s New,” highlighting changes in regulations, both in general and for specific waters that may be on your list of favorites.
Curious what the state record is for your favorite gamefish? Then go to the state records section and see both warm water and cold water records. The state record for a rainbow trout weighed 19.9 pounds, caught from Morrow Point Reservoir in 2003. The record brown trout was caught in the Roaring Judy Hatchery Pond in 1988 and weighed 30.8 pounds. The heaviest fish on the list is not a lake trout, but a grass carp at 57 pounds.
Times they are changing. There is now an app for your electronic device, phone or tablet. Now you can get all the latest info anywhere. Anywhere in Colorado that you can get cell service that is.
So no matter what your outdoor interest is regarding wildlife, then you will find some information here to help you in a day of fun outdoors. The web page is www.cpw.state.co.us. Cruising through the web pages and new brochure was almost as fun as actually getting outdoors. I said almost.
Joel L. Evans is an avid fisherman, outdoor writer and photographer, who has explored Western Colorado for decades.