Colorado Parks and Wildlife has awarded $650,000 to eight Fishing is Fun (FIF) projects, all geared to improve angling opportunities in the state of Colorado. The approved projects include improved angling access, habitat improvement, and trail and boat access. Funding recipients include projects in the San Luis Valley, on the Yampa and Crystal rivers, and in the northern Front Range in Denver and Mead.
“The angling opportunities that Colorado waters provide are part of what makes this state so special,” said Dan Prenzlow, Director of Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Not only does the Fishing is Fun program help revitalize aquatic ecosystems across the state, it also ensures that residents and visitors will continue to have improved angling access for years to come.”
2020 Fishing Is Fun Grants
Wolf Lake in El Paso County
Angling access will be significantly improved with the construction of two fishing piers on a newly constructed reservoir in a rapidly growing area on the northeastern side of Colorado Springs. The project will increase angling access on a 12-acre reservoir in a part of El Paso County that currently has limited angling options. “It is great to have a project like this that local kids can use to get introduced to the sport and that experienced anglers can use to stay engaged,” said Jim Guthrie, CPW’s Fishing Is Fun Program Coordinator.
Conejos Meadows in the San Luis Valley
In-stream habitat improvements will occur on 1.75 miles of the Conejos River downstream from Platoro Reservoir in the San Luis Valley. The project will address low-flow conditions during droughts and winter reservoir operations and will protect conditions for the existing self-sustaining brown trout population.
“The Conejos Meadows Resilient Habitat project is a model for projects that benefit fish habitat and wild self-maintaining trout populations, while also providing benefits to irrigation water users below a working reservoir,” said Kevin Terry, Rio Grande Basin Project Manager for Trout Unlimited. “Partnerships on the Conejos River between Trout Unlimited, CPW, and the Conejos Water Conservancy District ensure that each project identifies and maximizes benefits for the entire water community and the environment at the same time.”
Uncompaghre River in Montrose
This grant will restore quality angling conditions along a 0.65-mile section of the Uncompaghre River in the heart of Montrose. The multi-year project will cover 1.6 miles of river and develop in-channel habitat, stabilize river banks and connect to a major new GOCO-funded trail system.
“This project delivers on the Montrose community’s desire to see stewardship of the city’s natural resources, which was identified as a top priority during the city’s comprehensive planning process,” said City of Montrose Grant Coordinator Kendall Cramer. “The restoration of our river enhances aquatic and wildlife habitat, provides new opportunities for anglers and other recreationists, and will serve as a catalyst for economic growth, particularly in the outdoor industry sector in Montrose.”
Fishing alone contributes $2.4 billion dollars in economic output per year, supporting over 17,000 jobs in Colorado according to CPW’s 2017 economic study.
For over 30 years, FIF has supported more than 375 projects in nearly every county in the state, improving stream and river habitats, easing public access to angling waters, developing new angling opportunities for youth and seniors and more.
The program typically provides up to $400,000 annually from the Federal Sport Fish Restoration Program (SFR). This year the program awarded an additional $250,000 from revenue generated through the wildlife sporting license plate. “Sportsmen and women who have signed up for the license plate have helped make more projects possible. That is a big boost to making angling accessible to many more people,” said Guthrie. The $650,000 total was met with more than $2 million in local support for the eight projects approved in 2020 (matching funds are required for the program).
Denver Parks and Recreation
Lily Pond bank stabilization and habitat improvement
Yampa Valley Stream Improvement Charitable Trust
Planning for 0.8 mile of in-stream habitat improvement at Pleasant Valley
San Luis Valley Trout Unlimited
1.75 miles of in-stream habitat and low-flow improvement at Conejos Meadows
City of Montrose
In-channel habitat improvement and realignment on Uncompaghre River
Nor’wood Development Group, El Paso County
Fishing piers and angler platform at Wolf Lake
Town of Mead
Fishing pier and boat ramp at Highland Lake
Town of Carbondale
In-stream habitat and angler access at Crystal River Riverfront Park
Town of Parachute
2 vault toilets near boat ramps on Colorado River
Travis Duncan is a public information officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Denver. Travis has lived in Colorado nearly 20 years and loves the outdoors. If you have a question, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org