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Matt Snider
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Coronavirus-Related Fishing Updates for Colorado Anglers

Blog by: Matt Snider 4/23/2020
I wanted to compile a page of information on COVID-19 related closures that might affect your fishing, and statements from various jurisdictions about fishing and/or outdoor recreation.

Consider this a living document – ready for changing as needed. There is so much going on, so much changing daily, it’s hard to keep track of.  Help me keep this updated.  Send me any information you have on closures or openings in your neck of the woods.  Please include links for reference.

Below is a list of current items I know of, little blurbs for each, and a link for more info.  I will update this as I get new information.

These are in no particular order.

CPW use this link to find the latest info:
Here are a few things CPW is saying… (May 20)

Many Colorado State Park and SWA campgrounds began opening at Colorado's state parks on Tuesday, May 12.  Some with tentative openings and some were yet to be determined. See list here:

For SWA campgrounds, the following remained closed:
CPW says: Other SWAs are opening in conjunction with state parks in the area or with the lifting of county restrictions.

Watercraft Inspection and Decontamination Stations in State Parks are open and staffed during the Safer at Home order. Boating is allowed in State Parks during the Safer at Home order.

CPW visitor centers, service centers and all CPW offices are continuing to restrict access to the public.

CPW license vendor was experiencing significant delays in the fulfillment of CPW products …  CPW is allowing customers to use a TAN (Temporary Authorization Number) for proof of privilege for most of our products at this time. This includes small game, combination small game and fishing, waterfowl stamps, fishing, habitat stamps, annual passes and OHV permits. CPW has also temporarily extended the timeframe for which a TAN is valid from 14 days to 45 days.

(May 17) Looks to still be restricting camping at 4 reservoirs: Smith Reservoir, Mountain Home Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, and Stabilization Reservoir. See

Earlier: County Commissioner Lawrence Pacheco has observed a large number of sports fishermen congregating at public reservoirs within the county in a manner which violates the “stay-at-home” orders… Declared temporary closure on county roads and/or public roads to said reservoirs.  Access to the following bodies of water is prohibited: Mountain Home Reservoir, Smith Reservoir, Sanchez Reservoir, and Stabilization Reservoir.

All lodging including hotels, motels, short-term rentals, such as VRBO’s, Airbnb’s, and campgrounds may not accept any new reservations or visitors with limited exceptions. There shall be no new bookings or reservations for the time period in which this Order is in effect. Updated to extend now to May 31.

Residents of Park County are strongly encouraged to use recreation lands in a manner that does not expose them to the risk of requiring assistance from public safety personnel, who may not respond to calls for assistance at all or in a timely fashion.

Gilpin County 
County Roads will have restricted access… Nonresident Use of Roads for Certain Necessary Travel Allowed... Necessary Travel DOES NOT include travel for recreation purposes including without limitation accessing private lands, USFS lands, or other public lands

Per CBS: "commissioners have decided to close all county roads to visitors"

Blue Mesa Reservoir (5-15-20)
Campgrounds and Visitor Center closed. Gunnison County is closed to non-essential travel until May 27. Blue Mesa Reservoir is open. Morrow Point & Crystal Reservoirs closed to all motorized and non-motorized boating.
Beginning May 15, Curecanti National Recreation Area will reopen access to:
  • Blue Mesa Reservoir for boating and on-shore recreation
  • Elk Creek Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 5:30 am to 9 pm daily
  • Lake Fork Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 5:30 am to 9 pm daily
  • Iola Boat Ramp and Inspection Station 6 am to 4 pm daily
  • Boat-In dispersed camping at least 1/2 mile from developed areas and paved roads
  • Gunnison River from Riverway to Blue Mesa Reservoir with extreme caution advised for changing water conditions, strainers, and other hazards.
Due to an anticipated high number of vessel decontaminations, please be prepared to use any of the three open ramps/inspection stations to avoid crowding and delays in getting on the water. Decontaminations will be done 8 am to 4 pm daily.

Soda Lake (updated 5-7-20)
In Bear Creek Lake Park.  Beginning Saturday (May 9), parking lots and trail access to the lake will be barricaded and signs added that say there is zero entry to these facilities. This is "in response to overcrowding" and "until further notice".

Town officials in Georgetown have closed Georgetown Lake to all activities except walking and hiking due to the coronavirus outbreak. Parking areas around the lake are also closed. 

Horsetooth Res & Carter Res (updated 4/22 22:20)
Opening for camping starting Friday 4-24, only for select campgrounds, only for “hard-side” units (not tents) and only for Larimer County residents, plus more restrictions...

Boulder Reservoir
(May 9) Boating is being allowed to resume ... which began on May 9

Union Reservoir
Union Reservoir currently remains open to the public during the State of Colorado's Stay at Home Order.
Fishing, boating, dog beach and paddle boarding are open.
Playground and shelter are closed.
Social distancing requirements and maximum group size rules in effect.
Boat inspections are available between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Please remain in your vehicle while your boat is being inspected.

Bear Creek Lake
Boat ramps are closed to any boat requiring an ANS inspection. The campground is closed until further notice and reservations will be refunded.Big Soda Lake, the swim beach and marina is closed and will be reassessed after Memorial Day.  
(May 15) On June 1, camping will be allowed at Bear Creek Lake Park. 

Rocky Mountain Arsenal
The 2020 fishing season opened on Saturday, May 2 and closes November 30, 2020. Please be sure to practice social distancing and follow CDC Guidelines while fishing.

Waterton Canyon, South Platte River 
Access to Waterton Canyonwill be closed to the public starting March 18, 2020. There is no current timeline on when Waterton Canyon will reopen to the public. 

Sloan Lake Denver
In alignment with CDC guidelines to slow the spread of COVID-19, Denver is prohibiting all gatherings and closing park amenities conducive to public gathering. Therefore, boating permits will not be issued until further notice. 

Arvada Reservoir
The Reservoir will be open May 4 through October 31 - 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Reservoir fees and charges have been suspended for the season.​ Boat Inspections: New standards for boat inspections and physical distancing will require the reservoir patron to stay in their vehicle while one of our reservoir rangers conducts the inspection.

Dowdy and West Lakes in Red Feather (updated 4/23 14:00)
Per Kev-o, both lakes are closed with signs on gates at each.  USFS website says campgrounds are closed. Original order here prohibits "Entering or using a Developed Recreation Site or portion thereof, including developed trailhead facilities. "... "Developed Recreation Site means an area which has been improved or developed for recreation" and "Developed trailhead facilities means amenities OTHER THAN PARKING FACILITIES, including but not limited to restrooms, day use areas, and picnic tables, BUT NOT TRAILS OR TRAILHEADS."

(May 1) Antero Reservoir opens for boating Friday, May 1, and recreation managers are asking boaters to show patience and practice social distancing, especially when participating in boat inspections conducted by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials.

Clear Creek in Golden
Pursuant to C.R.S. § 33-13-111 and 2 CCR 405-2 #217, the Sheriff of Jefferson County and Golden Police Chief are prohibiting ALL USES in Clear Creek, including all single-chambered air inflated devices, such as belly boats, inner tubes, and single chambered rafts, “body surfers,” and swimming, as well as all vessels, kayaks, whitewater canoes, and multi-chambered river boards.

Gross Reservoir
Opens for boating Friday, May 22

(May 21) Pearl Lake is closed to trailered and motorized boats as well as sailboats until further notice. (The boat ramp is currently closed for repairs. If you don't need to use the boat ramp, you may walk your boat to the lake.) Once boating opens, boats needing inspection will need to go to the Dutch Hill entrance inspection booth at Steamboat Lake State Park for an inspection prior to launch. Steamboat Lake Boat Inspection Hours: 8am-6pm Monday-Thursday; 6am-9pm friday, Saturday, Sunday.  Campgrounds will open May 22, 2020 but the yurts will remain closed. Water will not be on for the Memorial Day weekend. Please bring your own water or fill up at Steamboat Lake's Dump/Fill Station. Colorado State Park playgrounds, cabins, and yurts are closed effective March 26, 2020 until further notice. 

(May 9) Game and Fish resinstates nonresident daily and 5-day fishing license sales.
Blog content © Matt Snider
Blog Comments
Anteroman, 4/22/2020 5:55:21 PM
Matt, Per our conversation, Antero Reservoir and 11Mile reservoir are currently open for bank fishing and tubes and toons w/o motors. As NO ANS inspectors are at these lakes NO MOTORIZED BOATING IS ALLOWED. The same will hold true for Spinney Mtn if and when it opens. No motorized vessels w/o ANS inspections. Bill
TeamMJM, 4/23/2020 3:05:19 PM
This is great! Thank you for the updates!
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