Colorado state wildlife areas

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A sign for one of the state wildlife areas. Pueblo Reservoir State Wildlife Area sign.JPG
A sign for one of the state wildlife areas.

The Colorado state wildlife areas are managed for hunting, fishing, observation, management, and preservation of wildlife. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife division of the U.S. State of Colorado manages more than 300 state wildlife areas with a total area of more than 860 square miles (2,230 km2) in the state. [1]


Fishing or hunting license required for entry

Beginning July 1, 2020, anyone entering a Colorado state wildlife area is required to carry a valid fishing or hunting license. The cheapest license is a fishing license, which costs $38 in 2020. The fine for entering a state wildlife area without a valid license is $139.50. This new rule was instituted by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission to deal with a budget shortfall. [2]

State wildlife areas

Please see Colorado State Wildlife Areas for a current list of the state wildlife areas in Colorado.

See also

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Gunnison River

The Gunnison River is located in western Colorado and it is one of the largest tributaries of the Colorado river. The 180 mile long river flows east to west and has a drainage area of 7,923 square miles according to the USGS. The drainage basin of the Gunnison River collects water from different habitats, such as forests and alpine meadows, located the along Continental Divide. As the river flows westward it carves through the San Juan Mountains. The Gunnison River flows into the Colorado River at Grand Junction. In addition, the Gunnison River Basin is popular for recreational activities such as fishing, rafting, boating, camping, hiking, and rock climbing.

Folsom Lake State Recreation Area

The Folsom Lake State Recreation Area surrounds Folsom Lake in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and is managed by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. It is located near the city of Folsom, California, about 25 miles (40 km) east of Sacramento.

Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge

The Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States system of national wildlife refuges. It is located in Alfalfa County in northern Oklahoma, north of Jet, along Great Salt Plains Lake, which is formed by a dam on the Salt Fork of the Arkansas River.

Lake Oroville

Lake Oroville is a reservoir formed by the Oroville Dam impounding the Feather River, located in Butte County, northern California. The lake is situated 5 miles (8.0 km) northeast of the city of Oroville, within the Lake Oroville State Recreation Area, in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Known as the second-largest reservoir in California, Lake Oroville is treated as a keystone facility within the California State Water Project by storing water, providing flood control, recreation, freshwater releases assist in controlling the salinity intrusion Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and protecting fish and wildlife.

Lewis and Clark Lake

Lewis and Clark Lake is a 31,400 acre (130 km²) reservoir located on the border of the U.S. states of Nebraska and South Dakota on the Missouri River. The lake is approximately 25 miles (40 km) in length with over 90 miles (140 km) of shoreline and a maximum water depth of 45 feet (14 m). The lake is impounded by Gavins Point Dam and is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District.

Crooked River (Oregon)

The Crooked River is a tributary, 125 miles (201 km) long, of the Deschutes River in the U.S. state of Oregon. The river begins at the confluence of the South Fork Crooked River and Beaver Creek. Of the two tributaries, the South Fork Crooked River is the larger and is sometimes considered part of the Crooked River proper. A variant name of the South Fork Crooked River is simply "Crooked River". The Deschutes River flows north into the Columbia River.

Lost Creek Lake

Lost Creek Lake is a reservoir located on the Rogue River in Jackson County, Oregon, United States. The lake is impounded by William L. Jess Dam which was constructed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1977 for flood control and fisheries enhancement. The lake and dam were the first completed elements of the multi-purpose Rogue River Basin Project, consisting of Lost Creek Lake, Applegate Lake and the Elk Creek project. The lake is located approximately 27 miles (43 km) northeast of Medford.

The Central Utah Project is a US federal water project that was authorized for construction under the Colorado River Storage Project Act of April 11, 1956, as a participating project. In general, the Central Utah Project develops a portion of Utah's share of the yield of the Colorado River, as set out in the Colorado River Compact of 1922.

Senecaville Lake

Senecaville Lake is a reservoir in Guernsey and Noble Counties, Ohio. It is located approximately 13 miles (21 km) southeast of Cambridge near the village of Senecaville, Ohio. The lake is popular among recreation and fishing enthusiasts. It is often referred to locally as Seneca Lake.

Laguna Niguel Lake

Laguna Niguel Lake, formerly known as Sulphur Creek Reservoir, is an artificial 44-acre (180,000 m2) fishing and recreational lake in Laguna Niguel, California. It is created by the Sulphur Creek Dam, which was completed in 1966. It is located at 33°32′59″N117°42′22″W and is 190 feet (58 m) above sea level. It is fed from two sources, one of which is Sulphur Creek itself and the other, a storm drain. It is accessed from La Paz Road, which runs along its east shore. Surrounding the reservoir is the Laguna Niguel Regional Park. In addition, within the lake on the large island is a protected bird sanctuary.

Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery

The Mount Whitney Fish Hatchery, located in Independence, California, in the United States, is an historic fish hatchery that has played an important role in the preservation of the golden trout, California's state fish.

Summer Lake Wildlife Area Wildlife refuge in Oregon

The Summer Lake Wildlife Area is a 29.6-square-mile (77 km2) wildlife refuge located on the northwestern edge of the Great Basin drainage in south-central Oregon. It is administered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The refuge is an important stop for waterfowl traveling along the Pacific Flyway during their spring and fall migrations. The Summer Lake Wildlife Area also provides habitat for shorebirds and other bird species as well as wide variety of mammals and several fish species. The Ana River supplies the water for the refuge wetlands.

Tomichi Creek

Tomichi Creek is a 71.8-mile-long (115.6 km) tributary of the Gunnison River in Gunnison County, Colorado. Tomichi Creek originates north and west of Monarch Pass and flows to the southwest along the base of Monarch Mountain. Congress Creek drains into Tomichi west of Old Monarch Pass where it flows south toward Sargents. Agate Creek flows into Tomichi just north of Sargents where Marshall Creek flows from Marshall Pass. Just below Sargents, Long Branch Creek, flowing out of Baldy Lake from the south, enters Tomichi Creek which takes a westward course where Needle Creek Reservoir drains into Tomichi east of Doyleville. Hot Springs Reservoir drains down Wanita Canyon flowing into Tomichi Creek just west of Doyleville. The Tomichi Valley is a semi-wide valley allowing Tomichi Creek to meander and split into several waterways creating an excellent livestock range and being largely private ranch lands. At Parlin, Quartz Creek flows from Pitkin and Ohio into Tomichi Creek. Tomichi continues its westward journey, slightly northwest, where the Cochetopa Creek drains into Tomichi at State Highway 114 from the south at the intersection of U.S. Highway 50 and continues west to Gunnison where it enters the Gunnison River. A map can be viewed at the BLM Colorado website here.

Roaring River (Crabtree Creek tributary)

Roaring River is a tributary of Crabtree Creek in Linn County in the U.S. state of Oregon. It begins in the western foothills of the Cascade Range near Snow Peak. From there it flows generally west to meet Crabtree Creek at Larwood Wayside Park, north of Lacomb, about 16 miles (26 km) upstream of where the creek meets the South Santiam River east of Albany. The only named tributary of Roaring River is Milky Fork, which enters from the left near Roaring River Park.

Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery

The Bellvue-Watson Fish Hatchery is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife cold water fish production facility located near Cache la Poudre River and Watson Lake State Wildlife Area in Larimer County, Colorado. Hatchery staff works to support the raising of approximately 1.5 million sub-catchable trout annually. The Watson Lake Rearing Unit, a division within the hatchery, is responsible for rearing approximately 300,000 catchable trout each year. The hatchery stocks fishing sports in Wellington, Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont and Jumbo Reservoir near Julesburg and Hale ponds.

Finger Rock Rearing Unit

The Finger Rock Rearing Unit is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife cold water fish production facility located near Bear River in Routt County at the base of Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery

The Rifle Falls Fish Hatchery is a Colorado Parks and Wildlife cold water fish production facility located off East Rifle Creek near Rifle Falls State Park in Garfield County.


  1. "State Wildlife Areas (SWA)". Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Parks and Wildlife. September 24, 2012. Archived from the original on October 14, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  2. Romeo, Jonathan (2020-06-05). "Entering a state wildlife area? You'll need a hunting or fishing license". The Journal. Cortez, Colorado. Retrieved 2020-06-10.