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Fish & Aquatics
Fish & Aquatics
Brown trout underwater by Wayne Lewis
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Featured Projects​​​​

Big Brown Trout in Colorado

Every year, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) fishery biologists set up a spawn-take operation for brown trout at North Delaney Butte Lake near Walden, CO. Biologists capture brown trout and collect more than a million eggs, which are shipped to CPW hatcheries. Once hatched and raised, the brown trout are restocked in waters throughout the state. North Delaney is the primary source of brown trout eggs in Colorado. Although they are non-native, brown trout are some of the most popular fish among anglers.

Learn more about CPW's fish hatcheries.

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Conservation. Preservation. Recreation.​

Fisheries management predates all other wildlife management activities in Colorado. The first Colorado wildlife law passed in 1861, and it addressed overfishing: “It is unlawful to take trout by seine, net, basket or trap.” The first wildlife official in Colorado was Colonel Wilson E. Sisty, who became the State Fish Commissioner in 1877.

Today, Fish Hatchery Technicians are responsible for the aquaculture of 56 separate strains of fish, and raise and stock over 90 million fish every year. Hatchery employees contribute to the preservation of threatened and endangered species such as boreal toads and pike ​​​​minnows. 

​​​​​Colorado Parks and Wildlife also has an Aquatic Research Section that conducts scientific investigations to develop the necessary knowledge, techniques, and procedures to effectively manage Colorado's aquatic wildlife.


 Species Profiles

Mountain Whitefish swimming underwater

Colorado has over 40 species of aquatic mollusks, ranging in size from less than a quarter of an inch (2-3 mm) up to nearly 8 inches (190 mm). These include representatives of 8 gastropod families (snails and limpets with one shell) and 3 bivalve families (clams and mussels with two shells). Visit the Species Profiles page to learn about mollusks, fish and much more!

>> Read More

Anita Martinez, aquatic biologist (now retired) holds up bass


The Aquatic Research Section provides a combination of field and laboratory experimentation to answer statewide fisheries management questions, improve efficiency in production and management of aquatic species, and provide centralized fisheries management functions related to data management, stream habitat,  and brood stock development.​

 Greenback Cutthroats Returned to Ancestral Waters

Once believed to be extinct the greenback cutthroat trout are making a comeback, thanks to CPW staff, volunteers and partner organizations. Learn more about the recovery efforts going into our state fish.

For more information about this project, read the "Small Army..." news release.

 Annual Trip up Bear Creek to Conserve Rare Trout

As part of an annual spawning effort, aquatic biologists collected eggs and milt from rare greenback cutthroat trout. The operation helps conserve and recover the species throughout its native range. It is a continuation of extensive work by CPW, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Trout Unlimited, Great Outdoors Colorado, El Paso County, the city of Colorado Springs and other local government agencies.

Read the full "CPW Biologists..." news release. Find out information on Greenback Cutthroat Trout and CPW’s aquatic research projects.

Video courtesy of Denver Post.