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2017 Free Fishing Tournaments at Elkhead Reservoir State Park and Ridgway State Park
2017 Free Fishing Tournaments at Elkhead Reservoir State Park and Ridgway State Park
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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Win fishing gear​​ and/or big dollars​!! NO entry fees for either tournament!

Anglers, test your skills. How many smallmouth bass and northern pike can you catch?


Angler with northern pike
The Elkhead ​Reservoir (Moffat and Routt counties) Fishing Classic tournament will take place June 24th through July 2nd. This tournament will target smallmouth bass and northern pike. One northern pike and one smallmouth bass will be tagged and released immediately prior to the tournament with individually numbered 2017 passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags. Fish will be checked for tags at the CPW fish scanning station. If a 2017 tagged smallmouth bass and/or northern pike are/is caught during the tournament, the respective angler(s) will receive a cash award (check) of $1,500 per fish on the day the fish is caught. If only one or neither of the 2017 PIT tagged fish are caught during the tournament dates, the remaining cash awards (checks) for this category (either one or both awards) will be drawn for and presented by CPW during the angler ticket drawing at the conclusion of the tournament (approximately 3:30pm) on Sunday, July 2nd.

At the conclusion of the tournament, ​two $750 checks will be awarded to the angler(s) who has/have caught and turned in the most northern pike and/or the most smallmouth bass across the nine day tournament.

Additional prizes totaling $4,500 will be also be awarded daily between 5:00pm and 5:30pm in the following categories:

  • Northern Pike:  smallest per day, largest per day, most caught per day
  • Smallmouth Bass:  smallest per day, largest per day, most caught per day

There is no bag or possession limit for northern pike or smallmouth bass at Elkhead Reservoir.

Participants must check in at the registration area when they arrive at Elkhead Reservoir.​ Youth under 16 can fish without a license. For those over 64, licenses are $1. Anglers ages 16-63 must possess a valid Colorado fishing license. All Colorado Fishing Regulations​ and Boating Regulations​ apply. It is recommended that anglers purchase their 2017 fishing license in advance of the tourname​nt as licenses are not typically available at the reservoir.

There are 16 campsites available at Elkhead Reservoir State Park​ for $18.00/night. Reservations are encouraged. The daily entry fee into the park is $7.00.​

For more information regarding the Elkhead Reservoir Fishing Classic, please see the Tournament Rules and Tournament Flyer​, read the news release​ or call the Yampa River State Park​ at 970-276-2061.​


Ridgway Prize; Creek pontoon boatFor the Third Annual Tournament at Ridgway, the more fish anglers catch the better their chances of winning prizes. Participants will receive a raffle ticket for every smallmouth bass they check in. Six tickets will be drawn for prizes at the end of the tournament on July 30.

Prizes are valued at more than $8,000. The top prize is a 14-foot Tracker fishing boat, complete with trailer, a 20HP engine, life jackets and a Humminbird sonar/GPS unit. 

Anglers with lined up bassIn addition, five Creek Company Clark Fork single-person pontoon boats will be awarded. All anglers 12 and under who check-in a smallmouth bass will receive a package of fishing lures.

See the Tournament Rules for Ridgway​.  

Anglers can fish as many times as they want during the 24-day tournament. To learn the best ways to catch smallmouth bass and more about issues with non-native fish species, see the Smallmouth Bass at Ridgway Reservoir page. 

Boys with bass caught
Camping facilities are available at Ridgway State Park, including 283 sites―many with full electric hook-ups―and three yurts. Daily entry to the park is $7, campsites range in price from $20 to $30 per night. 

​Those who plan to fish from boats must make sure their boats are cleaned, drained and dried before getting to Ridgway – or any other reservoir in Colorado.

For more information, call the park at 970-626-5822.

Be a partner with Colorado Parks and Wildlife 

Participating in these fishing tournaments will help assure a variety of game-fish opportunities in Elkhead and Ridgway reservoirs. Smallmouth bass and northern pike are not compatible with endangered fish recovery in waters downstream of both reservoirs. Smallmouth bass and northern pike can escape from reservoirs and/or be moved illegally to waters where these species can predate upon native fishes and compete with natives for food and habitat. We​ are asking anglers to catch and keep all smallmouth bass and northern pike that they catch from these reservoirs. Anglers are reminded that is illegal to move live fish from one water to another in western Colorado.

If the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program​​ fails to make sufficient progress at recovering the four endangered fish species (Colorado pikeminnow, bonytail, razorback sucker, and humpback chub), all water users on the West Slope will likely be required to consult with the federal government if they need to use water for irrigation, to fill a pond, or to supply drinking water.

CPW strives to provide the best fishing opportunities that are appropriate for each body of water in the state. Biologists must carefully consider a variety of factors when managing fisheries, including:  impacts to native fishes, water quality, habitat availability, size of water to be stocked, how water will be used, forage fish availability, federal and state laws, etc. Please help CPW manage YOUR fisheries by working with our biologists and not against them by illegally stocking fish!​

Illegal stocking hurts Colorado's anglers

Illegal stocking of fish is a significant issue that affects all Colorado anglers. In western Colorado, not every body of water or waterway is suitable for every species of fish. CPW must remedy fisheries where illegal stocking has taken place. This means the agency must expend significant resources that otherwise could be used to improve angling opportunities elsewhere. For example, in the fall of 2013, CPW spent more than $100,000 to eliminate smallmouth bass and restore the renowned trout fishery at Miramonte Reservoir in San Miguel County.

​Help prevent illegal stocking

If you have information about illegal stocking of fish, please contact a CPW office immediately, or call Operation Game Thief​ at 1-877-265-6648. Tips can be given anonymously and rewards are possible.