As of January 2020, Colorado Parks and Wildlife has a new State Records by Length program. The new program recognizes the longest fish of a particular species that is caught and released by an angler, anywhere throughout Colorado. In this program, records are by length (inches), as opposed to our other program, the records by weight, which does not allow for catch-and-release entries. Unlike the Records by Weight program, these fish MUST BE RELEASED in order to qualify. The new stand-alone program requires anglers to follow specific steps for record submission and acceptance.
Old Length Records
Prior to January 2020, the fish that were considered for the Records by Length program came through our Master Angler program. The Master Angler program had minimal length verification requirements to verify the size of the fish before it was released. Because of this, the validity of some catches was brought into question.
To view state records that existed before January 2020, please see the Heritage Master Angler Length Awards. The Heritage Master Angler Length Awards are a culmination of the largest fish of each species that was submitted through our Master Angler program since its inception through 2019.
Apply for a Length Record
The angler will fill out and return the application form (PDF), provide a picture of the fish on a measuring device and a witness signature on the application. This will be mailed to the Assistant Chief of Hatcheries in Denver.
NOTE: Northern pike and smallmouth bass caught in waters west of the Continental Divide will only be recognized for the State Record by Weight category. As a partner in the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program and San Juan River Basin Recovery Implementation Program, CPW encourages anglers to catch and keep northern pike and smallmouth bass in most waters on the Western Slope of Colorado.
Applications can be sent to:
Record Fish Program
Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Attention: Assistant Chief of Hatcheries
6060 Broadway, Denver CO 80216
Measuring Fish for Record Application
To accurately measure a fish for a length record:
- You MUST place the fish directly on the measuring device (ruler, tape measure, etc.). As pictured above, the measuring device shall be behind or under the fish and not following the curvature of the fish.
- You MUST align the fish at a clearly marked area of the measuring device. In the image above, the 1-inch mark is used to clearly and accurately indicate the starting point for measurement.
- You MUST place fish on its side with the jaw closed.
- You MUST squeeze the tail fin together to obtain the maximum overall length.
- You MUST measure a straight line from the tip of the snout to the extreme tip of the tail fin.