The Fishing Is Fun program provides up to $900,000 in matching grants annually to local and county governments, park and recreation departments, water districts, angling organizations and others for projects to improve angling opportunities in Colorado.
Among the types of projects supported through Fishing Is Fun are stream and river habitat improvements, access improvements, perpetual easements for public access, pond and lake habitat improvements, fish retention structures, development of new fishing ponds, and amenity improvements such as shade shelters, benches and restrooms.
Over nearly 25 years, the Fishing Is Fun program has supported more than 270 angling improvement projects across the state, from the smallest towns on the Eastern Plains and the West Slope to the major metropolitan areas along the Front Range. In just the last few years, grants have been awarded for projects in Sterling, Durango, Eads, Craig, Idaho Springs, Olathe, Florence, Thornton and nearly two dozen other locations. Project sponsors have included open-space programs, water trusts, angling organizations, local and county governments and park and recreation departments.
Project sponsors must provide nonfederal matching funds or in-kind contributions equal to at least 25 percent of the total project cost. Match in excess of the 25 percent minimum is encouraged and will help make a project more competitive in the review and ranking process; historically, project partners have provided roughly 40 percent of project costs. Project grants have ranged from $2,500 to $400,000, with an average of $85,000.
Program announcements are typically made in late November, with proposals due at Parks and Wildlife area offices by early March. Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their local District Wildlife Manager or Aquatic Biologist for their input into the proposal prior to submittal. A review panel meets in early May for project presentations and to develop funding recommendations. A final list of projects and funding is approved by the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Director by mid-June.
Fishing Is Fun funding comes from the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program, and projects are subject to federal reporting, compliance and accounting requirements. Grant funds are provided on a reimbursement basis; no “up-front” funding is provided.
A recent economic study found that fishing recreation annually contributes more than $1.2 billion to Colorado’s economy through direct and secondary expenditures. The average daily expenditures of resident anglers is $67 per day when fishing, while nonresidents spend nearly $120 per day. Fishing recreation supports more than 14,500 jobs statewide.
Fishing Is Fun Program Coordinator, Jim Guthrie, is also available to answer any questions you might have. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
We look forward to working with you on projects to expand and improve angling in Colorado.