Obtaining a Lifetime Colorado Fishing License: A Complete Guide

Fishing is a beloved pastime for many Colorado residents and visitors. The state’s cold, clear waters are home to trophy trout and excellent ice fishing. For avid anglers, investing in a lifetime fishing license can save money and hassle over purchasing annual licenses each year. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about getting a lifetime fishing license in Colorado.

Who Qualifies for a Lifetime Colorado Fishing License?

In Colorado, lifetime fishing licenses are only available to specific groups of resident anglers:

  • Seniors over 65 – Senior residents who meet income eligibility requirements can obtain a free lifetime fishing license.
  • Disabled residents – Permanently disabled residents can also qualify for a free lifetime fishing license with proper medical documentation.
  • Disabled veterans – Resident veterans with a 60% or greater VA disability rating are eligible as well.

Applicants in all these categories must prove Colorado residency to qualify.

Benefits of a Lifetime Fishing License

Lifetime license holders enjoy several advantages:

  • No expiration – The license remains valid for life as long as residency requirements are met
  • No habitat stamp needed – Unlike annual license holders, lifetime licensees are exempt from purchasing an annual habitat stamp
  • Free for qualified applicants – The license comes at no cost for eligible seniors, disabled residents, and disabled veterans

In essence, the lifetime fishing license provides permanent fishing privileges for those who meet state qualifications.

Eligibility Requirements for Seniors & Disabled Anglers

Seniors over 65 and disabled residents must meet specific eligibility criteria for a free lifetime license:

  • Seniors
    • Must be Colorado residents for at least 10 consecutive years
    • Total household income cannot exceed 50% of the federal poverty line
      • In 2023, this equals $6,965 annual income for an individual or $9,325 for couples [Source]
  • Disabled Residents
    • Must submit a physician’s affidavit verifying permanent disability [Form]
    • Disability must prevent applicant from fishing without assistance
    • Disabilities qualifying for Medicare/Medicaid automatically meet requirements

Applicants must re-verify residency and income qualifications each year when renewing annual licenses.

Requirements for Disabled Veterans

For resident veterans with VA disability ratings of 60% or higher, the process is more straightforward:

  • Proof of disability – Must submit VA disability award letter verifying 60%+ rating
  • Colorado driver’s license or ID – Provides proof of current residency

With these documents, disabled veterans can easily obtain their lifetime fishing licenses.

How to Apply for a Lifetime Fishing License

Several application options exist for obtaining lifetime fishing licenses in Colorado:


  • Fastest and easiest option
  • Upload required documentation
  • Receive license instantly via email


  • Send application and documentation to wildlife.state.co.us
  • Allow 15 days for processing


  • Mail paper application and documentation to CPW headquarters
  • Takes up to 30 days to process

In Person

  • Visit any CPW office location
  • Bring documentation to submit on the spot
  • Receive license immediately

Regardless of method, required eligibility documentation must accompany applications. Processing times vary.

Lifetime License Application Documentation

Again, proper documentation proving eligibility must be provided with license applications:

  • Seniors – Photo ID, income statements, 10+ years of tax returns
  • Disabled Residents – Physician affidavits, disability statements
  • Disabled Veterans – VA disability award letters

Applicants must also certify residency requirements with a driver’s license or state-issued photo ID.

Other Fishing License Options in Colorado

While lifetime licenses are only for qualified residents, Colorado also offers:

  • Annual licenses – For residents and non-residents
  • Multi-day licenses – 1-day and 5-day varieties
  • Youth licenses – Reduced rates for anglers under 18
  • Low-income licenses – Discounted for qualified residents

Prices and options for these shorter-term licenses are available on the CPW fishing page. Daily bag and possession limits, along with other regulations apply to all license holders.

Key Takeaways – Colorado Lifetime Fishing Licenses

  • Available only to eligible seniors, disabled residents, and disabled veterans
  • Requires extensive documentation and proof of residency
  • Once issued, licenses remain valid for life
  • Exempts holders from purchasing annual habitat stamps
  • Easy to obtain in person or through online/email/mail applications

With this guide covering qualifications, documents, costs, and application instructions, qualifying Coloradoans can secure lifetime fishing privileges through this special license program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How long does it take to process lifetime license applications?

A: Approval times vary by method. Online and in-person requests process immediately, while email and mail applications take 15-30 days.

Q: Can I obtain a lifetime fishing license in another state?

A: Lifetime license rules differ by state. Some states do not issue them at all. Contact your local wildlife agency to check individual state regulations.

Q: What if I move out of Colorado? Can I still use the lifetime fishing license?

A: No. Lifetime fishing licenses require maintaining Colorado residency. If you permanently move to another state, the license becomes invalid.

Q: My income exceeds the limit this year. Can I still renew my senior lifetime fishing license next year if I qualify again?

A: Yes. Senior license holders simply need to re-verify income eligibility each year when renewing annual licenses. As long as you meet requirements at the time of annual renewal, your lifetime fishing license remains valid.

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