Colorado Revised Statutes (CRS) Title 33 states the penalty for being in unlawful possession of fish as $35 in fines and 5 license suspension points for the first fish. However, for each additional fish, the fine is $10 and 1 license suspension point. An individual unlawfully in possession of 5 fish, for example, would be fined $75 and be given 9 license suspension points.
Colorado Fishing regulations define the daily possession limit for each species of fish that may be taken in the state. Those daily possession limits, and when the fish counts toward your possession limit, must be observed by anglers or they face receiving a Colorado Fishing violation that may end up with costly consequences.
Colorado has many fishing areas that have special regulations on the kinds of methods you may use to fish. One such regulation is that of "Artificial Flies and Lures Only." In 2014, Colorado Parks and Wildlife Officers gave out nearly 100 tickets for "Fishing With Bait in Fly/Lure Only Water." If you are cited for fishing with an unlawful bait your first call should be to your attorney for a free consultation on your rights and defenses. However, let's look a little closer at what exactly this rule means to help avoid this problem in the first place.
Bait is defined in the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Regulations as: "any hand-moldable material designed to attract fish by the sense of taste or smell; those devices to which scents or smell attractants have been added or externally applied (regardless if the scent is added in the manufacturing process or applied afterward); scented manufactured fish eggs and traditional organic baits, including but not limited to worms, grubs, crickets, leeches, dough baits or stink baits, insects, crayfish, human food, fish, fish parts or fish eggs." The definition is unsurprising to most anglers, save for the portion regarding spray attractants. The trouble here is, for most spray attractants that would be applied to otherwise legal flies or lures would leave very little in the way of identifiable scent for a human (CPW officer) to detect. You could just receive the ticket based on having the spray attractant visible in your tackle box even if you're not actually using it.
Artificial flies and lures are defined as: "devices made entirely of, or a combination of, natural or synthetic non-edible, non-scented (regardless if the scent is added in the manufacturing process or applied afterward), materials such as wood, plastic, silicone, rubber, epoxy, glass, hair, metal, feathers, or fiber, designed to attract fish." Again, the definition is not surprising to most anglers but does give a very bright line rule for fishermen and women to consult and follow.
If you do receive a ticket for fishing with bait in fly or lure only water, you need to call The Law Office of Nathaniel Gilbert for a 100% free consultation regarding your rights, defenses, and any repercussions that could come from pleading guilty and paying the fine. Finding out too late that your fishing violation compromised your once in a lifetime elk hunt this fall could be devastating.
Colorado Fishing Violations may seem small and fishermen and anglers may be tempted to plead guilty and pay the fines. However, the violations could have serious impacts on your ability to hunt in the fall depending on the number of points you will receive on your hunting license. Hunting and Fishing Violation Attorney Nathaniel Gilbert can help you evaluate your case and find your best route back in the field.