List of Freshwater Fish Species in Colorado 2024 (ID + Pictures)

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on the freshwater fish species found in Colorado. As fishing enthusiasts, we have compiled this list to help you identify and learn more about the fascinating variety of fish that inhabit the lakes, rivers, and streams in the state. Whether you are an avid angler, a nature lover, or simply curious about the unique ecosystem of Colorado’s waters, this guide will serve as your go-to resource for information and pictures of the fish species you may encounter.

Colorado is home to an abundance of freshwater fish species, each with its own characteristics and beauty. From the shimmering scales of the Rainbow Trout to the striking patterns of the Cutthroat Trout, these fish have adapted to the diverse environments found throughout the state. Whether you are fishing in the fast-flowing rivers of the Rocky Mountains or the tranquil lakes dotting the plains, you are likely to encounter a variety of fish species that will make your fishing experience unforgettable.

This guide includes detailed descriptions and high-quality pictures of each fish species, allowing you to easily identify them during your fishing trips. You will find information on their scientific names, common names, physical features, distinctive markings, and preferred habitats. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, this guide will enhance your angling experience and deepen your appreciation for the incredible freshwater fish species that call Colorado their home.

So, grab your fishing gear and get ready to embark on a journey through the rich and diverse aquatic world of Colorado. Explore this guide, immerse yourself in the beauty of these fish species, and enhance your knowledge as you discover the wonders that await you beneath the surface of Colorado’s freshwater ecosystems.

List of Freshwater Fish Species in Colorado 2024

Colorado is home to a diverse array of freshwater fish species. Whether you’re an avid angler or simply enjoy observing aquatic wildlife, the state’s rivers, lakes, and reservoirs offer ample opportunities to explore and appreciate these fascinating creatures. Here is a list of some of the freshwater fish species you may encounter in Colorado in 2024:

1. Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

The rainbow trout is one of the most prized game fish in Colorado. Known for its vibrant colors and spectacular fighting ability, this species can be found in rivers, streams, and lakes throughout the state. Anglers often target rainbow trout for both their sporting qualities and delicious flavor.

2. Brown Trout (Salmo trutta)


The brown trout is another popular sport fish in Colorado. With its distinctive golden-brown body and red and black spots, this species is a favorite among fly fishermen. Brown trout thrive in cold, clear mountain streams and can reach impressive sizes in the state’s high-elevation waters.

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3. Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii)

Colorado is home to several subspecies of cutthroat trout, including the native greenback cutthroat trout. These trout are known for their distinctive slash marks under their lower jaws, which give them their name. Cutthroat trout can be found in both high-elevation lakes and streams, providing anglers with a unique angling experience.

4. Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush)


The lake trout, also known as the mackinaw trout, is a deep-dwelling fish that can reach impressive sizes. Found in Colorado’s largest reservoirs and alpine lakes, these trout offer anglers a challenging pursuit. Lake trout are known for their strong fighting ability and are highly sought after by trophy anglers.

5. Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

The brook trout, Colorado’s state fish, is a small but beautiful species. Recognized by its vibrant colors, including a striking orange belly and speckled back, brook trout can be found in high-elevation creeks, streams, and lakes. Anglers and nature enthusiasts alike admire the beauty of this species.

6. Kokanee Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)


Kokanee salmon are landlocked sockeye salmon that provide a unique angling opportunity in Colorado. These fish, which spawn in the state’s reservoirs and lakes, display bright red bodies during the spawning season. Kokanee salmon offer both a challenging fight and delicious table fare, making them a prized catch.

This is just a small sample of the freshwater fish species you may encounter in Colorado in 2024. Whether you’re fishing for your next trophy or simply enjoying the beauty of our state’s waterways, there’s always something special waiting in Colorado’s waters.

ID + Pictures

Below is a list of freshwater fish species found in Colorado, along with their corresponding identification codes (ID) and pictures:

ID Fish Species Picture
1 Rainbow Trout Rainbow Trout Picture
2 Brown Trout Brown Trout Picture
3 Brook Trout Brook Trout Picture
4 Cutthroat Trout Cutthroat Trout Picture
5 Lake Trout Lake Trout Picture

Note: These pictures are just for reference and may not accurately represent the specific fish species found in Colorado. For more information and accurate identification, please consult a local fish guide or the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

Advice Category

In this section, we will provide advice and tips for fishing in Colorado. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced angler, these tips will help you make the most of your fishing trip.

1. Know the regulations: Before you head out to fish, familiarize yourself with the fishing regulations in Colorado. Each species has its own rules and limits, and it is important to follow them to preserve the fish populations and their habitats.

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2. Choose the right gear: Depending on the species you are targeting, you may need different types of fishing gear. Research and invest in the appropriate rods, reels, lines, and bait for the fish you want to catch.

3. Learn the techniques: Different fish species require different fishing techniques. Spend time learning about the specific techniques needed for the fish you are targeting. This will increase your chances of success when you are on the water.

4. Consider the time of day: Many freshwater fish are more active at certain times of the day. Try to plan your fishing trips during the times when the fish are most active. Early mornings and evenings are often the best times to catch fish.

5. Explore different locations: Colorado has many lakes, rivers, and streams where you can fish. Don’t limit yourself to just one location. Explore different areas to find the best fishing spots and increase your chances of catching fish.

6. Practice catch and release: If you are not planning to keep the fish you catch, practice catch and release. This helps preserve the fish population and ensures that future generations can enjoy fishing in Colorado.

7. Be patient and persistent: Fishing requires patience and persistence. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t catch a fish right away. Keep trying, learn from each fishing trip, and enjoy the experience of being out on the water.

By following these tips and advice, you will have a better fishing experience in Colorado. Remember to always respect the environment and follow the rules to ensure the sustainability of the fish populations for years to come.

Native Fish Species

Colorado is home to a variety of native fish species that have adapted to the state’s unique freshwater ecosystems. These species have been living in Colorado’s rivers, lakes, and streams for thousands of years and play an important role in maintaining the ecological balance of these water bodies.

Greenback Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii stomias)

Greenback Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii stomias)

The Greenback Cutthroat Trout is Colorado’s state fish and is native to the South Platte River Basin. It has a distinct olive-green color on its back and vibrant red markings on its lower jaw, which give it its name. This species is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and conservation efforts are being made to protect its populations.

Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii pleuriticus)

The Colorado River Cutthroat Trout is another native trout species found in Colorado. It can be identified by its vibrant red slash marks on the lower jaw and its yellowish-green coloration. This species is highly adaptable and can be found in a variety of water types, including clear streams, lakes, and beaver ponds.

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Boreal Toad (Anaxyrus boreas boreas)

The Boreal Toad is a native amphibian that is found in Colorado’s high-altitude wetland areas. It has a distinct mottled brown and green coloration and is known for its ability to secrete toxic skin secretions as a defense mechanism. The Boreal Toad is currently listed as a species of concern due to declining population numbers.

Mountain Sucker (Catostomus platyrhynchus)

The Mountain Sucker is a native fish species that can be found in Colorado’s mountain streams and rivers. It has a cylindrical body shape and is typically gray to olive-brown in color. This species is an important part of the aquatic food web, feeding on algae and other plant material.

Colorado Pikeminnow (Ptychocheilus lucius)

The Colorado Pikeminnow, also known as the Colorado Squawfish, is a large native fish species that can reach lengths of over three feet. It has a slender and elongated body, with a dark gray or olive-brown coloration. This species is typically found in the Colorado River Basin and is listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.


What are some of the freshwater fish species in Colorado?

Some of the freshwater fish species in Colorado include rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, lake trout, kokanee salmon, muskie, northern pike, walleye, yellow perch, and channel catfish.

Can you provide a list of the most common freshwater fish species in Colorado?

Sure! The most common freshwater fish species in Colorado are rainbow trout, brown trout, cutthroat trout, brook trout, and lake trout. These species can be found in many rivers, lakes, and reservoirs across the state.

Are there any rare or endangered freshwater fish species in Colorado?

Yes, there are some rare and endangered freshwater fish species in Colorado. One example is the Colorado pikeminnow, which is a large, predatory fish that is only found in a few river systems in the state. Another example is the razorback sucker, a bottom-feeding fish that is also considered endangered.

Where can I find pictures of freshwater fish species in Colorado?

You can find pictures of freshwater fish species in Colorado on various websites and fishing forums. Some popular sources include the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website, fishing guides’ websites, and online fishing communities where anglers share their photos. Alternatively, you can search for specific fish species on image search engines like Google Images for visual references.

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Wow, this list of freshwater fish species in Colorado is amazing! As an avid fisherman, it’s great to have such a comprehensive guide to the fish that I can encounter while exploring the beautiful waters of Colorado. The inclusion of ID numbers and pictures is incredibly helpful for identifying different species. It’s clear that a lot of time and effort went into creating this list. I’m particularly excited about the variety of fish that Colorado has to offer. From trout to bass to catfish, there’s something for everyone. The pictures are stunning and really give me a sense of what each fish looks like in its natural habitat. I appreciate that this list is up to date, providing information on the fish species that can be found in Colorado in 2024. It’s always frustrating when fishing resources are outdated and don’t reflect the current reality of the waterways. This list gives me confidence that I’ll be well-prepared for my fishing trips in the coming year. Overall, I’m extremely impressed with this article. It’s a valuable resource for any Angler in Colorado, and I know I’ll be referencing it often. Thank you for putting this together!


This article is very informative and helpful for those who are interested in fishing in Colorado. As an avid angler, I appreciate the well-organized list of freshwater fish species in the state. The addition of ID numbers and pictures is a great resource for easily identifying the different species. It will be especially useful to have this information in 2024, as it allows me to plan my fishing trips and target specific species. The pictures are of high quality, which further aids in identification. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this article and it has definitely piqued my interest in exploring the diverse fish species that Colorado has to offer. Keep up the good work!

Olivia Johnson

I absolutely love fishing and exploring different fish species in Colorado, so this article is a fantastic resource for me! The list of freshwater fish species in Colorado for 2024 with their unique identification and pictures is exactly what I need to plan my fishing trips. The pictures help me visualize the beautiful fish I might encounter in Colorado’s rivers and lakes. It’s so exciting to see the wide variety of species, from trout to catfish and everything in between. The descriptions provide valuable information about each species, like their habitat preferences and feeding habits, which will be helpful in targeting specific fish. This list will definitely be bookmarked and referred to frequently as I continue my fishing adventures in Colorado. Thank you for putting together such a comprehensive and visually appealing resource!

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Great article! As an avid fisherman in Colorado, I always look forward to exploring new freshwater fish species in the state. The list you provided with ID and pictures is extremely helpful and allows me to easily identify and learn about these beautiful creatures. Colorado’s diverse range of fish species never ceases to amaze me. It’s fascinating how each species has its own unique characteristics and habitat preferences. I particularly enjoy targeting the trophy-sized trout in the crystal-clear mountain streams. The pictures accompanying the article are stunning, and I can’t wait to encounter some of these species on my next fishing trip. Thank you for compiling such a comprehensive and informative list. It’s a valuable resource for any angler in Colorado, whether they are a beginner or a seasoned pro. Keep up the great work!


“Thank you for compiling such a comprehensive list of freshwater fish species in Colorado for 2024. As an avid angler, I find this information incredibly valuable and timely. The addition of ID and pictures is especially helpful, as it allows me to easily identify the fish I encounter during my fishing trips. Colorado’s diverse range of freshwater fish species never fails to amaze me. From rainbow trout to brown trout, crayfish to catfish, the state offers a wide variety of fishing opportunities. It’s exciting to see that the list now includes even more species, giving anglers like myself more options to target and explore. The pictures accompanying each species are a fantastic addition. Being able to visually identify different fish helps me become a more knowledgeable angler and fosters a deeper appreciation for the unique beauty that Colorado’s waters hold. I’m particularly intrigued by the addition of the tiger muskie to the list. Its striking appearance and aggressive behavior make it an undoubtedly exciting catch. The inclusion of the northern pike also caught my attention. It’s fascinating to see how the fish populations in Colorado’s waters have evolved over the years. Overall, this list is an invaluable resource for both experienced anglers and those just beginning their fishing journey. I look forward to using it as a reference during my future fishing endeavors. Thank you for providing such a wealth of information and for continually updating it to reflect the changing fish species in Colorado’s freshwater. Your dedication to this project is greatly appreciated!”

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