December 13, 2004

The Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) is accepting applications for the 2005 Fishing is Fun grant cycle. This year, the program will award $900,000 in grants for angler improvement projects around the state.

Fishing is Fun is a competitive state grant program that encourages partnerships between local communities and the DOW. Projects selected for funding in the past have upgraded fishing access to lakes and streams, improved aquatic habitat conditions, and built new angling-related facilities.

“The program’s popularity continues to grow, reflecting the value Colorado residents place on angling as an important recreational activity,” said Program Administrator Jim Guthrie. “The diversity of projects funded just last year shows there are lots of ways communities can improve angling opportunities in their backyards.”

Fishing is Fun combines local funds with Federal Sportfish Restoration Act funds to help local communities attain specific angling goals. In 2004, a dozen projects were funded, with local communities providing more than $743,000 in matching funds. Historically, matching funds have accounted for 45 percent of the average project’s costs.

“The result is a tremendous leveraging of our resources for the benefit of Colorado anglers,” Guthrie said.

The deadline for the 2005 grant cycle is March 4. Applications can be e-mailed or mailed to local DOW offices, in care of regional aquatic biologists. See the Fishing is Fun and DOW Offices Web pages for more information about the application process and regional contacts.

The Fishing is Fun review panel, which includes representatives from angling groups, local government, equipment manufacturers and the Colorado Wildlife Commission, will meet in May to recommend 2005 project funding.

Last year’s grants will help open new community fishing ponds in Rangely, Eads and Mead. The largest 2004 grant is part of a project to open a 180-acre lake with public fishing access in Windsor. Three projects in the Denver area also received funding. Other grants will improve fish habitat in streams and rivers near Eagle, Montrose, Granby and Silverthorne.

In Salida, residents are celebrating a 2004 grant that will enable the southern Colorado city to further improve angler facilities at Sands Lake and Frantz Lake state wildlife areas next year. Tree plantings, signs, a bridge replacement, and fishing pier upgrades are among other improvements planned for the $60,000 project, which received $15,000 in matching Chaffee County funds.

Donna Rhoads, president of the non-profit Salida-Area Parks, Open Space and Trails (SPOT), said the work is part of an ambitious plan to expand and upgrade a non-motorized trail system in and around Salida. She credited the project’s entire success to a collaborative effort between the City of Salida, Chaffee County, SPOT and the DOW’s Fishing is Fun program.

Rhoads said Fishing is Fun grants helped create two new trails to Frantz and Sands lakes that are seeing high usage among local residents. She said the trails and new amenities at the lakes have turned Salida into a recreation hub, where residents and visitors can fish, hike, mountain bike and ski.

”Both trails are critical connections for angler usage and just recreation from the town to access these beautiful, beautiful lakes,” Rhoads said. “This has just enhanced their accessibility and their usability. We just love them.”

To access photos of the Salida-area lake improvement projects, visit and

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