Let's go fishing.
But let's get a license first.
By regulation, the 2009 license year for fishing in Colorado started April 1.
Under new regulations set by the Colorado Wildlife Commission, all annual fishing, combination fishing/small game licenses and habitat stamps are now valid from April 1 through March 31 of the following year.
All 2008 annual fishing licenses expired March 31, 2009.
"The new spring start is a great reminder that not only is it time to purchase your 2009 license, but April is also one of the best months to head to your favorite lake, stream or river," said Scott Gilmore, eduction coordinator for the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
"Some of Colorado's best fishing takes place in early spring."
According to the DOW, as the weather warms and reservoir ice begins to melt, hungry brown, rainbow and cutthroat trout begin feeding in the shallow water near shorelines. This creates one of the best opportunities all year for shore fisherman to catch trophy fish.
"Some of the largest fish we see all year are caught just after ice-out," said Greg Gerlich, DOW chief of fisheries. "We typically see the number of entries for our Master Angler Award Program increase during this time period."
Open water has been reported across Colorado, particularly in the Southwest.
Popular South Park reservoirs, including Eleven Mile, Spinney Mountain and Antero, now have open water and offer excellent action for large fish.
Lake trout or "mackinaw" - Colorado's largest fish species - are also aggressive springtime feeders.
Lake trout are normally deep-dwellers but will enter shallow water just after ice-off and will remain there into late spring until warm temperatures send them fleeing back to deeper water.
Lake trout can grow larger than 50 pounds and are typically found in high-altitude, deep reservoirs.
Popular lake trout fisheries include Lake Granby, Grand Lake, Blue Mesa Reservoir, Jefferson Lake and Turquoise Lake.
According to the DOW, anglers are reminded that at Blue Mesa Reservoir, harvesting lake trout is encouraged to help reduce predation on the kokanee salmon population and increase the fitness of the remaining lake trout. In addition to stillwater fishing, Colorado's rivers and streams offer excellent early season opportunities for rainbow trout and other species.
Rainbows, which spawn in the spring, leave reservoirs and begin their spawning runs into rivers.
Some of the more popular locations to fish for rainbows include the South Plate River between Eleven Mile and Spinney Mountain Reservoir, the Colorado River/Roaring Fork River confluence in Glenwood Springs and the Colorado River/Williams Fork River confluence near Parshall.
Anglers are encouraged to fish rivers early, before the water becomes too swift or "blown out" due to snowmelt runoff.
The DOW said anglers should consult the 2009 Colorado Fishing Brochure for the latest information pertaining to current regulations, license fees and bag and possession limits.
Brochures are available at Division of Wildlife offices and license agents statewide. Colorado annually attracts more than 700,000 licensed anglers.
"People are often surprised to find out that the cost of an annual resident fishing license is significantly less than the price for a typical round of golf, a one-day ski ticket or a night at the movies," Gerlich said.
"That's a good bargain during tough economic times, and it provides a strong incentive for enjoying one of Colorado's exceptional outdoor recreational opportunities," he said.
Anglers may purchase 2009 licenses at Division of Wildlife offices and license agents across Colorado.
Licenses also are available on the Division's Web site (www.wildlife.state.co.us) or by calling (800) 244-5613.