United States Air Force Academy

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Parent teaching child to fish.

The U.S. Air Force Academy has five lakes at the main grounds and three additional lakes at the Farish Recreation Area where eligible patrons can enjoy a day of fishing in peaceful picturesque settings. Anglers can enjoy fishing for rainbow trout which are stocked in the lakes from April through September as well as channel catfish which are occasionally stocked.

More detailed information on the fishing program is available at usafa.isportsman.net


Fishing is not open to the general public. Fishing privileges at both the U.S. Air Force Academy and Farish Recreation Area are available to the following groups: active duty military, military retirees, disabled veterans and eligible caregivers with a Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC), Department of Defense civilians, cadets and prep school students, and sponsored guests.

Camping and lodging guests at Farish Recreation Area who do not meet one of these customer types can purchase a one-day fishing permit.

The sale of fishing permits covers the annual cost of stocking the hatchery-raised trout. All anglers 16+ years of age must purchase a one-day ($9) or annual ($24) fishing permit, which is valid for both the U.S. Air Force Academy and Farish Recreation Area. A $7 permit allowing the use of a second fishing rod is also available. A state fishing license is NOT required.

Discounted fishing permits are available for Purple Heart recipients as well as veterans with a 60% or higher Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability rating. Applicants must provide their VA disability rating documentation to the Natural Resources Office before registering for an online account. To apply, email your rating paperwork to brian_mihlbachler@fws.gov or call (719) 333-3308.

Permit Eligibility Annual Permit ($24) One-Day Permit ($9) Second Rod Permit ($7) Lifetime Permit
Active Duty and dependents Y Y Y N
Military Retiree and dependents Y Y Y N
VA card holders and their caregiver with proper documentation Y Y Y N
<60% Disabled Veterans (and eligible caregiver) with Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC) Y Y Y N
Purple Heart Recipients and >60% Disabled Veterans with a VA disability rating letter 50  percent discount Y Y Lifetime permits issued prior to January 1, 2023 remain valid.
USAFA DoD civilian, AAFES, NAF employee and dependents Y Y Y N
Non-USAFA DoD civilian and dependents N Y Y N
Sponsored guest N Y Y N
USAFA cadets and Preparatory School students Y Y Y N


Purchasing a Permit

After completing the purchase, print the permit or save to a mobile device since some form of the permit must be in your possession while fishing.

Over-the-counter permits may be purchased through the U.S. Air Force Academy Force Support Squadron at Outdoor Recreation, Farish Recreation, and Peregrine Pines FamCamp.

People fishing at Farish Lake

Frequently Asked Questions
  • How many fish can I catch?

    There is a daily catch limit of three (3) fish with no size restriction. Fishermen under 16 years of age without a permit may keep two (2) fish; they make keep the daily limit of three (3) fish if an annual or one-day permit is purchased on their behalf. The grass carp are stocked for aquatic weed control and must be released.

  • Is fishing available year round?

    Fish are regularly stocked in the lakes from April through September, but annual permits are valid from January 1 to December 31. Fishing is allowed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

  • Is ice fishing allowed?

    Ice fishing is prohibited on all Academy lakes; however, Farish Recreation Area may periodically open for ice fishing.

  • Can I swim in the lake?

    No; swimming, boating, rafting, tubing (excluding float tubes and paddleboat rentals at Farish Recreation Area) are prohibited in lakes and streams.

  • Where can I dispose of trash and fishing line?

    Trash receptacles are located throughout fishing areas. If you are not located near a trash receptacle, please take your trash with you. Cleaning and disposing of entrails in the lakes is prohibited.

  • What kind of bait is prohibited?

    Chumming and the use of minnow traps, seines, trotlines, or floating jugs is prohibited. The use of corn bait and live minnows is also prohibited.

  • What disability accommodations are available?

    Mobility-impaired fishermen with a handicap driver’s license or placard can apply for a Defense Biometric Identification System (DBIDS) badge that grants access to the Davis Airfield’s west gate. This gate provides access to the Kettle Lake 2 and 3 without walking so far and the ability to drive up to the ADA accessible fishing pier located on Kettle Lake 3.

    The Air Force Academy’s Ice Lake is directly accessible by car for mobility-impaired fisherman, while Deadman’s Lake requires hiking a short trail to get to the lake. At Farish Recreational Area, Grace Lake has the best access for the mobility-impaired fishermen, since everyone can drive right up to it.

    Please call the Natural Resources Office at (719) 333-3308 to complete your DBIDS paperwork, which will be processed and issued at the Pass and Registration Center – located outside of the South Gate at Exit 150. Airfield DBIDS badges are valid for one-year and can only be renewed within 30 days of expiration

  • Are there aquatic invasive species and diseases I need to be aware of?

    Nuisance fish such as goldfish, koi, European rudd, and crappie occur in most of the lakes. If caught, these fish should be disposed of in the available trash containers. Although the Academy stocks only whirling disease-free trout, the parasite that causes this disease does occur in the lakes. Most stocked trout are not in the lakes long enough to contract and display the symptoms of whirling disease, though infected fish are safe for human consumption with proper cooking.

    Anchor worm is a prevalent fish parasite, characterized by bumpy sores that can cover the body of infected fish. Although the fish can look unsightly, anchor worm does not pose a human health risk and infected fish are safe to consume with proper cooking.

  • How can I help prevent aquatic invasive species and diseases?

    To help protect our lakes from non-native aquatic species, do not dump bait fish or aquarium fish in the lakes; do not transfer fish between the lakes; do not clean fish and dispose of the entrails in the lakes; clean all fishing tackle and gear; and disinfect waders and float tubes with a 10% bleach solution.