Thick ice delayed park opening this year. 

Prep that boat and grab your fishing pole! Two popular state parks, Chatfield and Cherry Creek, are finally opening this week to boaters, fishers, and recreators in general.  

This marks the latest that the reservoirs have opened to boaters, and it's all due to the winter we just went through. 

"This is the latest our two parks have opened in a long time," said Colorado Parks and Wildlife Assistant Park Manager Kris Wahlers in a press release. "We haven't seen a winter that intense for a long time either." 

Before you hit the water or cast your line, there are a few things to know about each reservoir:

If you are a fishing fan, both parks are hosting walleye spawn operations along the dams, so anglers are not allowed to fish within 100 feet of spawning nets or the dams until April 15. 

Boaters and all motorized and trailered vessels will be inspected for Aquatic Nuisance Species before launch. The inspection is to help stop the spread of zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and more. Inspection stations are open from 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. all days of the week at each park. Of course, all power boats and sailboats must be registered and all vessels must have safety equipment

In addition, Chatfield will only have the western-most ramps near the dam open initially due to the Chatfield Storage Relocation Project. Boaters must enter on the west entrance from Wadsworth to access the park. The park road across the S. Platte River is closed. More ramps may eventually be opened as summer approaches. 

Visitors are encouraged to monitor the condition pages at www.cpw.state.co.us.

Do you visit Chatfield and Cherry Creek State Parks? Any tips for others on how to get out on the water efficiently? Share your recommendations in the comments! 

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