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Visiting Old Friends

Blog by: David Coulson , CO 3/14/2018

As I approach retirement and our new life as road warriors begins, doesn’t that sound more adventurous than full-time RVing, we’re spending a lot of time visiting friends and family.  We’ll see everyone in the future, we just don’t know when, so we’re saying goodbye until then.

Weather has warmed enough to clear the ice off the waters up and down the Front Range of Colorado.  Having lived in Fort Collins for over twenty years, I’ve managed to fish nearly every public water within an hour or two of the house.  I say nearly, as you can never get to them all.  Every year “new” waters open to the public, often ponds associated with developments or new bike trails along rivers provide access. Further, every year waters once public disappear for a variety of reasons, such as Colorado Parks and Wildlife losing the leases on two in the area.

Some local waters were visited once or twice and didn’t merit more frequent visits.  Others became well known and trusted friends.  Proximity played a part in whether or not a pond became a good friend, especially those within minutes of the house or work.  But location isn’t everything.  Good friends tend to come through for you.

Whenever I’ve had time to fish the last couple weeks, be it minutes or hours, I’ve been visiting old friends.  Most have welcomed me, producing decent numbers of fish, and even a couple of surprises as good friends are prone to do.  I realize that there’s not enough time left before we hit the road to visit all my local friends.  There are over 100 fisheries within an hour of work and home.  Of those maybe twenty or so are good friends I visit regularly, more than I can get to in the next few days.

Over the years I’ve become well acquainted with my “friends.”  Learning their depths, vegetation, hidden brush and tree limbs, species . . .  Armed with that information on any given visit it’s often easy  to figure out where the fish are holding, effective patterns and presentations making catching far more likely.  Typically, the fish are plentiful, albeit smallish.  Still, as good friend often do they offer up a surprise or two on occasion.  This weekend was case in point when a local park pond produced a nice twenty inch rainbow along with the normal fare of bluegills, crappie, and bass.

Local “friends” are great to visit over lunch or after work, as I did today.  Had to fish over lunch hour as it will likely be the last time I take a break from work over lunch to fish.  Tomorrow, I’ll get a couple hours after work, likely the last time for that also.  These special times with close “friends” will continue, just not squeezed in between working hours. 

Wherever you live, it’s a good idea to make friends with your local waters, as friends almost always treat you right. So as we take to the road, there’s a mix of sadness that comes from bidding adieu to old friends and excitement that comes from making new ones.

First published 3/13/18 Flyrodn America.

20 inch rainbow from a local pondOne of many small crappieSmall bass
Even a few perchLittle big for forage, but this year`s young will fatten up the bass.  Gizzard shad.Pushing 9 inches, hybrid sunfish.
Blog content © David Coulson
Blog Comments
Goosehunter82, 3/14/2018 2:19:16 PM
Good read. Safe travels!
Lloyd Tackitt, 3/14/2018 3:52:37 PM
I hope every day is a gentle adventure and that you and your wife have the greatest times ever. One day we'll go after some of those Brazos Bass!
David Coulson (Flyrodn), 3/14/2018 4:04:07 PM
Rest assured of that Lloyd, soon, very soon
FloatTubeGuy, 3/14/2018 5:14:36 PM
Travel safe and have fun Dave. I hope to fish with you again sometime. Howie
fishthumpre, 3/16/2018 2:02:19 PM
We're going to miss you around here Dave. I said as much last week on the Loveland Fishing Club blog,.. don't know if you saw it. Bill Wednesday, March 7, 2018 Dave Coulson's retiring as chief editor at Fish Explorer Northern Colorado is home to legendary anglers – folks like Terry Wickstrom, Chad LaChance, Dan Barker, experts in just about every aspect of our sport. But as far as someone willing to test just about every body of water in northern Colorado, and share what he'd learned, it’s pretty hard to find a match for Dave Coulson, recently retired and about to hit the road with his wife Sue as full-time RVer. Dave was one of the earliest editors of, and on that website and in Fort Collins Coloradoan columns he's shared useful information about nearly every warm body of water in northern Colorado that might hold a fish. The first I recall seeing his byline was in an amazingly candid 2008 report on Fish Explorer, Boyd Lake from a Fly Fisher’s Perspective.” Darned if he hadn’t flippered his way all around that jet ski-infested, 1,700- acre reservoir in a float tube. After flailing away with that three-fly, fly rod rig of his, darned if he didn’t tell the rest of us what he’d learned about 14 best spots to fish, and recommended ways to fish them. I still refer to that article from time to time, reminding myself that some other anglers sure are more forthcoming than me, and maybe even more obsessive. The first time I actually met Dave was in spring about 2010 at the Marina Inlet of Boyd Lake . He’d spotted my belly boat in the back of the Silverado, and told me to fish right in the middle of the inlet, where water flowing in from Horsetooth Reservoir was attracting gangs of marauding white bass. He was spot on – I anchored that boat smack in the middle of the current, just beyond casting range of some frustrated shore anglers – and sadistically amused myself at their expense. The point is, I may not be as generous as Dave in telling you where and how to go fishing around here (hey, the man’s a saint), but I do promise to occasionally share what I’ve learned about life. And in this instance, I’m telling you that the fishing life around here is going to be a little duller without Dave in the mix. I still haven't followed his advice and gone after carp on a fly rod. He was never a member of the Loveland Fishing Club, which is our loss, but he was a member of Rocky Mountain Fly Casters, the Fort Collins chapter of Trout Unlimited, the Centennial Bass Club, and sat on the Larimer County Parks Advisory Board.