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February in Colorado is amazing, and without a moment’s notice life can smile on you or decide to dump on your parade. Sunday was amazing (again) as I spent much needed time on the Poudre River energizing my soul for some pretty stout times that lay ahead.

Two weeks ago I fished the Poudre within the city limits of Fort Collins. Water flows were low and clarity was a bit milky. There were many friends out fishing, none of whom I have met yet, so finding water with a good chance of picking up a fish was tough. After 2.5 hours of walking, wading, slipping, and stumbling, I found a nice drift lined with ice along its edges. A few well placed casts produced a missed strike, a break off, and finally the fish pictured below. Yes, January ended in smiles.



February’s first Sunday provided another glorious day to return to this river that I am still learning so much about. “Town” fishing was off with lower water and more crowds, so I high-tailed it up into the the eastern reaches of the Poudre Canyon. Flows were crystal clear and at a great level for fishing. There were plenty of unmet friends on the river, but also enough river for everyone. Nearly all of my three hours were spent in solitude. So much so that the fish didn’t bother me at all.


As I wandered the banks I came upon a few things that inspired my thoughts:


Why are there flip-flops along the river in the winter? Who lost them? When did they lose them? Was it really a mismatched pair or did random luck place them at my feet?


How long has the rock been perched up there? When will it fall? Will anyone be here to witness it? I recalled a Harry Chapin song titled The Rock, which I hadn’t thought of in years. (You can listen here if you wish: Clickety-Click here.)


Sometimes life hangs over us, seemingly dull, pale, and dead. But if you look close or beyond you can find life there instead.


Near the end of my journey, I came upon this cable seat that spanned the river. The must be something on the other side worth visiting when the river is too high to cross. I scanned the bank but couldn’t see what that might be. As I began to fish I thought that if I was lucky enough to land a fish (no such luck) I’d call it the Cable Drift. This stirred another memory, this one not so pleasant. I recalled a friend that I had spent many hours fly fishing  together. During those times we shared many personal things between us. One of his fashioned itself into a poem. Unfortunately this young man couldn’t wrestle his demons to a place to settle his life. I had to leave the friendship or risk being taken under like a hidden current in a river. It’s been a long while since I’ve heard anything about him. I pray he is okay.


In this final, somewhat blurry, zoomed in photo you can see one of my many great friends I didn’t get a chance to meet that day. But to see him there and think he’s as happy there as I was, I smiled again.

On another day the fish will dance with my heart and me. But on this day, we danced solo, neither one sure who was leading.

I hope you can find some winter solace where you live. If so, share them in the comment section below. Keep smiling!