As a parent of a ten-year-old, my wife and I struggle to find a balance between our son’s interests in music, Dude Perfect videos and scheduled sports activities with our family’s interest in getting out into nature. The unscheduled outdoor adventures that were the cornerstone of my youth seem to be a casualty of the modern hustle and bustle. Right out of the gate, I feel like this is getting dangerously close to sounding like one of those “When I was a kid” stories, but things have really changed since I was a kid. Spontaneous pickup sports with a group of friends has been replaced by organized club soccer and team baseball, all with hectic practice schedules and weekend commitments. Even the physical landscape has changed. Along the Front Range, and many other areas of Colorado, once seemingly ubiquitous farm ponds and abundant fishing access appear to have been gobbled up by a rapidly growing housing market. Whether you have kids or not, you probably feel that some things are just a little different than they used to be.
Acknowledging this change and knowing that it takes a little more planning to get us outside for adventures, I decided to take advantage of a day with beautiful blue skies and no sports games or practices to go fishing with the family. After talking with my son, we decided to plan a fishing trip to a location that was accessible by bike. We were aware of some potential waters in the area but knew little about public access and potential fish.
So this is where the CPW Fishing app comes in. As a CPW employee, I am a required early adopter of the app. I initially saw a little irony in the fact that I was downloading an app that I was hoping would help reduce screen time and get my family outdoors. But, I installed the app and started to explore. After only a couple of minutes of looking through the app, I was both surprised and excited by what it had to offer.
CPW Fishing is an extremely feature-packed mobile application, with detailed location and access information, licensing and regulations information, a stocking report, journal and the kitchen sink. But, like any app that I install on my phone, the app needs to have a purpose, or it’s gone minutes after installing.
So, with all of this in mind, it was time to put this thing to the test. As we prepared our fishing rods and collected up our lures, we opened up the app, starting with the atlas feature, and quickly identified three publicly accessible fishing spots that were biking distance from our home. One of the ponds was minutes from an area where we regularly walk our dog and we didn’t even know that it existed. The app also informed us that the pond was stocked with warm water fish and contained largemouth bass, channel cats, black crappie and bluegills. Although this particular pond was a tempting option, we were really looking for a fishing hole that would also give us a decent bike ride. We continued our search on the atlas and chose a lake that would give us a seven-mile round-trip bike ride. And to make things even more interesting, the water we were heading to was home to tiger muskie. One look at the fish image on the water details page and my son was sold. We were off in pursuit of the wild tiger muskie!
The app helped create a real sense of adventure, as it allowed us to work together as a family to find a fun new fishing spot and get us excited to catch a really BIG fish. Our fishing trip yielded one small bass that got away just as it reached the shoreline. But as with most fishing stories, that bass continued to grow in size as we rode home. Most importantly, we got outdoors and spent time together as a family.
There is great information for everyone from the aspiring angler to the advanced angler. For the advanced angler, you’ll love the native mapping and the journal. You’ll have the ability to log your days on the water, your hot spots and much more.
As much as technology can get in the way of our time in the outdoors, there are definitely benefits if used wisely. As with the CPW Fishing app, a little screen time can lead to a great outdoor adventure!
Download CPW Fishing today!
Written and edited by Doug Skinner. Skinner is an editor for Colorado Outdoors Online and is a media specialist for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.