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FORT COLLINS, Colo. (KDVR) — Cody Richardson slid his fly rod out of the case mounted atop his full-size truck and slowly approached the Poudre River. 

“Over time, I’ve definitely perfected it in a big way,” Richardson said.

Richardson, a Colorado native, is a renaissance man. He grew up fly fishing across the Front Range and the sport has given him and his wife Anna a license to travel.

“You get to see the world in a different view and a different light,” Richardson said with a smile.

Fly fishing also offers a chance for Richardson to contribute to his other colorful obsession.

“I’ve always had a love for license plates. I think they’re really neat,” Richardson said.

But with a collection of 20,000 license plates from countries all over the world, neat may not be the right word to describe how Richardson stores them. His Fort Collins home has countless boxes and shelves that are full of these metallic keepsakes.

Thankfully, he had a plan. 

“I wanted to make something that was fishing oriented (because) that’s my passion,” Richardson said.

Richardson’s garage is where a love for the outdoors collides with his talent as an artist. What he creates is custom angling and hunting art.

His designs feature the unmistakable silhouettes of animals like trout, walleye, pheasants and elk. Each handcrafted piece consists of a collage of license plate pieces.

“A lot of people will stop in their tracks and say, ‘Well, that’s something unique and different.’  And that’s been my goal all along,” Richardson said.

In ten years, Richardson’s catalog of animal art has expanded.  He recently left his job as a fireman to concentrate full time on making these one-of-a-kind pieces.   

“A lot of people will take them and put them in their office or behind them for their zoom calls. Those people get to tell the story (about the licenses corresponding) to places they like to fish or (hunt),” Richardson said. “They get to talk about those experiences, and they also share them with me when I’m making the piece for them.”

And now those memories have become even more vivid.