A small piece of fishing history quietly slips from view

  • Wayne Kruse / Outdoor Writer
  • Saturday, September 30, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

It’s not high science to say that depressed fish populations lead to fewer sport fishermen and all they support – tackle shops, marinas, boat manufacturers, motels, gas stations, and on and on. Neither is it a reach to say that the number of anglers will return to historic levels when fish runs warrant it.

If, that is, the tackle shops, marinas, resorts, charter services and all the rest are still there, ready to service a rebounding recreational community.

And that’s why it’s so disquieting to find another major piece of the fishing infrastructure gone by the board, permanently.

I called Kelly Hawley at Priced Less Sporting Goods in Sedro-Woolley early last week, for a fishing report, as I’ve done for at least six years while Hawley was there and for years prior to that under a different ownership.

I got the old “You have reached a number that is no longer in service” recording.

I finally contacted Hawley on his cell phone, and found out Priced Less Sporting Goods was no more. Hawley had closed the doors and gone into a different, and hopefully more lucrative, business.

“Had to do it,” he said, “before I owed money to everyone in the industry. It just wasn’t there any more. A lack of fishing opportunity, certainly, but worse the fact that even when we have runs of salmon or steelhead, you can’t count on the state opening a season, or a viable season, or giving you enough advance notice that you can prepare for a season or contact persons who might be interested in a season. The management is as bad as the fishing.”

And so disappears the major fishing/hunting headquarters of the lower Skagit Valley. The shop that was inextricably linked with the Wildcat Steelhead Club of Sedro-Woolley, a group which has fought for years for not only the state-promised Grandy Creek steelhead hatchery complex, but traditional fishing/hunting values in the valley. The tackle source when steelheading on the Skagit in the 1950s supported 40 guides and pulled anglers from all over the world.

“I’ve been here six years,” Hawley said, “but the shop’s been here what? Forty? Fifty years?”

  • On a happier note is a letter from Snohomish resident and avid angler Rick Throm, who increased the local sportfishing community by at least one this summer:

    “Every once in a while you have the opportunity to ‘create a fisherman,’ Throm says, “and that happened to me on August 5th. I had talked my sister Layle, who had never caught a salmon, into going fishing with me in the Tulalip bubble. She very reluctantly agreed, after all the usual questions: ‘How early?’ ‘Will it be rough?’ ‘How long do we have to stay out?’ and on and on.

    “Luckily it was a beautiful morning – full of stars as we pulled away from the Port of Everett launch – and it developed into gorgeous, sunny, dead calm day. I had promised Layle we would leave the bubble at 8 a.m. if we hadn’t hit a fish.

    “She checked her gear, cleaning the line of weeds and resetting it, several times. I told old fish stories, trying to get her excited, and also described the procedure she should follow if she hooked a chinook.

    “She was half-heartedly agreeing with me that the beauty of the morning made the trip worthwhile, when her rod tip jerked to a series of three hard bumps and then went slack.

    “Get on it Layle! Reel! Reel! Hit him! Fish on!

    “She boated this nice fish (a pretty 20-plus-pound king) after maybe 10 minutes of really wild fire drill,” Throm said, “and refused to leave the bubble for four more hours.”

  • The L.L.Bean Hunting 2000 catalog is out, featuring several new products for this fall. One is the New Englander shotgun, a classic, heirloom-quality over-and-under in 12 or 20 gauge, made for the venerable mail order firm by top quality Italian gun manufacturer B. Rizzini. The estimated retail price is $1,995.

    For a copy of the catalog call 1-800-809-7057. The firm’s on-line catalog has most, but not all, of the hunting products found in the hard catalog, at www.llbean.com.

    Talk to us

    > Give us your news tips.

    > Send us a letter to the editor.

    > More Herald contact information.

  • More in Sports

    Everett freshman Anna Luscher hits a two-run single in the first inning of the Seagulls’ 13-7 victory over the Cascade Bruins on Friday at Lincoln Field. (Aaron Coe / The Herald)
    Everett breaks out the bats to beat crosstown rival Cascade

    The Seagulls pound out 17 hits in a 13-7 softball victory over the Bruins.

    Prep roundup for Friday, April 19

    Prep roundup for Friday, April 19: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

    Silvertips swept out of playoffs by Portland

    Everett’s season comes to an end with a 5-0 loss in Game 4; big changes are ahead in the offseason.

    FILE - Seattle Seahawks NFL football offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb speaks to reporters during an introductory press conference, on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2024, in Renton. Seattle has seven picks entering this year’s draft, beginning with No. 16 overall in the first round. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear, File)
    A new era arrives for Seahawks entering 2024 NFL draft

    Even with John Schneider still in charge, the dynamic changes with Pete Carroll gone.

    The Seattle Storm's new performance center is seen in Seattle on Thursday, April 18, 2024. (Erika Schultz/The Seattle Times via AP)
    Storm become 2nd WNBA team to open own practice facility

    Seattle debuted its new facility in the Interbay neighborhood Thursday.

    Shorewood’s Netan Ghebreamlak prepares to take a shot as Edmonds-Woodway’s Kincaid Sund defends in the Warriors’ 2-1 victory Wednesday night at Shoreline Stadium. (Aaron Coe / The Herald)
    E-W weathers Shorewood’s storm in battle of soccer unbeatens

    Alex Plumis’ 72nd-minute goal completed the comeback as the Warriors topped the Stormrays.

    Seattle Seahawks new NFL football head coach Mike Macdonald speaks during an introductory press conference, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
    New coach Macdonald wants his Seahawks to forge own legacy

    The pictures of iconic moments from the Pete Carroll era have been removed from Seattle’s training facility.

    Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 17

    Prep roundup for Wednesday, April 17: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

    Glacier Peak’s Karsten Sweum (10) celebrates after a run during a baseball game between Jackson and Glacier Peak at Glacier Peak High School on Tuesday, April 16, 2024 in Snohomish, Washington. Glacier Peak won, 5-3. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
    Glacier Peak baseball blanks Jackson, 3-0

    Karsten Sweum’s home run and 14 strikeouts helps the Grizzlies past the Timberwolves.

    The Herald's Athlete of the Week poll.
    Vote for The Herald’s Prep Athlete of the Week for April 8-14

    The Athlete of the Week nominees for April 8-14. Voting closes at… Continue reading

    The Winnipeg Jets’ Nikolaj Ehlers (27) scores on Seattle Kraken goaltender Philipp Grubauer (31) during the second period of their game Tuesday in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Fred Greenslade/The Canadian Press via AP)
    Kraken need to consider effort levels when building roster

    With a playoff-less season winding down, Seattle’s players are auditioning for next season.

    Prep roundup for Thursday, April 18

    Prep roundup for Thursday, April 18: (Note for coaches/scorekeepers: To report results… Continue reading

    Support local journalism

    If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.