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As It Was: Frank Colvin Makes Fishing a Lifetime Endeavor

Frank Colvin once said, “If I could be remembered for anything, it would be fishing.”

Born in 1882, Colvin grew up on Hunter Creek near Gold Beach on the Southern Oregon Coast.  His passion for fishing became a lifetime endeavor.

Colvin never attended school, but learned to read, write and do arithmetic from neighboring homesteaders.  As a young man, Colvin delivered mail by horseback, worked as a cook, timber faller, hatchery hand, and rancher.

In 1921, he purchased the Gold Beach Confectionary.  As sport fishing grew popular on the Rogue River, he converted the shop into the F.D. Colvin Sporting Goods store.

He gained a reputation as a skilled fisherman and designer of artificial fly patterns, including the popular “Rogue River Special.”  He won many prizes in national fishing contests, and numerous publications ran articles on his expertise.

In 1949, the confectionary building was torn down to accommodate a highway, but Colvin continued operating from other locations until his final days, sharing many stories of “the one that got away.”

Sources: Excerpts from the Curry County Echoes. Vol. 1, Gold Beach, Ore., Curry County Historical Society Press, 1978, 2 vols; Schroeder, Walt G. They Found Gold on the Beach. Gold Beach, Ore., Curry Historical Society Press, 1999; Schroeder, Walt G. Characters, Legends and Mysteries of Curry County, Ore., Curry Historical Society, 2007; Shewey, John. Steelhead Ties. Portland, Ore., Frank Amato Publications, 2006.

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Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.