Retired fishing guide brings expertise to Santaís Hardware

Retired fishing guide Jerry Nolan, a recent addition to the staff at Santa's Hardware in Christmas Valley, is developing a fully stocked fishing section at the store

Ever-expanding to meet the needs of north Lake County residents, Santaís General Store more commonly known as Santaís or Santaís Hardware in Christmas Valley (CV) has grown from a very basic hardware store to one busting at the seams. A sort of one-stop-shop, over the last 12 years manager John Widenoja has orchestrated the addition of everything from a paint mix machine, to seedling plants, clothing, kitchen wares, nuts, bolts, tools, gift items and now a line of fishing supplies targeting the catch in Lake County. The new fishing section items have been selected by employee Jerry Nolan, a retired fishing guide, who recently joined the storeís staff.

Roseburg transplants to CV since July of 2019, one of the reasons Nolan and his wife Anita (also a fishing enthusiast) chose Christmas Valley as their retirement community was for the fishing. The couple had been coming to CV for the last four years and found the community and the fishing in the county to be the right combination for them.

ìI started fishing at six years of age,î said Nolan, ìriding my bike all over the country outside of Vancouver, WA, and I would fish the lakes and little streams. Most of my techniques I developed myself, but for the salmon and steelhead fishing there were some relatives and friends who helped me get startedÖthen I developed my own techniques over time.î

As a guide for 15 years Nolan lead trips on the Wilson River out of Tillamook, the Lewis and Washougal rivers between Vancouver and Washington and up to Longview and Camas ñ also in Washington. ìThat doesnít count my own fishing,î said Nolan, ìand by the way, my wife is pretty handy at fishing too ñ she like to fish trout.î In addition to having been a guide, Nolan is a retired logger who worked in western Oregon and California for 18 years and feels a certain ìfitî into the culture of Lake County.

The Nolanís bank-fish and out of their 14-foot Klamath aluminum boat, which they also use for duck and goose hunting. They have found the fishing in Lake County to be exhilarating as the fish are more challenging than in the western part of the state.

ìSo far we have fished Anna Reservoir, Thompson Reservoir, and Duncan Reservoir,î said Nolan. ìIím excited to fish here in that the trout here are so much bigger and a lot feistier here.î

Nolan said the new section at Santaís will ìhave what is needed in one place so that people donít have to go to Bend ñ that is a big plus for CV.î

The opening stock for the fishing gear section has all the basics someone might need to fish trout ìWe have purchased fishing poles, lake trolling gear, bobblers, line, weights, hooks, some lures, power bait and eggs, worms and nightcrawlers,î said Nolan, ìand a lot of miscellaneous fishing supplies which we will add to as we go. This is all proven stuff that I personally use, that I know works for trout.î

The poles are 10-pound rated Shakespeare six-foot graphite rods which pull in half for easy packing and are equipped Stern line. ìThe reel handles can be switched for left or right-hand cranking,î said Nolan. ìThey are a nice-looking, good and durable reel that I have used for the last 20 years.î

Plans for the future of the fishing supply section include adding supplies for bass fishing, and a Sunday clinic during which Nolan will teach techniques for using the gear.

Working Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nolan spends his free time combining catch-and-release fishing with retaining just enough to eat or share with friend.

For more information call Santaís at 541-576-2999.

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