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Fishing For Metal In Eugene & Springfield Waters

Melorie Begay/KLCC News


A local hobbyist is helping clean up rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water in the Eugene and Springfield area, one catch at a time.

On a breezy Sunday afternoon Alex Bryan stumbles up a flood plain next to Fir Butte Road just outside of Eugene. He’s carrying something heavy he fished out of Amazon Creek using a magnet and some rope.

“It is literally a safe, I cannot believe this," Brian said. "Normally what we find is like rebar and like bottle caps and things and like tent poles.”


Credit Melorie Begay/KLCC News
Alex Bryan looks at some pieces of metal next to a safe he pulled out of Amazon Creek. Safe's aren't an unusual find in the broader magnet fishing community Bryan said, but this is the first time he's found one.



Bryan said he usually takes his findings to a scrap yard. He estimates the safe will net him about $1. For Bryan though it’s not about the money, it’s about the chase-- while also clearing what he can from the water.

“I also feel like environmental problems are so big and complicated and really overwhelming," he said. "I’m not going to solve global warming you know, but I feel good doing this so I can do my little part."

Bryan got into magnet fishing at the start of the pandemic last year. He said the hobby is easy to pick up and is more about patience than skill. It's also inexpensive to get started, he said, it costs around $15 to buy supplies online.

Fishing with a magnet is fairly simple, according to Bryan. You attatch a rope to a magnet, find something shiny in the water, aim, then toss the line in and hope you catch onto something.

"It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the magnitude of the environmental problems in the world," Bryan said, "this is a simple way to just do something about it.”

Since starting, Bryan said he's been to 30 different spots around the Eugene and Springfield area. He started a group called Helping the Environment and Acquiring Treasure, or HEAT. They have a Discord and a Facebook group to meet others who share his hobby and most Sundays they go out fishing together. He said anyone is welcome to join.

Copyright 2021 KLCC

Melorie Begay is a multimedia journalist for KLCC News. She was the Inaugural KLCC Public Radio Foundation Journalism Fellow. She has a bachelors in Multimedia Journalism from the University of New Mexico. She previously interned at KUNM public radio in Albuquerque, NM and served as a fellow for the online news publication New Mexico In Depth.