Kaufmann’s Fly Shops Close

UPDATE APRIL 28, 2011, 12:10 P.M. The Oregonian has a big story on the closure today. It states:

Lance Kaufmann, owner of Kaufmann’s Streamborn of Tigard, plans to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection for his 42-year-old fly fishing outfitter next week, according to the company’s lawyer.

Plans are to liquidate and permanently close the store, said Matthew Arbaugh of the Portland firm Field Jerger.

Arbaugh said that he expects to meet with the Tigard store’s landlord today to set a time to open the store so that customers may pick up gear that they had dropped off for repairs. Anyone who has merchandise at Kaufmann’s or has paid for gear or services they haven’t received should call Arbaugh at 503-228-9115.

Twenty years ago now a friend and I spent a fair amount of time rifling through the goods at Kaufmann’s Streamborn in Overlake.

We were flyrodders then, and we would putter over there to size up the sticks, ogle the waders and jackets, and dream about the fish we’d catch with their fine flies.

Greg was there primarily to buy tying supplies. He made Careys, Woolly Buggers and other patterns and we tried them out on the local trout.

If I correctly recall those bygone days, we both got on the fly kick at about the same time, in high school, right before the whole A River Runs Through It craze, and it lasted through college and a few years afterwards.

We hit the usual suspects — Lenore, Rocky Ford, Grimes and then some.

The biggest smallmouth I’ve ever caught actually bit a hopper pattern, fished a mile or so above The Narrows on the Ronde. It became the fodder for an epic fly fishing novel … that has slumbered for the past 10 years in a box.

Kaufmann’s was a cool store, though one time there was some stickiness with management when I tried to swap a pair of studded wading boots that didn’t fit afield as well as they did in the shop.

Since then I returned to gear fishing — though I still incorporate flies — and the Overlake shop (it’s at the south end of Bellevue, Wash.) closed a couple years ago.

Now it appears as if Kaufmann’s other two locations — Tigard and Seattle — have shuttered their doors as well, unexpectedly.

The mail’s said to be piling up at their store here in the Emerald City.

It’s being discussed on several fishing boards around the region before and since The Oregonian did a short blurb about it last Friday.

What happened? Good question. Kaufmann’s Web portals don’t yield any clues.

Their home page and Facebook page are disabled, and the latest posts on their Twitter and blog pages is April 8.

It reads “It’s Time to Get out & Go Fishing!”

As one of the 30 or so folks who lost their jobs when one longtime Northwest fishing and hunting icon went under in mid-2008, it’s a sad business to see the loss of another.

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