Joe Wilsco, left and Vern Habenicht, right with their catch after fishing the Green River
Once upon a time, steelhead were plentiful in local rivers, with a yearly limit of 60 fish and a daily limit of three per person per day. Shown here are Joe Wilsco, left and Vern Habenicht, right with their catch after fishing the Green River. Both men were from Ravensdale and fished together from the mid-1940s through the early 1950s. Using bamboo rods and Akron or Winona fishing reels they caught these six steelhead with fresh eggs, or sometimes, homemade, pink-colored, golf-tee spinners, the rage at the time. Habenicht was born in 1902 and raised in Ravensdale. His first job was in 1920, working at a recently opened Ravensdale mine, where had ceased five years following a deadly explosion which claimed 31 lives. Habenicht later worked in the woods as a logger. Eventually he found employment with the Seattle Water Department, a career that lasted over 40 years before retirement. Wilsco was born in 1911 and found employment at age 19 at Ravensdale’s Dale coal mine owned by the Northwest Improvement Company. Wilsco later went to work for Palmer Coking Coal Company in 1952, working another 20 years before retiring in 1972, having labored over 42 years in coal mining. Next week, more about Joe Wilsco’s life, as a coal miner. This photo comes courtesy of Gary Habenicht, a life-long Ravensdale resident and son of the above pictured Vern.