Man reels in thousands of pounds of metal from Spokane River using magnet

A Spokane man is using a magnet and rope to reel in thousands of pounds of metal from the Spokane River.

For Paul Swanson, the catch of the day is different every day.

“Firearms, jewelry boxes, nails from ’59, just amazing stuff,” Swanson said.

Swanson spends hours casting a magnet attached to a rope into the Spokane River. Sometimes he fishes off the new footbridge in Riverfront Park.

Man reels in thousands of pounds of metal from Spokane River using magnet

He found magnet fishing online when his multiple sclerosis started to steal part of his body away from him. Swanson was forced to stop fishing with bait and a hook, but he found a magnet does the job just fine.

He’s branded his endeavor H2O Magnet Fortunes and bought his first magnet from Brute Magnetics, a company he now works for.

“It’s time that we pay attention to the river and it’s fun. You can find things,” Swanson said. “It’s a treasure hunt every time.”

Swanson filled a small workshop behind his house with his finds.

Man reels in thousands of pounds of metal from Spokane River using magnet

Some of the more unusual pieces, like a sword from Expo ’74 and an old wagon wheel, are destined for art pieces. He’s sold a few of the sculptures, but ends up giving them away a lot, too.

“Absolutely, one man’s junk is definitely another man’s treasure,” Swanson said.

The rest of the scraps go to Pacific Steel for recycling.

He said in just three months, he collected 1,550 pounds for recycling. He went on to say that he donated the money he got from recent recycling projects to Toys for Tots.

Man reels in thousands of pounds of metal from Spokane River using magnet

Swanson has an even bigger goal now.

“We’re gonna see if we can get 5,000 pounds this year,” Swanson said.

He wants to donate the money he gets recycling that to the non-profit called Gabe Tough.

It’s a new endeavor that helps families with autistic children. Swanson started Gabe Tough, named in honor of his five-year-old son who has autism.

It’s for all those reasons that Swanson is hooked on magnet fishing and dreams of a day when more people are fishing for the future.

“We can change everything. We have a chance to fix it,” Swanson. “We have a chance to get stuff out to really make our waterways what we’re after.”

Swanson said anyone can purchase magnet fishing kits from Brute Magnetics. Starter kits are about $80.

Man reels in thousands of pounds of metal from Spokane River using magnet

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