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HAROLD GASTON

Niland, West Shore

Working first for the US Forest Service,
Harold eventually retired and opened a cafe
in the desert town of Banning in 1934.
Throughout the '30's, he would come down to
the Salton Sea to troll for mullet, and get
paid for every school that he located. In 1951, he witnessed the first introduction of salt water fish from the Sea of Cortez. However, when the freeway switched routes and bypassed his cafe, Harold moved his restaurant south to Niland in 1956.

In search of the newly introduced sport fish, Harold caught the first two limits of fish from the Salton Sea at a military target off Bombay Beach in 1957. Through his contacts with sports journalists in Southern California, Harold spread the word about the Salton Sea, and by 1960, fishermen by the thousands were dining at Gaston's Cafe.

Harold also hosted a fishing show on TV produced by the Chrysler Corporation, took John Wayne fishing, and opened a successful mudsucker bait shop in Indio. He was also an avid hunter and boat racer.

Mr. and Mrs. Gaston finally closed Gaston's Cafe on December 30th, 1999 and after a long adventurous life, Mr. Gaston passed away in 2005 at the age of 96.