Daniel Dean Gapen, Sr., 89 years of age, passed away peacefully on Friday, November 20th, 2021.
Dan was preceded in death by his parents, Betsey and Don Gapen, and his sister, Vaughn Thompson. Dan is survived by his Children, Deborah Gapen, Mitchell Gapen and Sandra Gapen-Dahl. Deceased children are Danette Gapen, Daniel Gapen, Jr. and Walter Scott Gapen. He is the beloved Grandfather of 19 and the Great Grandfather to 38.
He was born April 9, 1932 in Duluth, Minnesota. For the first years of his life Dan was raised in Minnesota's Arrowhead country at the Hungry Jack Lodge on the Gunflint Trail. The family then moved to Nipigon, Ontario, where they began operating the Chalet Bungalow Lodge, a tourist fishing and hunting Camp on the Nipigon River, which at that time was the road's end.
Dan began tying flies under his Father's instruction at the age of 6, including the Muddler® Fly which his Father, Don, created on the shores of the Nipigon River.
Don also taught Dan the art of guiding and river running. Dan was a fishing guide from the age of 14 and then began guiding moose hunters at age 15. The principle fish were the world- famous Brook Trout, Northern Pike, Walleye and Lake Trout.
Dan's Military title in the Army was Specialist Third Class and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. His military service included guiding Military Officials fishing, frog gigging and hunting.
He worked diligently with Congress and Senate Members in the 1970s to instrument legislation to preserve running waters, first in Minnesota for the Mississippi River, then nationally to enact the Wild and Scenic River Bill.
In the late 1960s Dan formed the Gapen Tackle Company and created items such as the Ugly Bug® Jig and the Bait Walker® Sinker. He continually strove to bring to his fishing public lures and products that would genuinely work in catching fish.
He loved to work Sports Shows and visit with his fishing friends and customers, and to give fishing seminars. Dan was the author of many books, both on "How-To" catch fish, and legend/stories. He was contributing writer for many national outdoor magazines and syndicated columns for decades.
Dan co-hosted and was guest on numerous TV shows through the years, and filmed and produced The Sportsman's Channel's "Fishing the World With the Ol' Man and "Bobber" Anne™, alongside Anne Orth, the 30-year employee of the Gapen Company and best friend to Dan. He loved to film underwater video, trying to capture on film fish striking Gapen lures!
Dan was a Father, Grandfather, Cousin, Son, Partner, Brother, Uncle and Friend. To most he was a true Legend, one of the top Anglers and Storytellers of our time, much loved by those who knew him.
Condolences may be expressed by email to the Gapen family at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family and friends are invited to attend a Celebration of Life at the Monticello Community Center at 505 Walnut Street, Monticello, MN 55362 on November 12th, 2021 from 1pm to 4pm . A short memorial and military honors service will be given during this time.
Directions to Monticello Community Center
In lieu of flowers please send any monetary gifts to the Gapen Family at PO Box 10, Big Lake Mn 55309.
A portion of these will be donated to Minnesota Fishing Museum, and The Tunnel to Towers Foundation (the severely disabled Military members program).