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MailTribune.com
  • Sentimental Journey

    Oregon fly-fisher and World War II veteran Frank Moore will fish the streams of Normandy for documentary
  • Nearly a month after joining the D-Day invasion at Utah Beach, a young and battle-tested Sgt. Frank Moore was riding in the back of a U.S. Army half-track in a dusty convoy out of the newly liberated French province of Normandy when the fly-fisher in him abruptly overtook the soldier.
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      To view a short trailer of the planned documentary about North Umpqua fly-fisher Frank Moore's upcoming trip to fish the rivers of France, see https://vimeo.com/56064055.
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      More online
      To view a short trailer of the planned documentary about North Umpqua fly-fisher Frank Moore's upcoming trip to fish the rivers of France, see https://vimeo.com/56064055.
  • Nearly a month after joining the D-Day invasion at Utah Beach, a young and battle-tested Sgt. Frank Moore was riding in the back of a U.S. Army half-track in a dusty convoy out of the newly liberated French province of Normandy when the fly-fisher in him abruptly overtook the soldier.
    Riding across a bridge, he leaned against one of the half-track's 50-caliber guns to peer into the stream beneath — like any rubbernecking angler worth his fly box would do — and he spied a freshly caught Atlantic salmon hanging on a hook next to the stream.
    "It had to be 25 pounds, and there was a fly rod next to it," Moore recalls. "I thought, gee, it would be great to fish that stream, but we couldn't slow down. We had a job to do."
    Now Moore is heading back to Normandy, armed this time with a fly rod and in the company of a film crew to document the return of Oregon's most famous fly-fisher and one of America's most recognized conservationists to his World War II haunts.
    Moore will fly-fish some of the streams he saw in France when he was a soldier 69 years ago, and he will visit some of the residents he helped liberate, fulfilling long-held goals for this 90-year-old fixture of the North Umpqua River.
    The journey will include Jeanne, his wife of 70 years, and his son Frankie Moore.
    And Moore will carry in his mind thoughts of his fellow soldiers who crossed those same streams — and many who didn't make it that far.
    "So many of those kids didn't make it the first few minutes, and here I am," Moore says from his cabin in Idleyld Park east of Roseburg. "I don't know how I can have received so many blessings throughout my life.
    "This trip will be one of them," he adds.
    The trip is the brainchild of John Waller, a Drain High School graduate and co-owner of Uncage the Soul Video Productions in Portland.
    He filmed two shows last summer about Moore and his storied life that aired on Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Oregon Field Guide" and "Travel Oregon" shows. Moore, the founder of the Steamboat Inn and a storied wild fish conservationist, was inducted three years ago into the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame, and he still wades nimbly and casts smoothly and accurately on the North Umpqua.
    Moore carries Oregon fishing license No. 4 and has spent decades helping put fly-fishing actors, athletes and politicians on wild steelhead, while instilling a conservation ethic in three generations worth of anglers.
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