T.F.M. Pages

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Graywolf Rods Acquires Steffen Brothers Fly Rods

Fifteen years ago when I started to mess around with fiberglass fly rods, Steffen Brothers Fly Rods was one of just a handful of custom rod builders that I was aware of and Mark Steffen was in an even smaller group of makers who were rolling their own blanks.  He's long had a reputation for making some of the straightest and most consistently perfect graphite and fiberglass blanks being made.

During my routine check-ins with different rod builders over the years, I'd give Mark Steffen a call to see how things are going?  He's always been fun to talk with and he's been hinting for awhile that he was getting ready to hang it up.  He's rolled blanks and built fly rods for more than forty years and he and his brother, Tim, have been slowing down on taking new orders with some uncertainty on what was next.

I've brought up the idea of him taking on an apprentice or teaching someone the "Steffen Way" in the past but he'd usually blow that off with a chuckle saying that he really didn't know that much and when he was done, he'd likely just shut the door to the shop.  

That didn't seem like the right way for the Steffen Brothers story to end and I am excited to share that Graywolf Rods has acquired the rod company and Shane's working on what he needs to do to begin rolling blanks soon in Michigan instead of Arizona.  

 Shane emailed me this morning and I've cut and pasted his words below to share his news.

Shane wrote...  "After several years of dreaming, and yes even daydreaming, of not only building Steffen Brothers fly rods but also rolling their blanks...my dream has finally come true.

Many months were spent trading phone calls and emails with Mark and Tim Steffen before I made the journey out to their shop a few weeks ago.  I spent several days in Flagstaff working with them in learning the ropes as to how these iconic rods and blanks are made.  I must say these folks are the most hospitable, kind, and just down to earth people I've ever met.  I had a great time in their small backyard rod shop cutting, rolling, and taping these amazing brown fiberglass rod blanks.  
Once they felt like I was getting the hang of how rolling these blanks are done, we carefully loaded everything up in a large U-Haul truck, and I made the twenty-six-hour trip back to Michigan.
I am proud to say that I am now the owner of this classic rod company and I am looking forward to rolling these blanks in my Britton, Michigan rod shop for the next 40 years.  
Soon I will be able to offer Steffen Brothers blanks and finished rods to anyone who is interested.  In the meantime, I have a small stock of blanks at the moment and we're working extra hard to finish the rod shop that I started last year to house all the Steffen Brothers rolling equipment. 
I feel the acquisition of the Steffen Brother's brand, which included their graphite and fiberglass mandrels, blank patterns and tapers, and rolls of blank-making materials.  I believe that I will be able to make both my Graywolf Rods and Trout Smith's branded fly rods even better in time as well.

I look forward to continuing to build on the Steffen Brothers legacy of excellence for many years to come."
Visit the Graywolf Rods website and be sure to follow along on Facebook and Instagram for the latest shop news, some of which will be updates of Steffen Brothers blanks being rolled.

Postscript...  At some point not too long from now, I hope to get an interview up with Mark Steffen to talk about his career in fly rod building, what retirement looks like, and where he's planning on fly fishing now that he might have some more time on his hands.


  1. This is fantastic news!!! I can't think of a better person to continue the Steffen name. Well done Shane!

  2. Very cool. Steffen Brothers rods are too good not to continue in the hands of a worthy craftsman.

  3. Yes, nicely done, I'd like to build one of them

  4. relieved to hear that Steffen Bros rods are going to stay