MGFTU Accomplishments

With the inception of Trout Unlimited on the banks of the Au Sable River in 1959, Mason-Griffith Founders Chapter of Trout Unlimited (MGFTU) has been a proud contributing member of the Au Sable and Manistee River communities.  During the past three years MGFTU volunteers have contributed nearly 9,000 volunteer hours and has raised over $400,000.00 in grants, contributions, and donations to improve our treasured Au Sable and Manistee Rivers and to better the Grayling Community.  The following are some of the accomplishments of MGFTU:

  • Refurbished and constructed over 1,200 fish habitat improvement structures on the Mainstream of the Au Sable.
  • Taken the initiative and assisted other river groups including the DNR in the repair and maintenance of over a dozen access sites on the Au Sable and Manistee Rivers.
  • Conducted or assisted with the habitat mapping of over 10 miles of the North Branch Au Sable and Mainstream Au Sable Rivers.
  • Conducted spring and fall Mi Corp benthic macro invertebrate studies on two locations of the headwaters of the Au Sable River and two locations on the West Branch of Big Creek.
  • Conducted fall trout spawning surveys (REDD surveys) on the Headwaters, Mainstream and South Branch of the Au Sable River.
  • Conducted and assisted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Fish Division with fish population survey on the mainstream of the Au Sable River.
  • Monitored water temperatures in the Headwaters, Mainstream, South and East Branches of the Au Sable and their tributaries for multiple years.
  • Monitored water quality on the East Branch of the Au Sable River.
  • Participated in the control of the invasive species Purple Loosestrife.
  • Participated in the Cedars for the Au Sable program by building cages and planting cedar trees in the Deward Tract on the Upper Manistee River.  Also, nurtured previously planted cedar trees at five Au Sable River access sites:  Burton’s Landing, Louie’s Landing, Keystone, Thendara and Townline road ends. 
  • Sponsored and participated in youth programs including Trout in the Classroom project at the Grayling Middle School. Held an 8-week Middle School Fly Tying Class and assisted with the Middle School Fishing Club.  MGFTU sent two youth to the Michigan TU Youth Camp and along with partners send a youth to Trout Unlimited Youth Summit in NC.
  • Participated in the MITU and Illinois Youth Trout Camps and provided an opportunity for the youth to learn about a river restoration projects and obtain hands on experience. MGFTU members volunteered riverboat trips for the youth
  • Conducted an eight (8) week fly tying class attended by community members.  The instructor and all assistants were MGFTU BOD members.  Also conducted two free fly fishing schools at Gates Lodge in Grayling.
  • Worked with wounded veterans through Bamboo Bend.  Bamboo Bend brings six (6)  veterans identified through Project Healing Waters to Grayling in May to build a bamboo fly rod and to be able to share experiences whether making a rod, fishing, or just swapping stories.  There are members of MGFTU that serve as instructors for this class.  Other MGFTU members would stop for an hour or two just to meet these veterans and make them feel welcome.  These veterans were afforded opportunities to fish out of an Au Sable Riverboat or a drift boat and many of the volunteers for these fishing opportunities were MGFTU members.  At the end of the week of building a bamboo rod, fishing and enjoying Northern Michigan, there was a celebration that was attended by both members of MGFTU and others from the fly fishing community

A few of the grants received from the MDNR Habitat Improvement Account for stream restoration projects on the Au Sable River system are:

  • Williams Tract Fisheries Habitat Improvement Project (2013-2014)
  • Pollack Bridge Fisheries Habitat Improvement Project (2015-2016)
  • Mainstream Fisheries Habitat Structure Repair  (2013-2015)
  • West Branch of Big Creek – Lovells Fisheries Habitat Improvement Project  (2016)

MGFTU has partnered with many organizations in these projects including:  the Upper Manistee River Association; Au Sable River Property Owners Association; the Au Sable North Branch Area Foundation; Michigan Trout Unlimited; Michigan DNR; Au Sable River Watershed Committee; Gahagan Nature Preserve; Anglers of the Au Sable; Headwaters Chapter of TU; the Great Lakes Council of IFFF; Perrin-Lansing Chapter of TU and Friends of the Mason Tract.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to these and future efforts visit our website:

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