Our site along the Au Sable River is at the very heart of fly fishing in Northern Michigan. It was first conveyed by a Presidential land patent in 1872. From then to 1936 it changed hands five times. With the 1936 conveyance, to William Huddleston our site began its exclusive use as a fly fishing outfitter. It was “Sailor Bill Huddleston” and his “Sailors Fly Factory” that began the tradition that we continue today.
Greetings from the Au Sable River. Our landmark site is located at the river bridge on the I-75 business loop in Grayling Michigan. We're located near Northern Michigan's main highway interchanges making it likely that you've driven by our digs many times. Please stop by and visit on your next trip through town.
Our building rests just a few feet from the river and was built to it's current configuration in the mid 1940's. Its location is one of historic significance in Northern Michigan. It was here that Michigan Native Americans portaged from the Au Sable to the Manistee River to traverse Michigan from east to west and west to east by canoe. It was also here that early Grayling fishing guides began using the famous Au Sable riverboat to float 19th century sportsmen down the river in search of native Brook Trout and the Michigan Grayling, a member of the Char family, from which the town takes its name.
It was near here that Indian Chief David Shoppenagon, one of the earliest fishing and hunting guides in Northern Michigan, had a cabin. There's a Michigan Historical Marker dedicated to the Chief just outside our door. He died on Christmas day in 1911 at the age of 103.
TESTAMENT OF A FISHERMAN
BY: JOHN D. VOELKER 1903 - 1991
"I fish because I love to; because I love the environs that trout are found, which are invariably beautiful, and hate the environs where crowds of people are found, which are invariably ugly;
because of all the television commercials, cocktail parties and assorted social posturing I thus escape;
because, in a world where most men spend their lives doing things they hate, my fishing is at once an endless source of delight and an act of small rebellion;
because trout do not lie or cheat and cannot be bought or bribed or impressed by power, but respond only to quietude and humility and endless patience;
because I suspect that men are going along this way for the last time, and I for one don’t want to waste the trip;
because mercifully there are no telephones on trout waters;
because only in the woods can I find solitude without loneliness;
because bourbon out of an old tin cup tastes better out there;
because maybe someday I will catch a mermaid;
and, finally, not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many other concerns of men are equally unimportant -- and not nearly so much fun"