This grassroots organization began as a concept, a meeting of minds and the design to preserve and protect our cold water fisheries for future generations. The name "Anglers of the Au Sable" is a little misleading. This organization is not just about fishing but conservation, it is about preserving the pristine waters that are enjoyed by all. Ensuring that our children and grandchildren can expect to use the same resources we use today for our recreation, in the same if not better condition. Please join us in our journey!
- September 13, 1986 - Six anglers—Rusty Gates, Dan Drislane, Ed McGlinn, Dennis Potter, Vic Prislipski and Gene Ballou—meet in the dining room at Gates Au Sable Lodge to organize the first meeting of a new conservation organization.
- January 18, 1987 - Thirteen anglers meet at Dan Drislane's offices in Farmington Hills to establish what all present agreed to call the "Anglers of the AuSable." An interim board and officers are established and bylaws and a mission statement are drafted. The mission statement is: "To preserve, protect and enhance the Au Sable River System for future generations of fly fishers." A mailing to hundreds of prospective members goes out announcing the formation of the organization and inviting them to join. Over six hundred people join in the esuing six months. Members come from 21 states and four countries..
- February 1987 - Anglers affiliate with Federation of Fly Fishers (FFF). The Natural Rivers Act goes into effect.
- March 15, 1987 - The Anglers publishes its first newsletter, a six page flier, Au Sable News & Notes, edited by Jim Enger. News & Notes is the major vehicle for recruiting new members to the fledgling organization.
- August 1, 1987 - The first annual membership meeting is held in Gaylord due to Grayling businesses opposing catch and release; 75 of the now 670 members attend the meeting. Glen Sheppard of the North Woods Call and Dan Alstott of the Au Sable-Manistee Action Council are guest speakers.
- November 1987 – Membership tops 790, making the Anglers the largest FFF Chapter and winning numerous membership incentive awards.
- October 1988 - Anglers retire Au Sable News & Notes and introduce The RIVERWATCH.
- October 1989 - Anglers join American Rivers Foundation as an affiliate.