Please watch this very well done video on the fish farm.

Click the title to be taken to the video.

Riverkeepers: It’s Not a Hatchery — It’s a Fish Farm

Built in 1914 and closed by the DNR in the 1960s, the Grayling Fish Hatchery existed as a quaint tourist attraction in Grayling — until recently when state officials granted a permit allowing Harrietta Hills Trout Farm to raise 300,000 pounds of fish annually. Reaction in river country came swiftly.

Joseph Hemming, attorney for the Anglers of the AuSable, says the group sees potential damage done by the fish farm’s release of fish waste and uneaten food as the biggest threat ever faced by the AuSable River. Anglers of the AuSable and the Sierra Club have filed appeals to the permit. AOTA intends to establish baseline numbers as it installs water quality monitors upstream and downstream from the old Hatchery.

In this video, Hemming, along with David Smith, of the AuSable River Property Owner’s Association; Josh Greenberg, of Gates AuSable Lodge; and Andy Partlo, co-owner of the Old AuSable Fly Shop, discuss the issues around the potential damage to one of the country’s top recreational rivers in this video.

For a deeper dive into the issues, listen to the 35-minute Trout Radio segment on the Home Page as the four interviewees state the case for anglers, boaters, property and business owners who treasure a healthy river.

Fish Farm court case is heating up. Latest update from Joe Hemming, AOTA first VP


As you know, Anglers is totally committed to contesting the permit as issued to Dan Vogler and Harrietta Hills Trout Farm to operate and raise 300,000 pounds of fish in the old Grayling Fish Hatchery.  As a non-profit organization, so dependent on its membership, it is obviously critical that we keep our membership apprised of the status of the fish farm litigation.

A second pre-hearing phone conference was conducted with the Administrative Law Judge on September 29.  At that time, the dates for the contested hearing regarding the permit were scheduled.  The Judge has scheduled this hearing to take place in Lansing on February 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, the 24th and 25th  — seven hearing dates in all.  The hearing will involve many witnesses and experts and yes, lawyers.  The importance of this case cannot be overemphasized.  As many have been quick to point out, this is one of the biggest threats, if not the biggest threat, to the Au Sable River that anyone can remember.

Together with the hearing dates, the Administrative Law Judge scheduled many cutoff dates for motions, responses to motions, listing of legal issues, filing of witness and exhibit lists, etc.  With all the moving parts and scheduling dates and players involved, it is a carefully tuned and choreographed series of events in the court schedule.  The issues are complex, the nstakeholders are passionately committed and the stakes are high.  And yes it is costly.  Anglers has spent over $100,000 to date on contesting this permit and we have yet to walk into a courtroom!  Between the costs of lawyers, various experts,  water studies, records, etc., it is easy to see why this litigation is so expensive.  Going through a court process is a long and often winding process and outcomes are not guaranteed. But one thing you can be assured of is that the Anglers will be there every step of the way.

But we need your help.  Anglers has kicked its fundraising efforts into high gear to help finance this fight.  If you have already given, thank you.  Please consider giving again.  We are nearly to the end of the calendar year, a perfect time for a year-end contribution to our favorite non-profit organization, Anglers of the Au Sable.  Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are right around the corner and a donation to the Anglers for this fish farm fight would be the perfect gift for your fly-fishing friend, partner or loved one.  Again, thank you for all of your assistance. Anglers will continue to keep you updated.