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There has never been a middle of the road with Rusty, people either liked him or not. Regardless, no one can challange his devotion to protecting the AuSable river system. He was passionate and relentless in his advocacy for the AuSable river and its watershed. Spring will arrive with familier faces behind the counter at Gates AuSable Lodge but Rusty's shoes may never been filled.

Good speed, Rusty.
 

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Just an amazing man. Many times been in the shop with my young son and Rusty would engage him in conversation and teach him something about the sport or direct us to a spot of his that he knew he would be able to wade and catch fish. Really will be missed.
 

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I've stayed at his lodge several times. The first time I stayed there I needed someone to spot me upstream in the evening so I could wade back downstream to the lodge. I went to the shop when it was time and asked for a spot. A guy in the shop took me right away in his pickup. Had some conversation with him on the way and he was a real down-to-earth guy. When he had pulled me up to the drop-off, I asked him what his name was. "Rusty" he said. I felt really dumb that I didn't know who he was. He was not offended.
 

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Rusty was one of the good ones. He will be missed.
 

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Rusty always took the time to give of himself, whether in the shop or on the stream. Was floating a number of years ago a night and rounded a bend and there was Rusty. He bummed a beer for him and his buddy, and gave us a fly in exchange. Still have it. Never felt he was selling me something when I went in the shop or stayed at the lodge. Always bought something though....
 

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Living in MO I did not have the chance to interact with Rusty as a lot of you may have, I first met him in 1982 or 83 my first trip to the Ausable. I knew nothing of trout fishing in MI and he gave me a few pointers and then saw him occasionally throughout the years when I could get away form my inlaws in Port Huron. The last time I spoke with Rusty was five years ago tring to catch the Hex hatch with my then 10 year old son. We had a talk about what a living legend in his field was and how Rusty was the epitomy of it. He will sorely be missed in the north country. God Bless his family through these difficult times. Imagine heaven for Rusty: a perfect drift every cast, with hovering brown drakes ready to fall, while waiting for darkness and the clouds of Hex flies that follow, to share with his friends and family already there and yet to come on the perfect river that God created for him to share, Truly the Holy Waters.
 

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Okay, Rusty did alot of Good, but the tributes, comparisons, and showing him along with the like of Rube Babbit, Jay Stephan, Earl Madsin, Herb Stephan, Bernie Fowler.....Jim Wakely, Norval Stephan, Lacey Stephan, Charlie or Don Feldhauser, and countless others.and the Real river men....Come On....Glad most aren't alive to see this.....
Maybe he changed from the Rusty I knew 20-30 years ago....
But i can sum it up like this........NO KILL, No Possesion in my area, but come on down to the diner, and I'll sell Ya One....
Maybe he changed, I don't know....
 

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:sad: come on... this is just a post remembering him and people reflecting their memories of the man, please don't ruin it. Yes, Rube Babbit, the Stephen's, Mason, Young, etc. were great people who did do a LOT of great in their time. but you know what? they are gone and not of this generation/time period and Rusty was the best friend this river has had in years since all those legends days, almost a legend of his day to many... lets just try and keep this a post in rememberence of a man who did a lot of good for the river.
 

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:sad: come on... this is just a post remembering him and people reflecting their memories of the man, please don't ruin it. Yes, Rube Babbit, the Stephen's, Mason, Young, etc. were great people who did do a LOT of great in their time. but you know what? they are gone and not of this generation/time period and Rusty was the best friend this river has had in years since all those legends days, almost a legend of his day to many... lets just try and keep this a post in rememberence of a man who did a lot of good for the river.
:yeahthat:Very well put streamertosser!!!
 

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showing him along with the like of Rube Babbit, Jay Stephan, Earl Madsin, Herb Stephan, Bernie Fowler.....Jim Wakely, Norval Stephan, Lacey Stephan, Charlie or Don Feldhauser, and countless others.and the Real river men....Come On....Glad most aren't alive to see this.....
The one thing all of these people have in common is that they were all stewards of the river. Many of them made a living from the river from guiding or boat building or fly tying. Rusty was no different. He was just another in a long line of "river men".

You may not agree with his position, or you may not like him, but there's no doubt that he is a part of the history of the river just like all those mentioned. If those people were alive today, I would bet that many of them would be happy with the the way things are going.
 

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B stopper is right, what did Rusty do during his short life here do for the river except for making a stretch of river a b.s. flies only c & r!!??
hmmmmm how bout stopped a huge portion of the Mason Tract from being stripped and plowed over to make way for an "exploritory" gas well or organizing an annual river clean up or fighting a company to
stop discharging waste treatment water into the headwaters (kolke creek) into the ausable or starting the state to look into the perry creek contamination site. yep he has done nothing like the guys he mentioned in his post.
 

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Okay, Rusty did alot of Good, but the tributes, comparisons, and showing him along with the like of Rube Babbit, Jay Stephan, Earl Madsin, Herb Stephan, Bernie Fowler.....Jim Wakely, Norval Stephan, Lacey Stephan, Charlie or Don Feldhauser, and countless others.and the Real river men....Come On....Glad most aren't alive to see this.....
Maybe he changed from the Rusty I knew 20-30 years ago....
But i can sum it up like this........NO KILL, No Possesion in my area, but come on down to the diner, and I'll sell Ya One....
Maybe he changed, I don't know....

Well imo your wrong--Rusty does rank up their with all of the above--and more--
 

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Well imo your wrong--Rusty does rank up their with all of the above--and more--
I totally agree!! 2 other guys that were not mentioned were George Griffith and George Mason. Gates, Griffith, and Mason are the 3 men
we all should thank for protecting the Ausable River Valley!!
 
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