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Steve Fraley, BBT
Co-owner & Guide

February 23, 2017

Just a quick addition to the report below while I sit here in Grand Rapids waiting on my wife to get out of surgery. Not too worry, it’s nothing new. They are removing some plates and screws from her arm that got shattered in our auto accident this past May. Were it not for that, I’d most certainly be on the river again!

Game time!

Yesterday was pretty solid for Tom and I. The water was up a bit from the day prior due to some overnight rains, but it wasn’t out of hand by any means. (Perfect conditions in my opinion!) It was actually dropping and clearing a little to more like the day prior by the afternoon, but more precipitation is on the way so we’ll just have to keep an eye on it…

A good gauge for many of you. This was in the am.

First stop had a few Steelhead that actually rolled in the hole while we were there, but only produced a couple of trout for us. After that we pushed down finding the first two of three boats that had put in ahead of us fishing to spawning Steelhead on gravel and the third in hole that I had hoped would be my second stop. ;^) Don’t know if they hit anything in there or not, but we continued to push on downstream admiring the fish we saw out spawning along the way in passing until I stopped again looking for newer fish in the deep.

A couple of cast later… Score!

Tried that spot a little longer to no avail then moved down to a hole that John Robinson and I had kicked a bunch of fish out of last week, but neither him, Johnny Matson or I could touch one in on Tuesday. Apparently they either just weren’t biting at the time when we tried it the day prior it had emptied and then filled again because the action was solid in there for us! Only managed to put one more to hand in that location, but had our share of fun battles…

”Having this much fun shouldn’t be allowed!” I believe was Tom’s quote.

Next hole produced a smaller buck Steelhead that liked to jump allot and it worked out for him as he eventually tossed the fly, next hole nothing and the one after that, the one that Tom said “In all my years of fishing here I’ve never seen a fish caught here” produced a bright new hen from the depths for me within a few cast.

Tight and bright! Just the way we like ‘em…

The weather started turning a little weird after that stop and the woods got quiet as did our bite. Saw a few fish getting hooked off gravel, but I can’t say if those fish were still biting when the hole bite had shut off or, if they happened to be just breathing heavy when a fly went by. Tough to tell sometimes unless they swing over to crush it. We simply never tossed at any to find out yesterday being content with what we had already accomplished in the deep.

In the second to the last stop of the day I lost a heartbreaker! A BIG chrome buck that, unfortunately, we both got a very good look at before it managed to work my fly free and that was to be it for our action. I did see my man Jac Ford and his client releasing a nice chrome fish out of another hole I had hoped to fish not long before my last loss as well. (When I grow up I want to be Jac! Love that guy… ;^)

Anyway, I had some time so I figured why not update again! As I type this I still have tomorrow (Friday) open as well as Monday, Wednesday and beyond for a little while. It looks like the cold weather is returning and I can see the first real cold night or two affecting the bite some with a sudden drop in water temp, but for the most part, these fish, and there are PLENTY of ‘em, will acclimate and bite just fine from here on out thru the spring run. Give us a call and come get in on the fun!! 1-231-745-3529

Tight Lines all,


Well… It got late (After midnight now, but “today” below is in reference to Tuesday!) and I’m going out again tomorrow “fairly” early so I’m going to try and keep it short. (You’ve heard that one before.) Anyway, it’s continued to be pretty fun around here since last report. This warm weather couldn’t have happened at a better time and I’ve been taking advantage of that as much as I can

Work it Rob!

On Saturday I took my friends Jason and Rob out for the day. We decided to run a little lower just to stay out of traffic and accomplished that mission for the most part, (Only hop scotched with a couple other boats) but we had to work for the fish we hooked.

Nice job buddy...

lost more than we landed and saw a few on stringers along the way from some anglers running beads and/or spawn, but most, including those folks, were doing about the same. Ironically, the best first hand report I had from a reliable source was from another friend of mine who did run up high and simply got into a good rotation hitting a couple of spots first and batting cleanup the rest of the day.

Saturday was my wife Karen’s birthday, but we celebrated on Sunday by doing a noon to 4ish float from M-37 to Gleason’s with our girls Tess and Ginger.

Sunday = family fun day!

The weather was beautiful yet again and we caught up with Jason and Rob along with Jason’s pup Buddy and our other friend Jason. My “cast count” was only about 20 at this point, but I had managed to screw up on one Steelhead before the meet.

Tess and Ginger love Buddy!

Lunch time shenanigans.

After Karen, the pups and I took off from the group I did fish one more spot and I put the hurt to the cousin of the fish that made a fool of me earlier before heading home… Cast count for the day, somewhere in the neighborhood of fifty. Quality of the day, off the charts!

Yep! February 19th, hard to believe...

Little cousin paid for big cousins sins. ;^)

Monday rolled around and I just couldn’t bring myself to do anything other than float again. Decided on a solo mission and got in a long section of the mid river at the crack of about 10am… Second stop my bobber (indicator, float, whatever…) dropped hard when a bright fish crushed my glo bug and it was game on for all of about 7 realistic seconds before it took my entire rig to the log jam below it!

After that I got this great idea to go “live” on Facebook for an indicator rigging tutorial (Since I didn’t have anyone else to talk to.) then I got so distracted during the tutorial looking at who all was logging in, commenting and such that I had to re-rig twice to get it right! It was hilarious, but I think I pulled it off in the end, it was fun and I may just try to do more of the same in the near future concentrating more on the task at hand! ;^)

You can find that live session as well as many other live feeds and off the wall updates quite frequently on my personal Facebook page Steven R Fraley.

Ran into some other friends of mine and fellow guides Mike and Kurt after that who were running beads. They had been out since early morning, but at that point they had only hooked one as well. On the next hop scotch I found them landing a skipper having just lost a big one then went “live” again while they fought another that also found a way of avoiding the net.

Moving on, I took the next bend below them, had a great battle with a big bright fresh hen that I simply couldn’t beat on my own before she eventually tossed the fly (A net man would have been handy, could have had her twice with one of those! ;^) then cooked myself up my 5th venison brat river lunch in the past week!

Solo mission lunch time! I know my Argentina crew will approve...

Admittedly, I wasn’t feeling particularly pressured to catch fish and I spent more time on my solo mission goofing off and answering questions and comments on Facebook than I did fishing, but I did touch some good water with some great drifts and after having it handed to me twice by some hot Steelhead I got further insulted by thinking I had hooked a nice brown at first only to find it was a “golden bone” instead!

Insult to injury...

Bottom of the ninth and I’m thinking I should get at least one. Worked hard for it, hooked it, battled it, tripped on a stick chasing it and swam for it, but I got it! If I look a little wet in the second picture I took with a timer it’s because I am! Hahaha… (OK, didn’t really “swim” for it like a river runs thru it, but I did take some in over the waders and soaked my arms…)


Yes, sort of... (Little bastard still got the better of me! ;^)

Got home, saw what the weather was going to be for today and decided I’d be needing a sixth brat lunch! Made a couple of calls and met up with John Robinson and Johnny Matson this morning for what turned into an awesome day catching fish and catching up with the guys and our lives in general…

First stop. John starting us of right!

Johnny followed suit.

Put me in coach!

The water was up a little with a great stain from the rain overnight, but not too high and not too dark, just right! We actually saw a fair number of fish out on the gravel reproducing, but we left those alone and just admired them in passing. There was nothing subtle about the bite in the holes, clowns in a medium to large size were the ticket!

Mean little girl.

I love my office!

Great battle...

…and the beautiful result!

The fish were HOT today and I’m not ashamed to admit that we lost our share, but the ones we landed more than made up for the numerous loses and it was truly one of the more enjoyable days I’ve had in a year or so between the weather, the fantastic company and the fish!

A shout out to Scooter! ;^)

Caught a few trout as well.

Drop back?

Guides day off! ;^)

This fish shown below was ballistic!! If I hadn’t seen the take myself or the hook removal from inside it’s mouth I would have thought it was foul hooked. Johnny and I were just relaxing in the boat cooking up those brats shown above and watching John fish when he almost had the rod ripped from his hand it doubled over so hard.

That take was followed by a jump that had us all laughing pretty hard when it landed three feet into the woods on a fairly high bank on the other side of the hole and John had to pull it back into the river to continue an awesome war! (That’s right, war, not battle! Dude had some spunk!!) Wish I’d been “live” for that one…

Sure John, interrupt my cooking for that any time! (Almost burned the brats.)

We continued to not land fish for a while after that, but I did manage to put one more to hand later in the day for the finish to a spectacular day!

Just one more to cap the day off.

Just spent the evening ordering a Stealthcraft boat for my good friend and client Tom then having dinner and drinks with Tom as well as Mike and Alex from Stealthcraft at Barski. Tom and I are fishing tomorrow so I’m getting off of here now! Probably won’t have time for another report (outside of some Facebook updates of course) until after the weekend so look for something more from me here on Monday or Tuesday. At the moment I do still have Friday open too book!!

Tight lines all,

Other reports by Steve
May 9, 2018 05/09/2018
April 25, 2018 04/25/2018
April 15, 2018 04/15/2018
April 13, 2018 04/13/2018
April 7, 2018 04/07/2018