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Steve Fraley, BBT
Co-owner & Guide

March 9, 2017

Hey guys! It’s been a few days so I thought I’d toss up an update. On a personal health note for those of you keeping track, with any luck, this was my last shot needed and this thing, whatever it was, is beat!! I successfully finished a very long taper off of the high doses of prednisone about a month or so ago and not long after that began a three week taper off of the very expensive shot I’ve had to give myself daily.

Quite possibly my last shot!?! Time will tell...

The doctors at U of M told me not to get my hopes up and that it is very rare that anyone successfully gets off of it, (Usually is a lifelong thing, but not "always" ;^) but they also thought I would most likely flair up and relapse before that transition was even over and, it’s been a week since that last dose!

So far I feel fine, but if I start to feel bad again I’m supposed to go in immediately for blood test, otherwise we have test scheduled for the end of the month and I’ll know more. Fingers crossed, but considering what they said I think my chances are pretty good! Wish me luck...

Got leg room? Yes, I do now!!

In a partial celebration of possibly being over these health issues I finally bit the bullet, went out the next day and traded in my 2011 F350 extended cab that my clients have had to squeeze into for a nice Used 2015 F150 Supercrew I found in Grand Rapids. I’ve decided to sell off my toy hauler/camper (Details and price coming soon!) that I only got to use a couple of times a year at best causing me to need that big truck and I’m liking the better gas mileage and cab room already…

Speaking of clients, I’ve had a couple of fair weather fishermen reschedule in this coming week so I now have some new openings for any of you serious die hard Steelheaders out there! As some of you well know, sometimes the best fishing is not necessarily in the best weather and Mother Nature has yet to toss anything at me that I won’t fish in!

When Saturday cancelled/rescheduled I decided to go ahead and block the whole weekend off, head down to the Midwest Fly Fishing Show and help Mike at the Stealthcraft booth! Maybe I’ll see a few of you there… My current open days are now March 13th & 14th, 29th & 30th. April 10th, 17th thru the 20th and the 24th thru the 27th. So, come on, grab a date and lets go have some fun fishing!!! (We also have other guide(s) available most other days as well as motel rooms open!) Current shop hours are 8am to 5pm seven days a week, shop hours will be adjusted as the season progresses… 1-231-745-3529

Fishing has remained strong for the most part, but it is “fishing” and some days are tougher than others. We do have solid numbers of fish in the system with new arrivals daily and depending on water temps they’ve been showing out on the redds as well as hiding in holes or, just hiding in holes! (Undercuts, log jams, etc… ;^) Most of the popular gravel areas are seeing some action when temps are up, but otherwise just stick to the normal winter lies as well as shoots and pockets around said gravels.

(I guess I need the attention!? Hahaha ;^)

I got out on the 3rd with John to do a fun float, we hooked a couple of fish briefly then I somehow managed to saw into my thumb while clearing passage past a down tree for the first time ever. (Blade started to get pinched and when I pulled hard back on it, it went in a downward motion to my other hand braced on a lower branch…) Long story short, not even a good pressure bandage would stop the bleeding so when we met up with our other buddy Charlie at the halfway point I took his truck home while they continued (And hooked a few more fish!) then drove myself over to the Reed City ER for a few (7) stitches!

Guess I just couldn’t stand not being around a hospital for too long! Hahaha A big thanks to Jake for going along to keep me company, I needed an updated tetanus shot anyway. In a moment of gallows humor the doc told me he was going to cut away some of the torn up skin and flesh because “you don’t need that anyway…” and I told him “Why not, the last time I was in this particular hospital they cut out a third of my guts for what turned out to be for no reason, but apparently I didn’t need that either!” We laughed and laughed while he cut and stitched…

Bottom of the ninth! Nice work Dave...

Doc said I was good to guide so the next morning, a very cold one, I met up with Dave and his grandson Drew for a quick half day trip before they had to drive home. Fish will acclimate to and bite in just about any water temp, but the very sudden drop did nothing for them and it was a tough bite for just about everyone we spoke with.

Much of the first part of our short day was spent just dialing in technique, but by the half way point we were getting very good presentations and by our last stop of the day the sun had finally done its job warming the water enough to turn the bite back on. The first fish caught us a little off guard and we lost it, but right after that Dave got us some redemption. Great having you guys and I look forward to a full day of it sometime hopefully soon!

Our 1st to hand...

I had a feeling that the sun was going to continue to do good work and that the next day would be better so when I got home I met up with Jake and Grant making plans to fish the next morning. Turns out, that prediction was correct and we saw lots of fish out spawning that we passed on, as well as a few that we didn’t along with a number of holes. Hooked a fair number of Steelhead and trout throughout the day from all different types of water, but the two I brought to hand were from gravel areas. (Not all that visible in the deeper pockets they came from, but probably spawning in there nonetheless.)

This one may have been just thinking about getting started...

Standard day off health food of venison brats of course.

Jake was the trout master! I lost count of how many trout he caught on the day, but it was plenty. He had the hot hand on them for sure…

One of many for Jake on the day.

Inside joke for a certain crew. Lacey at the pool! ;^)

Just couldn’t bring myself to stay off the water again the next day so I got a hold of Steve from Barski and we made a fun day of sunshine, super winds, lots of fish lost, a couple of nice ones landed and he even cooked me a Barski Ribeye for lunch! Once again we hooked fish in winter holes including some brand new hot chrome players as well as gravel areas, but the only Steelhead we kept buttoned was from a visible gravel for Steve, a hard fighting battle scared buck!

Day maker in the morning on a fry pattern!

Almost broke out the KBS early to celebrate that Trout, but managed to hold on till lunch on those and did a couple of Dirty Bastards instead!

Lot’s of smaller trout crushing the fry patterns also.

Great ride!

Gratuitous lunch shots…

Tom had a last minute opportunity to come back north for some exciting news I hope to share with you soon and after we concluded that business in the morning we took off for a quick river trip in the high winds and sun again. Probably a little silly considering my luck and all the trees we actually saw getting blow over along the way, but we somehow managed to not get crushed and we weren’t the only ones by a long shot. Lots of fish on for the day from a mixture of locations again. Fry patterns, chartreuse nukes w/orange core and smaller pinkish clown eggs were the diet of choice…

First cast of the day! Luckily, it didn’t jinx the rest of it! ;^)

This fish won a battle with a jplug or something on the big lake I’m thinking. Nice backdrop!

One more for the road!

Trout bite was decent also!

Took a day off today to get some paperwork done for the feds and state as well as this report, but I’m sure I’ll regret it when I find out how Jake and John did once they get back. The cold weather returns tonight and I can see that possibly effecting the bite for a day or two, but it should turn back on again long before the weather turns up again! (Heck, a few years back we had a great spring and I think the average start time temp was about 7 to 10 degrees for most of the season!) Dress warm (We’ve got lots of warm stuff in the fully stocked shop as well as plenty of everything else you’ll need! ;^) and go get ‘em!!

That’s all I’ve got for now so, till next time… Tight Lines!

Announcements/Destination Travel Info-

Stay tuned for details on our Belize trip to The Blue Bonefish lodge January 27 to February 3, 2018!!

It’s a nice place to be in winter!

Argentina 2018

The dates are January 8 – 13, 2018 and we are taking deposits ($1,000) now to hold your spot! Treat yourself to a trip of a lifetime! The package price per person based on double occupancy is US $3,995.00 and includes:
• Six full days guided fishing (with expert, local bilingual (Spanish-English) fly-fishing guide)
• All your lodging, meals and beverages (including beer & wine with meals)
• Transportation to and from the Airport in Bariloche

Join us next year for a warm and fantastic vacation to bring in the new year!

BBT In Argentina 2014

Alaska 2017 - Our BBT Alaska Dates are August 5 - 12, 2017, but can book you as an “agent” for anytime during their open months at their normal rate!

SPECIAL BBT DEAL!!! $2,795 (or $3,395 which includes two fly-outs!!!) per person for a week of fishing in some of the best water in Alaska! If you are interested in joining us or booking a different week, please contact the shop for details. It is an amazing trip!!!!

Also, please check out our new Baldwin Bait and Tackle Facebook page.

Baldwin Bait & Tackle

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