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Steve Fraley, BBT
Co-owner & Guide

February 23, 2018

02/23/2018 River Update.

Looking good! Still quite high obviously, but as predicted dropping at an ever increasing rate now and I expect that experienced rowers (Stress on experience.) should have no trouble in the upper sections at least over the weekend. This is, of course, barring any new obstacles we have yet to learn about so be prepared to cut or portage if necessary.

Our buddy Joe will be happy to see this! Water never got into the main house and John and I got fans going in the barn as well as the mud room today. Disaster averted!

Wading anglers should be OK also if your destination does NOT include a river crossing, but as always in high water, extreme caution should be exercised… There are a few places where I would cross, but that is with a very intimate knowledge of the river bottom and a lot of experience in strong water. In other words, please be safe out there and know your limits as well as your water!

We lost another 10” in the past 23 hrs and the clarity has continued to improve. Had a little more rain here also, but nothing that I expect will slow things up by much. Water temperature was 34 degrees at the time of these photos and a friend of mine who waded in today (And is probably still out if I know him!) was already 0 for 4 on Steelhead at last contact. Hard to land ‘em on your own in these flows, but water temp appears to be just fine by the fish! ;^)

No trips for me yet until March 1st, but I’m hoping that will change. Either way, I’m pretty much planning to fish almost every day from here on out with or without clients with all this warmer weather on the way and fresh chrome pouring in! My current open days thru April 15th (After April 15th is pretty open and should be great mixed bag fishing for trout and Steelhead, call for dates.) are: February 24 – 28, March 4, 5, 6 & 11 April 10 & 15. Call the shop Wednesday to Monday (Closed Tuesday for now.) 9am to 5pm to book me or to check on open days for John & John as well as Motel rooms. 231-745-3529 We were all hanging out in the shop for a while today and to say that we are fired up for the season would be an understatement!

02/22/2018 Evening Update.

Checked Green Cottage at 3:30pm just prior to the First Aid/CPR/Heart Saver class and it had gone down 3” already as well as cleared up quite a bit. (Water temp was 33 degrees Ken! ;^) The drop rate should increase as it progresses, but even at a steady rate I’d say that boating anglers, using extreme caution of course, should be OK in the upper portions of the river by Saturday and wading anglers will have limited access, but some opportunities should exist. Emphasis on extreme caution… I’ll post more tomorrow along with a better idea of how accurate this prediction will be! ;^)

Had a great turn out local guides for the class. Thanks to Frank from PM Lodge for allowing us to use the facility and it was great to see you all!

02/22/2018 Morning Update!

The Little South Branch has dropped about 5” to 6” since yesterday’s check and should continue to recede rapidly at this point. I found the same results at the M-37 launch, but no change yet at Green Cottage below the confluence of the Baldwin River. Word on the street last night was that the Baldwin had peaked and was on its way down up by the old hatchery area so I expect we will start to see a rapid decline in water levels at Green Cottage today.

Too early to venture a guess on the conditions for Saturday and Sunday, (I’ll be out one or both days! ;^) but I will post another update late tonight and have a better idea. Probably get some more photos around 3:30 this afternoon while it’s still light, but I’ve got a First Aid/CPR/Heart Saver renewal class to attend right after that and then a guide meeting shortly after with the USFS in the evening. Odds are the “evening update” won’t be until 9 or later tonight. Be safe!

02/21/2018 Evening Update!

Both the Baldwin and the Middle Branch have gone out of their banks and over the roads by a couple of bridges closing said roads. John came across 19 mile road on the way home today and reports that McDuffy Creek is also seriously blown. (This feeds into the Little South, then the Main Branch.) My gut tells me we will continue to see the Main Branch of the PM below the confluence of the Baldwin rise for a little while yet, but look for comparison photos here tomorrow sometime…

Side Note, I already booked a couple more of my open days I posted earlier (And have changed it below also) so slots are filling fast. I now still have the rest of February (Except the next couple of days obviously! ;^) as well as March 4, 5, 6 & 11 and April 10 & 15 (Thru April 15th) for anyone interested. Love to take you out! Call 231-745-3529 Wednesday to Monday 9am to 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays still for now, but look for our hours to expand as well as Tuesday open as the season progresses.

02/21/2018 Morning Update!

Although I will go out later today to take and post more river site pictures for this evening, there is no need for me to rush out. Assuming a standard seat height of 17”to 19” off the ground, you can see by comparing this snapshot from Red Moose Lodge’s cam to yesterdays taken a little over 18 hours ago we’ve gained about an inch an hour up by M-37 so far… In other words, she’s blow for the time being! More later tonight…

A little over 18 hours from photo below this one in yesterday's report…

02/20/2018 Report!

Well, I think that part of what makes a good guide a great guide is actually being just as excited, if not even more so, about teaching others and putting them on fish as you are about catching them yourself and that’s a good thing for me the past few days! I’m not gonna lie to you, I did check with a few of my regular fishing partners about going out to catch a few more fish of our own both yesterday and today, but I wasn’t heart broken when they declined and I did lose some interest. (John K was out of town or we’d probably be out there in this storm right now however! ;^)

2:54 pm today for those of you not versed. Thanks Red Moose!

Fact is, not that long ago I would have said screw it and gone by myself no matter what with this warmth for this time of year and the amount of fish already in the system, almost did today… Actually got up early to go today, but it was an absolute downpour when I did so it was easy to hit the couch instead. One nice thing about social media and instant communication via smart phones for me is the sheer amount of intelligence I get from friends (That I actually trust and believe the reports from) on the days I don’t make it out myself and I can tell you that spring has sprung on the fish front!

Besides all the fish porn on Facebook and such from lots of people and lots of obvious places to me, a number of people I spoke or texted with personally, who’s fish you will never see posted anywhere unless they’re fishing with me, did very well fishing dark water spots they told me about as well as reported seeing plenty of fish out doing their thing over the past few days. Game on…

Didn’t catch as many trout on Thursday as we did on Wednesday, but got a few little ones.

The water is obviously on the rise as you can see by the snapshot I borrowed from our friends down at the Red Moose Lodge and I imagine it has quite a ways to go yet. That being said, I will go out tomorrow sometime as well as the next several days after that until it subsides and post a few more photos of various access sites to keep you updated, but so long as it’s not too far out of its banks (read here dangerous) we should still be able to put you in the right places from here on out!

Always a nice “day off” lunch, but fyi, venison brats can be requested in my boat until they’re gone. ( Make sure the person taking the request is told to pass it on to Karen! ;^).

Had some computer issues at the shop for a couple of days and I’m not quite sure if anyone called for a trip that needs to call back, but we are taking reservations again and I’ve only picked up three new trips since last report (that I know of) so far. I “believe” my current open days are pretty much the rest of February, (Come on up before it gets busy!) March 4th, 5th, 6th & 11th and April 10 & 15 thru the 15th then it opens up quite a bit again, but trout fishing picks up heavily about then and Steelhead fishing should remain solid thru most of the month as usual so don’t be afraid of the later dates!

Epic “River Runs Through It” kind of battle with this hot fish!

It’s been a long winter and we could use your business if you happen to be in town or want to make a call. (231-745-3529) We are pretty well stocked with all of the essentials and more inventory will be coming in hot very soon. Other guide(s) and motel rooms are available on most days as well and we are looking forward to serving you and your needs on top of keeping you better informed from here on out. As always, we realize that without you, we wouldn’t be here and we truly appreciate all that you do for us…

As a group we lost more hot Steelhead in the end than I care to mention that day, but it was another great one with friends!

Till next time, tight lines!

Announcements/Destination Travel Info-

Join us at The Blue Bonefish in Belize January 19th to January 26th (6 spots available) or January 26th to February 2nd (8 spots available) 2019!

All guest enjoy the use of golf carts and bicycles to get around the island as well as kayaks and paddleboards!

Need more after a day of fishing? Go back out! ;^)

A fishing package ($1,795.00 US plus 9% local sales tax and guide tips) includes seven nights lodging (two per suite) all meals, four days flats fishing for bonefish, permit, tarpon, snook, barracuda and jack trevalle (two per boat), one day of reef fishing or snorkeling and a free day to explore or take a tour!

A non-fishing package ($1,000.00 US plus 9% local sales tax) includes seven nights lodging and all meals/amenities. Extra flats fishing day can be added ($150.00 US per day plus guide tip) if a non fishing guest wished to join for a day or a fishing guest would like a little more!

Mayan ruins tours, cave tubing, scuba diving, snorkeling, jungle zip lining and catamaran sailing are some of the day tours we can book for you while there, or simply enjoy exploring the island…

A 50% deposit is required at the time of booking (Cash or check) and only 6 & 8 spots are available! (US Passport is required!) First come first serve… Getting there is easy with a flight to Belize City followed by a short airplane ride on Tropic Air to the island of San Pedro where you will be met at the airport.

This is a fantastic and affordable trip to just relax in the sun or enjoy some spectacular salt water fishing! While most of our (BBT’s) destination travel trips are hardcore fishing this one, in contrast, is most certainly one that a non-fishing companion would enjoy just as much! San Pedro is an awesome little laid back island with English speaking residents, Caribbean cuisine, great shopping and night life! Give us a call to reserve your place with us this winter… 1-231-745-3529

Argentina 2019

The dates are January 5 – 12, 2019 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 $3,950.00 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 We have our “BBT Hosted” dates set for next year…. (Keep in mind we can book any dates for you!!) August 4 - 11, 2018. The “BBT Special” will be $3,495 per person for a week of fishing in some of the greatest water in Alaska! This rate INCLUDES the “Best of Katmai” Package; two fly outs throughout the week! $3,495 is the standard weekly rate without fly-outs…an incredible BBT exclusive deal!!! If you are interested in joining us, 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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Other reports by Steve
September 22, 2018 09/22/2018
September 21, 2018 Sorry!
September 11, 2018 09/11/2018
September 5, 2018 A few sad words
August 13, 2018 08/13/2018