Hey guys, figured it was well past time for a quick check in on here, especially for those of you that do not follow our BBT Facebook page or my personal ones there and on Instagram. (Steven R Fraley on Facebook and @stevenrfraley on Instagram.) Much of that does show up on our home page right here in the sidebar and at the bottom if you do not have accounts…

It was 65 and sunny in the rowers seat that day! :^)
Solid work and a nice net job by his guide John Karakashian!
These smiles are why we do it and there’s not a single care in the world in these moments

Anyway, just figured I let you know that we’re still here enjoying the nature around us and “riding the storm out” in relative peace. Fishing has been pretty solid as far as winter days go and the river is in good shape. If you’d like to get away from it all for a little while we’d like to help you do it! Half days are available (as are full) all winter long until the big spring push arrives and can be a great way to get out during the prime time.

Just a fun shot I recently came across. This pic of me is in my first drift boat from back in 1992!
John Robinson and I circa 1993 or 4ish… (Hahahaha, look at those dudes!)
Here I am now, reflecting on all the years and miles of rowing this river. The career choice I made back then, the smiles and laughs I’ve shared and all the great stories that came from it. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I’m looking forward to many more new memories with both new clients and old friends alike…

On the subject of guide trips, our rates have gone up a bit for 2021, but we’ve also eliminated charging any extra for flies or lures used during said trip as we have always done in the past and we are now more “in line” with several other outfitters we know and respect here in Western Michigan that offer a similar type of experience. Check out our Guide Page for all the details and I hope to see you in the boat soon!

Steve Troupe avoiding the skunk as usual!
Robinson with the only Steelhead (to hand) that short day.
I had to land something too! ;^)

Shop hours are currently 9am to 5pm every day except Wednesdays. (Closed on Wednesdays until spring.) Guide trips and Motel rooms are still available on Wednesdays however, but the reservation(s) for that will need to be made on another open day… Our inventory in the shop is a little slim going into winter as we always hope it will be, but all of the necessities are very much available as well as some stuff you might like, but don’t necessarily need! ;^)

Had a great time with Josh and Geno on our first ever outing, but hopefully not the last!

We have a good selection of ice fishing rods, reels, line, lures, etc as well as bait and at least some lakes are fishing now, but call the shop for up to date info there as Leo and Jess are way more on top of that situation than I am. One of my winter goals is to get out on the ice for like my 3rd time ever and see if it takes this go around, but it’s hard for me to pass up the river as long as it’s open. (I have a shanty and a heater so I’m part way there! ;^)

Connor came home all the way from California to get ‘er done with his dad over the holidays!
Dad (Paul) is one of our trained assassins over many years!

Not much to add really other than some of the standard winter advice. I actually hit some fish in faster runs and pools last time out, but in general fish the bigger slower pools and other well known winter lies low and slow. Grid it out and if you’re certain there’s fish there (as I usually am) but you didn’t hit any on that first pass change your flies, lighten that tippet maybe and grid it out again!

My good friend/brother since grade school Kirk just retired up here and got it done on his first official float as a resident New Years Eve!
The bonus brown…

It’s really not all that uncommon to be the 4th or 5th person or persons to fish a spot on any given day, but also be the first to get one or more Steelhead out of there that have been there the whole time. It’s called a “bite window” and while there are some usual times of day you would expect that to occur it can and does happen quite often at very random times.

I had to go back out on New years Day alone to get mine…

Pay attention to the woods while you’re out there! “In general” when the woods are active (Birds singing, squirrels running around etc.) so is the water. That’s not a hard and fast rule of course. You can catch some fish in quiet conditions for sure, but it’s usually much much better when there’s a lot more going on. Many, if not most, of my regular clients have heard a story about this from me, but the really short version is that a wise old man taught me that lesson at a young age and I’ve paid close attention to it ever since.

Nothing like a January Coho to get the day going!
One that didn’t get away!

That’s it, I’m gonna leave this here for now. I hope that you all had a great holiday season and I hope that you’ll be going into the rest of this year as well as all the coming ones with a positive attitude and the will to make the best of anything. Another wise person I know just said today “So much good in our Country. If you look for it, you will find it. Don’t let 10% of the people effect 90% of your life!”

Cool spaced spot pattern!

Much love, positive vibes and great fish karma to you ALL! – Steve