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Steve Fraley, BBT
Co-owner & Guide

Alaska Part 9
August 16, 2014

Well, to say I rode the gravy train this week would be an understatement, but I am more than certain that I will make up for it in spades this week…

The reason I stayed was this upcoming week, a week that has been dubbed “hell week” all summer long. A little mix up in the bookings caused us to have a very light week this past one and we are basically double booked at full capacity for this one. As I type we have guides, additional camp help and guest arriving from all over the place and a plan is in place. Should be a lot of fun and I wouldn’t miss it for the world, these are the stories you want to be part of and not just hearing about next year…

So, back to this past week. It started off on Sunday with my cousins James and Tom along with Eric, in his boat, on an epic adventure. We decided to go scout out some fly in spots on the Alagnak, the river that both Tom and I guided on many years ago, so there was “a mission”. The fun part was that we took a boat to do it and ran about 300 miles in one day down the length of the Naknek, up the Bering Sea, (OK, Bristol Bay/Kvichak Bay, but Bering Sea sounds way cooler.) and all the way up the Alagnak past the braids to Charlie Somerville’s place and back again.

Our ride prior to the trip at the dock.

An old cannery along the shoreline.

Part of Charlie’s place, he invited us to dinner!

We stopped by Katmai Lodge, our old employer, on the way back down and visited some old friends. Kind of cool to see a BBT sticker on one of the boats!


Inside the lodge.

My wife Karen and I used to live here.

On the way back we hit low tide and had to wait it out to get back to the Naknek. That was pretty sweet in itself since it was the “super moon” night and we had sunset on one side with a huge moon over Naknek on the other… (Not to mention some good scotch and beer for the non boat drivers to pass the time away.)

Not a bad way to spend an evening on the ocean.

Spent Monday just sleeping away the day before, doing laundry and some other chores, but Tuesday found me back on the water with Brandon and Eric in his boat again. Our “mission” was to show each other our spots on the Naknek and catch a couple of Silvers for Ashley to take home with her. Tough duty, but we managed!

I neglected to Photograph any of the Silvers or Pinks that we caught, but when it started pouring rain and we ducked into my buddy’s place I couldn’t help myself. Wound up borrowing his truck and running into town for some “lunch supplies” to wait the rain out with. Not necessarily a great plan with clients, but for a few off duty guides it was genius!

Guide freaking genius!

Kelly and Grasen (sp?) hanging out on the porch with us.

Wednesday was another tough one. Had to actually take some clients across the lake and back in the Cat, but spent the day fishing with my niece Tana (Second cousin actually.) and Eric. Caught a bunch of Rainbows on mice, streamers and dry flies, but the highlight was Tana catching a Sockeye on a madam x.

This lovely young lady is headed to Ferris State on Tuesday.

Fish ON!

1st “cool” Sockeye I’ve ever seen!

Back home that night it struck me as time to take a few photos…

I’ve been here 60 days now, this seems reasonable, but I think my check liver light is on!

Thursday was a whole new “mission” with Eric and Brandon again. The plan was to find an old route that Brandon had taken years ago into the Upper portions of Idavain Creek where the rainbows are plentiful now. We’ve been hiking in from the mouth just fine, but a shortcut would be cool. We took Eric’s boat again and I ran the shoreline up thru the first Island cut for a really cool ride.

A bit of shoreline.

We found the old markers, but it was a swamp walk in and harder than what we’ve been doing.

Took about an hour to get there, not bad, time to fish a little!

Caught Rainbow and Grayling like Char on Margot for a couple of hours.

We scouted a new route out to complete our “mission” for the day and it was better, but still debatable as to whether it is better than the usual program. Very cool territory none the less…

Fun to know that we were probably the very first humans to ever step foot on most of this ground.

Mision accomplished, ”work” is over, time for lunch! ;^)

After that we decided we might as well go explore the Chain of Islands portion of the lake and check out Fure’s Cabin. A cool little spot you can actually rent from the park service and a great location to portage up and over to Grosvenor lake from as part of the Savonoski Loop. The Savonoski loop is another adventure I plan on making next year prior to my first week guiding along with climbing Mount Katolinat, the one you see in all my Margot pictures.

Can’t wait to spend a night here next year.

Lake view from the cabin, too bad it wasn’t a sunny day.

OK, I’ll admit it, I’m liking this Bloody Mary program.

Headed out from there and just cruised around the Islands for a while before heading home. Personally I think every visitor to Katmai should take at least one day or part of it to see this area. It is breathtaking even on a dreary day…

Leaving the Cabin.

Should have taken more photos, but I was too busy gazing in amazement.

Friday found me Captain of the Cat again. James had two clients to guide and I had four other “do it yourselfers” to drop off at Margot. Thought about going up and fishing with them, but we had a fairly good wind upon arrival with a prediction of heavier stuff to come so I sat with the boat at the mouth incase I needed to radio the guys and cut our trip short. That lake is no joke and you can get 6 to 8 foot waves easy and in a hurry with the right wind thru the mountains…

One of many bears feeding at the mouth of Margot throughout the day.

It struck me that my window view from the office isn’t bad at all and I’ll be climbing that mountain next June.

Back at camp a bunch of us decided to head into town before hell week and celebrate. Good times were had by all…

Pringleville and the monkeys.

This lady, the “hippie chick” was halarious.

Yea, these guys can party!

Anyway, it’s been a fun week, now it’s time to pay. Heading out now to get this out on the internet from town and do my laundry for the week. I’ll start shipping stuff home soon and I’ll be back to Michigan next Sunday. I’ll probably hold off on the hell week report until the following Monday or Tuesday… As far as I know I still have a few early and late season dates open if anyone is interested… 1-231-745-3529

Till next week, Tight Lines!

Announcements/Destination Travel Info-

Argentina 2015

The dates are early January to be announced... Treat yourself to a trip of a lifetime! The package price per person based on double occupancy is US $3,450.00 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

BBT In Argentina 2014

Alaska 2014

The week of August 9 to 16 is now closed for Alaska, but we still have openings on August 2 to 9 where we are offing a new special as well as July 26 to August 2 where I would not only be your “host” but also one of your guides! We will remain at $2,295.00 for the week (Regular non BBT is 2,695.00 this year.) or, wait for it… $2,695.00 for the week WITH TWO FLY OUTS!! Can’t beat that!! If you are interested in joining us, please contact John, myself or 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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P.S. Don’t forget to stop in Barski’s for some off the hook chow and say hi to my buddy Steve for me!

Other reports by Steve
August 9, 2014 Alaska Part 8
July 31, 2014 Alaska Part 7
July 26, 2014 Alaska Part 6
July 19, 2014 Alaska Part 5