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Steve Fraley, BBT
Co-owner & Guide

August 22, 2016

Time for another quick update. Some of you may have already seen much of this and some not depending on Facebook and forum use, but much is new as well… As I type this I just picked up a trip for tomorrow, but I still have Wednesday, Thursday and Friday open this week as well as Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of next week “at the moment”. If anyone would like to join me for a full or half day, I’d LOVE to have you! Kinda makes me feel good to work again, you know…

Made that trip to U of M on the 10th and finally got a diagnosis “of sorts”. At first they “called it” Late onset Still’s disease, but after I got home did some research and followed that up with additional questioning it was clarified (Or, admitted, depending on how you look at it.) to me that in reality "We still do not have an absolute diagnosis." They say that it is some sort of an auto inflammatory disease and not one that is "cured" by the steroid they have had me on, but the fact that it "fooled" my system and it responded the way it did to it along with blood test results supposedly tells them what they need to know. The steroid I'm on cannot be used long term (Like, forever) and in my case they actually want me off of it as soon as possible to avoid bone damage, (Amongst other things) particularly in my spine, ankle and hips that are still healing.

They put it down on paper as Adult Onset Still's, but only to "label" it for the insurance to approve Kineret, an expensive drug (About $22,557.00 a year.) that does what the steroid does for me and more without all the bad stuff. That being the case I will have to give myself a shot every day for, most likely, the rest of my life. (Hey, people with diabetes and such do it all the time!) It is U of M and my guess is they know what they're doing, but I'm still going for a second opinion before I start this treatment course that also includes some other nasty drugs at first. (Metholtrexate is one for example...)

This drug comes with a full blown novel as an information packet!

Spent the 11th doing more research and trying to set up that second opinion, but on the 12th I decided that some river therapy was in order and talked John R into joining me so I could try my hand at rowing again. Long story short we crushed some beers, John crushed a bunch of smaller fish on the way down (Including a pretty funny one he caught on the dangle while we were waiting out a rain squall under a tree.) and we crushed a great dinner at my friends cabin just before pulling out…

An epic day that I needed!

My son brought this back to me from a trip to Brazil so I had to try it in honor of the Olympics.

Just let the fly hang there, that’ll work! ;^)

Little dude had a big attitude, almost took the rod out of the boat!

Lots of fish like this looking up.

Long day, but hey, it was “All Day IPA”!

A little dinner to top it all off.

Love having my baby back on the water!

Didn’t do much the next couple of days other than deal with a few things around the homestead, but I did get out for a short ride with Steve from Barski and his son Steve. We wound up sitting at the bar having dinner with another guy named Steve. Thought that was fun…

My girls when I’m holding a bag with smoked dog bones from the M-37 Meat Shack!

Love having my other baby back on the road also!

The three Amigos, or, Steve’s as the case may be.

On the 16th John, John and I decided to run downriver and see what’s up. Had a nice river ride, but not much happening at all. Saw exactly two Kings. One on the move thru a sand flat and another that rolled… Good times with great friends regardless. I’m pretty sure I’ll never have a “bad” day on the water again as I will never take it for granted!

Lighting up the barn!

I could just do this for the rest of my life and be happy...

Had lunch at Barski on the way home and tried the kielbasa chili dog for the first time. Spectacular!

Unrelated, but a new staple for sure. Try it if you haven’t!

Decided to head down and check it out again the next day. Steve Cornetet joined me for a few hours and while we didn’t catch or hook a King, Steve did put us on the board with a Pike and we did see more fish moving and rolling. A good sign!

Thanks for the great company Steve!

Well… What’s a guy to do? Try it again I say! It’s that time of year and with the reports the way they have been from near shore and PM lake it’s bound to cut lose any time now so we tried it again the next day.

Morning barn sessions make me feel normal again!

The obligatory morning shot.

I kept the Pike streak alive.

Always see Eagles in this particular area.

Just happy to be chiilin’ with my boys once again!

Jumped on my bike for a short ride afterwards and enjoyed a little 1884 First Brown Ale at Barski, another beer you should try if you haven’t and this one was named in honor of our river and the first Brown Trout planting in the United States! Buy it locally folks… ;^)


My buddy and long time client had told me a while back that he wanted to be the first, or among the first back in my boat when I felt I could guide again so we did that the next day! Saw a few again, but one little hammer handle Pike was it to hand before we called it an early day, stopped by Stealthcraft to finalize his order for a sled and cooked up my first “guide lunch” since November back at the barn. Thanks for the trip Kevin and I’ll see you guys this weekend!! (It’s picked up considerably the last couple of days, hopefully that holds…)

Many thanks for the trip!

Actually had some pains that I wasn’t sure about in my kidney area during the day and the good folks at U of M told me to get checked out immediately if I felt anything that might be gut or organ related so, I wound up visiting the ER that evening. CT scans and blood test ruled out anything bad and I got some muscle relaxers out of the deal…

I guess I just missed my IVs and hospital beds, but at least the bag was clear instead of red!! ;^)

Took the next day off resting my back, but I did get some stickers put on the new (very old) guide fridge while Stuart took care of some computer business for BBT.

Getting there!

The next morning, the 21st found me out on my second guide trip since November with Stuart who has been fishing with me for 17 years. (The relationship is well beyond guide/client, heck, his Daughter Valory is mine and Karen’s god daughter!)

Time to make the doughnuts!

Keeping the Pike streak alive!

So, there we were, watching Kings roll around and push upriver past us, behaving ourselves (Unusual, just ask my wife.) and drinking coffee when all of the sudden I got the big idea to try another one of my good early runs and Stuart got the idea that we should switch over to some “breakfast” and turn on some music…

Being nice...

…and being naughty! (Considering this was 8:30am ;^)

But it worked! This was immediately after one cheers, one sip and about two cast!

I “kinda” wish I could say we fished hard after that and caught more fish, but the main mission was just to have some “quality time” together and once that first King of my season was landed we did more relaxing and catching up than anything else. Another boat caught like four I think and we did continue to see fish moving and rolling the rest of the day as we solved all the world’s problems. Thanks bro, we needed that!!

Stu always appreciates my harvest! (Funny thing is, I told Stuart I felt like I just shot that deer then laid down on the couch and only got up a week or so ago! Almost true, just add in a few hospital beds with the couch...)

Stu had to head home after that and I was still all fired up. Wound up joining some other good friends, Grant and Clark for dinner and drinks at Barski to finish off a great day!

Woke up early this morning since that’s becoming the habit and decided on a quick solo mission. LOTS of fish rolling where I was and I had my *** handed to me twice almost before it got really light out. (One BIG chrome fish and one darker fish I didn’t get a good look at.) Probably should have brought a friend who could row the boat around and I “may” have kept them from the wood, but even that is doubtful and it truly was a last minute decision. I decided my real mistake was setting up my camera for a selfie and extending the net handle before I wet a line! Fished a little more to no avail even though I was still seeing fish roll and move, but took off right around 10:30 for home.


At least the confidence paid off in hookups and great battles!

My buddy Clark scored today and I spoke with some other folks who hit fish as well.

It’s late now and I’m gonna need a few hours sleep before tomorrow’s excitement! Between the three of us we’ve got plenty of openings for guide trips and Motel rooms are available as well! Tough to beat the strike of a new King in the river, come join us in the chase…

Tight Lines all,

Other reports by Steve
August 9, 2016 Game time!
July 21, 2016 Update!
June 30, 2016 Happy Fourth of July!!
April 29, 2016 04/29/2016