Brown Trout on Lake Michigans Door County Waters

Water Body

Spent last week in Door County, Wisconsin fishing for Brown Trout on the waters of Lake Michigan. The weather was gorgeous the first 4 days. Over the next 5 days though, only one was without high winds and cold weather.

We had some good days, and we had some bad ones as well.

Dick Straub is shown here holding up a nice 32" long, 14.3lb brown he caught near Fish Creek on Sunday, April 17nth while trolling a rapala behind a planer board.

Believe it or not, the fog didn’t lift that day until about 12:30pm. That fog seriously hampered our fishing and then when it did lift, the seas lay flat as a pancake with a bright sun and no clouds. Not exactly prime Brown Trout fishing weather.

We did catch a few nice ones the day before though.

(4-16-05) This picture shows three nice Browns that together pushed the scale to over 30lbs. What we didn’t get in numbers was more than made up for in size.

These browns all fell for number 9 rapala’s trolled behind planer boards.

From left to right: (30" 12.7lbs) (24" 6.6lbs) and (28" 11.1lbs)

Dick returned home on Monday afternoon leaving me to play with these big browns by myself for two days.

Larry Pakyz, my partner for the Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament could not get here until late in the afternoon on Wednesday, April 20th.

Tuesday proved uneventful as I tried a few of the bays and harbors on the Lake Michigan side of the pennisula. Only two smaller browns and one 31" pike came to the boat.

On Wednesday, the winds kicked up again from the northeast.

One of the only places I could fish was on the "Flats" of the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal. This is a pretty well known hot spot. It was a bit rough but well worth the effort as shown in the following picture. These two nice browns went 25" 8.5lbs and 28-1/2" 11.5lbs.

The 25" brown was carrying about a dozen gobies in its stomach. Thats the first time I ever found any of those in a brown trouts stomach.

Larry and I hit the water on Thursday, April 21rst with a plan of hitting several different spots in a couple of different bays and harbors. We wanted to locate as many different areas with active fish as possible.

On our first pass in the morning through one such location, we hit a triple! Two of the three rods were the tail gunners. Thats the first time I’ve ever experienced bites on both of the tail gunners at the same time and only the second time I’ve ever experience a triple! All three fish were landed and none of them were really very big. Nice eaten size though. Seems like whenever we get multiple hits at the same time, there usually small to medium size fish. Not complaining mind you, just noting the coincidence.

One other location near the Sturgeon Bay shipping canal also held a some active fish, but do to the winds that were to come over the next couple of days, it was virtually impossible to fish.

On the morning of the tournanment, I decided to put any fish we could in the boat as soon as possible. This strategy was again directly related to the forecast of winds from the NNE at 20 to 35mph! Those are some strong winds and they were suppose to blow for the next two days. I figured any fish weighed in at all could very well win some money.

We managed to land four before the winds blew us off by 3:30pm. Neither one of the two biggest went over 6lbs. Not our best fish of the week by any means.

The top 60 fish by weight collected a check and we finished in 30th and 41rst place.

The last two days of the tournament were pretty much a wash for us. With the wind howling at 25-35mph, we decided to play it safe and spent some time casting off piers instead of taking a chance on some very rough waters.

All in all, it was another very nice spring trip to Door county.

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Joel Ballweg

56, Married (Nancy) no children, 1 yellow lab. Professional Fishing Guide on Lake Wisconsin for past 10 years

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