Many people consider the annual Bailey’s Harbor Brown Trout tournament to be the start of their Wisconsin big lake season. It is a great tournament where you can fish any Door County waters, including from shore, and for a measly $25 per person you have a shot at winning some cash back by placing in the top 60. I thought it would be a great way to start out a few tournaments this year by taking a shot at these shallow water browns. It started by meeting Keith Shisler (Chinookeith) and Ed Meyer (Special Ed) at the Baileys Harbor Marina on Friday, April 20th. When we arrived there we were pleasantly surprised to see that they were offering slips for $15 per night.
The Shad Whisperer
They have a very nice little marina so we took advantage of this. Then, as what we thought was a sign of good luck, Keith reached in the water while launching the boat and caught a shad with his hand. This definitely had to be a sign of good things to come.
We started out Friday evening with some fishing in the beautiful bay of Baileys Harbor. It looked very fishy with warm water and all kinds of structure. This is where our luck started to turn. If you are going to fish this area of Door County, I highly recommend you have a map card on your GPS, and pay attention to it. While we were preoccupied watching some people fishing in waders, we discovered what we were reminded of all weekend. The water can go from 15 feet deep to only 3 feet underneath you faster than you can finish whatever your chosen string of obscenities may be!
Note to self...this also will clear out a whole side of lines. So a few minutes later we were set back up and back at it. We covered quite a bit of water and saw some nice scenery and then FISH ON!!! After a short battle we landed what we hoped to be a decent brown, but what do you know…it was a northern. This turned out to be our only bite on Friday, so back to the slip it was. We then decided on a plan. Keith was off to spend some quality time with his wife, and Ed and I were off to find somewhere warm. Keith took advantage of one of the many nice little expensive motels while Ed was planning on sleeping in his car and me in the boat. In our cold, weak state of mind, we spotted a nice watering hole to warm up at. Directly across the road from the marina is Weisgerber’s Cornerstone Pub & Restaurant. Let me tell you this place serves all kinds of wonderful food and beverages and is a must stop if you are in Baileys Harbor.
Bright and early on Saturday we were at it again. We saw a beautiful sunrise near one of the many Door County lighthouses we trolled by. We spent our day zigzagging between a couple feet of water and 50 feet of water. It was very entertaining watching all the big rocks, amazing structure and wildlife on the shores. The water was so clear that in 40 feet of water you could see the ripples in the sand and zebra mussels on the rocks. Then while we were preoccupied with all the structure, FISH ON! Keith was up and after a short battle with what appeared to be a nice chunky brown, it was gone. So another mile up the shore we had another hit on the same rod. I just so happened to be standing there. A short battle ensued and we boated a chunky little 5 pound brown and thought we had an idea of a pattern. We pulled lines and ran back up to a mile south of where our first hook up was and changed a few baits to match what our last two strikes had been on. Right around this time is when the lake started to get a little bit bumpy.
We continued on that troll until we were about fourteen miles from the marina. Between it being about supper time, building seas, and having only two bites all day, we decided to pound water and head back to the marina to come up with a plan. After heading back to Weisgerber’s for some more good eats, it was decision time. It looked like weather was going to be an issue for Sunday so we decided to call it a weekend. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves, even though only a few fish cooperated. This was a great way to start out our season and now that we used up all our bad luck, we are off to the rest of the year.
See you on the water.