Fishing, Life, Love & The Great Outdoors
Written For Outdoor Gazette
September 10, 2007

Cool Down Heats Up Bay Fishing
By Joel “Doc” Kunz

If you are at all like me you have been relishing the cooler nights and even the rainy days of late. “Nice weather if you’re a duck”, my father used to say, but that’s OK with me. Although I personally don’t think I am part duck, I am one who would have no problem living in the Seattle area where temperatures and rain fall are much like what we have had here over the last week. That is, if there are some walleye and small mouth bass to wrestle with in the Seattle area.

Weather aside, one thing I DO love about Wisconsin is the fantastic fishing for walleye and small mouth bass, and Door County is one of the best place for both species. In fact, the Bay of Green Bay is actually one of the best places in the entire USA for both species. Not only numbers, but for true trophy potential fish of walleye over 10 pounds and small mouth bass over 5 pounds. In fact, I have seen fish from this year that tops those marks by quite a bit having seen a 14 pound walleye and 7 pound small mouth bass that were caught by friends of mine. My personal best are a 31 inch 11.4 pound walleye and 21.5 inch, 5.2 pound small mouth bass. Both are good fish but pale in comparison to the huge fish my friends caught. Still, even though I may not catch a walleye or small mouth that even approach fish of those size, the quality of the fishery is excellent.

Because it is such a large area of water I really encourage first time visitors to the area to hire a guide. One day spent with someone who knows the water and techniques used to catch these fish can save an angler a great deal of time and money by shortening the learning curve. For me the learning curve was easier then for most. I have been fortunate to have relatives who were born, raised and live in the county and actually, my children have lineage to the founding members of the county itself. That put me in the hands of people who have fished the county all their lives. Since that time I have also become good friends with the #1 guide in the area, Dale Stroschein. Dale introduced me to the techniques and areas for producing both good numbers and trophy class fish, that I use today.

Walleye are being caught right now both trolling mid lake structure and reefs and along some of the rocky shorelines. Availability of food is the main reason for location which can change as the wind blows. Anglers are still pulling crawler harnesses on planer boards but expect the fish to change to a “crank bait bite” soon as the water cools. The fish will also transition out of deeper water and will concentrate on the rock humps and reefs until the shorelines become the main feeding area. The lower bay near Dykesville and Ganos Reef on the lower bay are still producing fish also, but fewer in number with very few big fish. the big fish seem top be coming from the larger reefs and rocky structures that dot the entire bay.

Same for small mouth bass. Rock humps, shoreline flats with weeds and rip rap can all hold small mouth at this time. The bass will even school up and roam, suspended somewhere in the water column near some of these structures until the water cools down a bit more. Then they will concentrate on the structure and the available bait fish until the cold water period just before ice up moves them back to deeper water. I like throwing a simple willow leaf spinner bait or 4-inch grub tail on a jig for these fish. Both give the vibration of a fleeing bait fish and fish well in any area I am targeting for bass. Like Dale taught me, I like to concentrate on keeping either presentation just below the surface of the water. The fish seem to like to strike baits in this position and will actually stay away from baits fished just a foot or two deeper. Sure, we still catch deep fish on tube baits and worms rigged wacky style, but when covering water, the fast moving alternative gives you the best chance to find fish. Once found, we may choose to slow down and work plastics, but generally look to keep moving. It is amazing to me when I catch a big small mouth bass on a spinner bait being fished 3 inches below the surface, in 25 feet of water. These fish can see and feel the bait from their location in the depths below and will come up and hit the bait. Some of the more active fish will be swimming just below the surface and will ambush your bait should you be lucky enough to put your cast near. In fact, many of the fish caught are hooked just a few turns of the reel after your bait hits the water.

So get in to some of the best fishing our state has to offer. World class fishing for walleye and small mouth bass are available to us here in NE Wisconsin and the Bay of Green Bay is the place to be. Look for action to continue to heat up as the water cools and get better until the cold water period arrives. The place to stay is Sand Bay Beach Resort & Suites owned by Dale Stroschein in Sturgeon Bay. He has a GREAT resort and knows the fishing in the area like no other. You can reach him at Sand Bay Beach Resort, 3798 Sand Bay Point Road, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235 - (920) 743-5731.

Joel “Doc” Kunz
For Outdoor Gazette


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