Door County, Wisconsin Fishing by Month
Once April rolls around, anglers are getting that itch to get out there to do some fishing. Usually, mid-April is about the time that ice will start to move out of the Green Bay side of the peninsula. This allows the trollers to get out there for the early brown trout fishing in Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister Bay and Ellison Bay. Some of the best early season fishing comes out of Sturgeon Bay once the ice is out. On the Lake Michigan side, don’t plan on getting out on the water until the end of April, but the weather conditions will dictate when ice out will occur. It can change from year to year, so it’s not recommended to plan an out of town trip year way in advance because you may not have any open water to fish if the ice is out later than typical. In the last week of April, there should be plenty of open water on the Lake Michigan side to fish for brown trout and rainbow trout.
The walleye fishing heats up as soon as the ice is out on Sturgeon Bay. Sturgeon Bay is known for its excellent smallmouth bass fishing, but the walleye fishing can be really good during the first couple weeks of ice out. Some other fish that can be caught in Sturgeon Bay in April are perch, brook trout and rainbow trout.
Once May rolls around, the fishing starts to heat up in the Door County region. As the water temperature heats up throughout the month of May, you can expect much better bass fishing along the Green Bay shoreline as well as all of the bays in the Door County area. Near the end of May, Sturgeon Bay starts to heat up and this really starts to draw anglers to the region. Sturgeon Bay is known for some of the best smallmouth bass fishing in the county.
Some of the other well-known areas for catching smallmouth bass in May are anywhere along the rocky structured shoreline of Green Bay from Little Sturgeon north to the Peninsula State Park.
Northern pike, walleye, perch, lake trout, brown trout and brook trout are also available during the month of May. Some good northern pike spots are Rowleys Bay and the Mink River. Walleye can be found throughout Little Sturgeon and Sturgeon Bay. Perch can be found along the same rocky shorelines as the smallmouth bass from Little Sturgeon to the Peninsula State Park.
June is the month to come to Door County if you want to experience the outstanding smallmouth bass fishing. Early June is when the smallmouth bass fishing typically hits its peak, although the weather changes will dictate how shallow or deep the fish are going to be when you are visiting the Door County area. The Mink River has some excellent smallmouth bass fishing during the first couple weeks of June as well as Sturgeon Bay. Sawyer Harbor, located within Sturgeon Bay is also a hot spot for catching these smallmouth bass in shallow water. Anglers flock to Sturgeon Bay to experience some of the finest shallow water smallmouth bass fishing anywhere. You will find the bass in shallower water along the rocky shorelines as they spawn and you can catch them with soft plastics, small jigs, minnow baits, crankbaits, spinners and live bait. If you find them, it’s not that difficult to get plenty of strikes. A skilled angler that times it right can experience a 20 to 50 bass day if they time it right. Other fish that are caught in Sturgeon Bay during the month of June are perch, lake trout, rainbow trout and chinook salmon.
Lake trout and chinook salmon are starting to show up throughout the county, which gets the trollers out on the water. This is the time when a lot of big lake trout are caught with some surpassing the 20 pound mark.
July is the month for salmon and trout fishing in Door County. Anglers can still fish for northern pike, walleye, smallmouth bass and perch, but the salmon & trout fishing is so good than many anglers prefer to tackle these fish instead.
Fishing charters are very busy during July as they troll for chinook salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout and lake trout. The salmon fishing can be incredible at times with limits occuring regularly.
July is also a good time to visit Door County because there is so much to in the area. Besides the recreational fishing, anglers can participate in the annual Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament. Boating, swimming and golf are just a few of the other things you can experience in Door County.
August can be an exciting month for fishing in Door County. You still have plenty of options for bass, walleye and northern pike fishing. Earlier in the month, expect to fish deeper water for all 3 species of fish, but you will be able to target these fish a little shallower at the end of the month. The closer you get to September, the better the fishing will get for bass, walleye and northern pike.
The salmon and trout fishing stays good throughout all of Door County for the month of August and you can expect to start seeing some fish come in shallower at the end of the month. Keep up with the fishing charters latest reports and you’ll have a good idea of what depths to troll for salmon and trout. Once the fish come in shallow, you’ll see a lot more recreational anglers get out to fish because they can stay close to shore where it is safer for their smaller boats.
Door County is a very exciting place to be in September. With the cooler temperatures and the changing of colors on the trees, it is a great time to spend some time outdoors. If you have some time to get out on the water, you can experience some excellent fishing for a variety of species. Smallmouth bass can be caught shallow and deep. Northern pike and walleye are feeding heavily on bigger baits at this time of year. Trollers are catching salmon and trout close to shore. Anglers fishing off the shoreline and in the harbors are also having a lot of success with the salmon and trout.
Tons of options, not enough time. If you can spend some time on a fishing charter, you should have a blast. If you have your own boat, you have to figure out what type of fishing you want to do because this is the month to catch trophy fish of all different species.
October can be a very hit or miss month for fishing in Door County. Weather can change drastically in a day and turn them completely off, but you may also get 3 or 4 nice days in a row, which will get fish feeding heavily again. If you plan a trip in October and you time it correctly, you may experience some excellent fishing. There still may be some salmon and trout in the harbors and/or close to the shorelines at the beginning of the month. Most of the trollers turn to the brown trout fishing, which can be very good in October.
The northern pike, walleye, perch and smallmouth bass are all available and there are many local anglers that prefer the middle to end of October for catching some of their biggest smallmouth bass and northern pike of the year. I’ve had pictures sent to me from friends, although, they told me that I couldn’t post them, but I’ve seen many pictures of 4 to 5.5 pound smallmouth bass and double digit northern pike that were caught in October.
If you can get out there and you have the time to learn the lake, this can be a great time to catch a trophy smallmouth bass or northern pike. Many of the fishing guides and charters are already shutting down, so make sure to see what their schedule is like before you book your lodging if you plan a trip up here. You may come up here and get skunked day one and two and it may be a smart move to hire a guide for day 3. It’s going to be tough to hire a guide if they aren’t working anymore, so plan your trip accordingly. One side note…It can also be very easy to have a miserable day of fishing in October with cold temperatures, heavy winds and no fish, but I guess that’s why they call it fishing and not catching.
December, January & February
Ice fishing in Door County, Wisconsin isn’t nearly as popular as fishing during the open water season, but there can be some excellent ice fishing opportunities every winter in Door County. Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay tend to offer some of the safest ice with some of the better fishing in the county.
Some of the types of fish that are targeted during the winter months are jumbo yellow perch, big northern pike and walleye, brown trout and whitefish.