Welcome to our Door County, WI Fishing Home Page
Rated as one of the top ten vacation destinations in America, Door County has so much to offer. With hundreds of miles of scenic shoreline, there are numerous recreational opportunities in this area. From swimming on the beaches, shopping, dining, hiking, sight-seeing, boating or fishing, Door County has something here for everyone.
Door County is known for having a great salmon and trout fishery as well as being one of the top smallmouth bass destinations in the country. Walleye, northern pike and perch are also plentiful making this area an unbelievable place for fishing. With all of the different opportunities, you might catch your personal record for a variety of species all in one vacation.
Primary Species of Fish
Smallmouth Bass, Walleye, Salmon & Trout
The smallmouth bass fishery is world class. It may be the best in the entire country, however, the Lake Erie anglers might have a problem with that statement. You will find so many 2 to 3 pound bass here with 4 to 5 pounder being very common and some fish pushing 6, 7, 8 pounds and even bigger. The salmon fishing in Door County is some of the finest you will find in all of Lake Michigan, especially in the Sturgeon Bay area. There are numerous ports on the Lake Michigan side of Door County that offer some excellent salmon fishing each summer through fall. Door County is a unique walleye fishery. The waters of Green Bay are loaded with walleye, but anglers fish for them a little different than they do in other waters. Walleye are commonly caught throughout North America by jigging, casting and trolling. While jigging and casting can put plenty of walleyes in the boat in the waters surrounding Door County, the best walleye anglers have found that nothing beats trolling up here. Walleye up to and above 10 pounds are fairly common here among the top walleye anglers who consistently target them.
Secondary Species of Fish
Northern Pike, Muskie & Perch
With all of the excellent fishing for smallmouth bass, walleye, salmon and trout, many anglers don’t even realize that there is a pretty good fishery for some other species of fish too. The perch fishing can be hit or miss, but when it is on, some trophy fish are caught here. There are some very big northern pike caught here, however, don’t expect to find them in big numbers. There are even some muskie caught in the Door County area, however, the better muskie fishing usually occurs farther south around the town of Green Bay.
Door County, WI Fishing Regulations
The Door County area has some different regulations based on where and what species you will be targeting. You will need to check the current regulations for the inland lakes, Lake Michigan, Lake Michigan’s tributaries and the Washington Island area.
Learn About the Green Bay Side
When most people think of Door County, they think of Sturgeon Bay. In the bay, visitors enjoy fishing & boating, charming restaurants, a variety of accommodations, shops, galleries, nearby state parks and more.
Sturgeon Bay is one of the best places to plan a fishing vacation to in the midwest. Known as a top 10 smallmouth bass fishing destination, anglers regularly catch 3 to 4 pounders and bass up to 7 pounds are not unheard of. Smallmouth bass aren’t the only reason why people fish here. The bay is good for walleye, salmon, trout, perch and northern pike. Because the waters in Sturgeon Bay are often calm, anglers with smaller boats get a chance to target big fish on a big water (Lake Michigan), but they don’t have to deal with the big waves that usually go hand in hand with fishing big water. At times, the bay can get rough, but for the most part, fishing conditions are usually good for smaller boats. For those of you planning a trip to the bay, you will have plenty of lodging options to go along with camping available at Potawatomi State Park.
Rileys Bay is a good-sized bay, but much smaller than nearby Little Sturgeon Bay. The fishing can be very good in Rileys Bay, especially in the spring and the fall as smallmouth bass move into the shallower waters with a mixture of rocks and sand. It’s one of the better smallmouth bass spring spots in all of Door County.
Little Sturgeon Bay
Little Sturgeon Bay is a good-sized bay with a nice public boat ramp with multiple lanes for launching. This is a popular bay to launch out of to fish the bay as well as Larsen’s Reef and the open waters of Green Bay. Anglers catch a variety of fish in this bay as you can find a little bit of everything here. There are some deeper waters, shallow waters with rock and sand and even some areas with shallow weeds. Anglers catch smallmouth bass mostly in Little Sturgeon Bay, but northern pike, walleye and perch can be found here too.
Sand Bay is a smaller, shallower bay. If you fish in this bay, you need to be careful because it gets super shallow here. It is basically like fishing a giant flat with a mixture of rocks and sand on the bottom. It can be a good spawning bay for smallmouth bass, but it’s definitely not as good as nearby Rileys Bay and Little Sturgeon Bay.
Home to Potawatomi State Park, Sawyer Harbor is a great place to start your fishing adventure. It has a nice park with camping, bathroom facilities and an excellent boat launch. The waters are shallow here right out of the launch though, so you need to be careful when launching bigger boats out of this harbor.
The fishing is very good in this area with anglers doing well inside the harbor early in the year for smallmouth bass. There is some offshore structure here as well and smallmouth bass will often use this structure as they get ready to move in and spawn. Smallmouth will often be out here after the spawn as well. It’s a decent piece of structure, but it isn’t huge, so if several boats are on it, you will most likely be fishing near other boaters.
When the harbor slows down during the middle of the summer, you are not far from some other good spots in the area.
Potawatomi State Park
3740 Park Dr, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235
Potawatomi State Park on the shore of Sturgeon Bay in southern Door County, has 1,200 acres of gently rolling upland terrain bordered by steep slopes and rugged limestone cliffs. Over two miles of shoreline provide many scenic views and recreational opportunities. A 75-foot observation tower rises above the forest canopy giving a panoramic view. On a clear day, the view from the park’s observation tower reaches 16 miles across Green Bay. There is camping here and boat ramps. The fishing can be very good in this area, especially in the spring for smallmouth bass.
Egg Harbor recently voted one of the coolest small towns in America, offers plenty to do such as festivals, parades, wineries, galleries, shops, restaurants, boating and fishing. Located on the shores of Green Bay in Door County, Egg Harbor is a popular vacation destination.
For the fishermen, Egg Harbor gives you a variety of options. Heading out into Green Bay gives you opportunities to fish for smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, salmon and trout. Spring and fall offer some of the best fishing in the Egg Harbor area for all of the species listed above, but you can do very well up here all summer as well.
Peninsula State Park
9462 Shore Rd, Fish Creek, WI 54212
Located between Fish Creek and Ephraim, is a 3,776-acre state treasure on Wisconsin’s Door County peninsula. Rocky bluffs ascend over 150 feet while deer graze contentedly in abandoned farm fields. Considered Wisconsin’s most complete park, Peninsula is also its most popular camping destination, with 468 campsites. There is a boat launch available here for boaters and fishermen. (920) 868-3258.
Ephraim is a small town in Door County, but it has a lot of appeal to visitors. Peninsula State Park is here and it is one of the best campground locations in the entire midwest. There is an awesome beach in the park and some excellent fishing spots too. Anglers fish the harbor for smallmouth bass early in the year, then they usually go farther offshore from summer through fall. Horseshoe Island is a good piece of structure to fish offshore and it isn’t too far from the boat launch. Some anglers will go farther offshore too as they explore some of the other offshore structure in this area. Smallmouth bass are the primary species of fish here, but anglers also catch northern pike and walleye too.
Sister Bay is a beautiful town on the shores of Green Bay. Because of the Sister Islands and Sister Shoal, this bay is popular for anglers who like to fish the northern part of Door County. Earlier in the year, the shoreline provides some very good fishing for smallmouth bass. Fish the shoreline structures and rocky bottoms with a mixture of sand and rock and you’ll catch some smallmouth bass.
Offshore, smallmouth bass are still the primary game fish here, but walleye and pike are caught here too. On occasion, you may also find some salmon and/or trout in this area. The structure here is a great spot from summer through fall.
The Sister Islands are well-known as being a great smallmouth bass fishing spot, especially for big smallmouths. The island located closest to the Sister Bay shoreline offers anglers a great piece of structure to fish. A reef extends way out off of this island. If the sun is out, it’s very easy to find this piece of structure. If the sun isn’t out, be careful because it is a very easy piece of structure to run into if you aren’t familiar with the area yet.
While the smallmouth bass fishing is what makes this spot so popular, anglers do catch other fish here. With the deeper water here, all it takes is a school of bait fish to move in and you can also catch walleye, northern pike and sometimes even salmon or trout.
Ellison Bay is a small, unincorporated town in the northern part of Door County. The bay here has a lot of deep water, so most anglers that fish this area will be targeting salmon and trout. It is definitely not one of the more popular areas to fish in Door County, so if you’re looking to fish some deep water and hoping to be around less people, this may be a destination for you.
Learn About the Lake Michigan Side
Rowleys Bay is located just south of Newport State Park. Rowleys Bay and the Mink River have been known to offer some good smallmouth bass and northern pike fishing, especially in the spring and fall. The spring is the best time of year to fish this area. The bay has a lot of shallow water in it and the Mink River is fairly shallow as well. Anglers with bigger boats need to be careful when going through the shallows in Rowleys Bay to get into the Mink River.
Baileys Harbor is located in the northeastern part of Door County on the Lake Michigan side. This area has some spectacular views to go along with a marina, a variety of accommodations, rocky coasts and sandy beaches. Baileys Harbor has quite a few fishing charters that operate here as well to help you experience some of the excellent salmon & trout fishing that Door County has to offer.
Baileys Harbor is known for its excellent salmon and trout fishing. The salmon typically start to arrive in good numbers during the month of June and they can be caught all the way through the fall. The summer months of July and August tend to provide some of the best fishing for both numbers and size of salmon, but the fall can be a good time to fish as well. The 4 year old mature King Salmon are located close to the shorelines in the month of September, so anglers can often troll for fish in the 20 pound range fairly close to shore.
Learn About Up North
Gills Rock is a small, unincorporated community located on Highway 42 at the northern tip of the Door Peninsula. This area has a lot of deeper water, so most anglers come up here to target salmon and trout. It’s a beautiful area and most people come up here to get away from the crowds. The salmon and trout fishing is usually much better in the Sturgeon Bay area, but there are fish up here if you want to fish this area.
Newport State Park
475 County Rd NP, Ellison Bay, WI 54210
Located northeast of Ellison Bay, is a 2,400-acre “wilderness park” with 11 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and 3 miles of sand beaches. Newport has more than 40 miles of hiking and mountain bike trails. The park features 16 backpack, walk-in campsites, including several along Europe Lake. Cross-country ski and snowshow trails are open in winter.
There are some good fishing opportunities for salmon and trout around Newport State Park. Most success comes from boats, but there are some anglers that have some success fishing from the shorelines in the fall when the 4 year old salmon move closer to shore for the spawn.
Washington Island is a pretty big island that lies about 7 miles northeast of the tip of the Door Peninsula. The island has a small community of people who call it home with around 700 people calling it home year round. To get to the island, you drive or walk onto the huge ferry that will take you on a scenic 5 mile boat ride.
There are special fishing regulations for bass fishing around Washington Island. The open fishing season for bass runs from July 1 – March 1 and it is for 1/4 of a mile from the shores of the island.
While most anglers come here for the smallmouth bass fishing, it can also be very good for northern pike, salmon and trout. The waves can definitely get big as you get out of the harbor, so you want to make sure you come here with a big enough boat to handle some rougher waters if the winds pick up.
Rock Island State Park
From the Washington Island ferry landing, you will need to travel across the island to the northeast side to get to the Rock Island ferry landing. Some people will take their boats out to Rock Island, but the lake can be dangerous out here if the winds pick up. You really have to be out here with the right boat because if the winds pick up, you could be in trouble in a hurry out here.
For the people that do fish around this island, anglers can target smallmouth bass, northern pike, salmon and trout.