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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Big Grin Some of the best fishing in the Midwest - Everyone loves Fish stories!

    So here is a little secret for you anglers, trollers, and jiggers - Washington Island, Wi has some of the best fishing in the Midwest.

    There have been 4 Nortern Pike caught in the last 3 weeks weighing over 23#'s. The last being a 48.5" 33lbs monster. Two were caught during a local town fishing derby, so they were kept - but the other two, including the 33 pounder were released.

    The Salmon fishing has also been very good for a few years in a row now. The size of the fish aren't real big, but there are good numbers. I went fishing with a friend (who goes out every night July and August) three times this past summer. 1st night we caught 3 - 2nd night 6 - 3rd night 9 - with the biggest one being 19lbs. This was the week before Labor day weekend, well after the peak of early-mid July. My friend keeps track of what his boat catches - over 250, each of the last 4 summers.

    They've even started to catch a few walleye, both trolling in the summer and jigging through the ice in the winter.

    The Rock Bass and Yellow Perch are still a little lacking - but you can catch dinner on a good day.

    I'm not sure of this last October's stats - but in Oct of '07 during a 20 boat (40 men) one week tournament there were 112 5-lb 11 6+lb and one 7+lb Smallmouth Bass caught. These were all catch and release.

    The county record was caught in Jackson Harbor about 10 years ago and I saw the dam* thing just two days before it was caught.

    I was fishing with my uncle Harvey and another man Norb - Big-Norb to his friends (6'5" 300lbs.) - It was a sunny July day about 10 in the morning, my senior year of high school was two months away. We were in Jackson Harbor on the northeast corner of Washington Island, Wi. Rock Island State Park was in the background (Great Camping!). The Harbor is very protected, average depth of about 10ft. It's about 3/4 of a mile wide with a mix of sand bar and seaweed bottom.

    I was on one side of Norb's 18 foot lund, reeling in my bait - I looked down and saw a HUGE fish about 4 feet down swim right under the boat where I was sitting "Holy crap, that thing was Enormous!" I yelled. "It was like this long!" as I held my hands about 2 1/2 feet apart

    Harvey looked over with a raised eyebrow, "it must have been a carp"

    "no, I know what a carp looks like - it was a bass - no doubt."

    The faces staring at me could've been described as skeptical, but it was more dissmissive than that.

    After another 10 minutes of fishing, I saw a shadow go under the boat between Harvey and I.

    "There it is Harvey!"

    "That was a Carp."

    "NO, it wasn't."

    10 more minutes of fishing.

    "Norb's got one on!" Harvey exclaimed. " Grab the dip-net."

    As Norb battled with his soon to be prize - I reeled in my worm and reached for the short, blue net. After a couple of minutes, and even more runs of line - the bass rose from the murk, head shaking, refusing to give in. Another run, and he dissappeared - finally, the medium weight pool stopped shaking and Norb gained line. As the fish again came into sight we were surprised to see another following him in - but even more shocking was the size of the pursuer.

    "Look at the size him!" Norb boomed, struggling to get his trophy to the boat.

    The second fish swam off as I eased the net under Norb's victim. All three of us, looked at each other, wide-eyed, teeth showing, lips curled up.

    "I told you so."

    Norb's smallmouth was 20 inches long and nearly weighed 5 lbs - the other bass dwarfed it. We tried for a while longer, caught a couple more keepers before the small perch started stealing bait. We never saw that bass again, but we heard about him.

    Two days later another fisherman in Jackson Harbor caught a 28.5" 8lb 11 oz Smallmouth. I'd like to think it wasn't the one I saw, that he is bigger and out there - still swimming with the carp.

    This past year wasn't quite as good - my uncle only had 6 1-gallon zip lock bags of fillets froze going into winter. One of the reasons our Smallmouth fishery is so good is that the season doesn't open on the Island until July 1. It allows them to get off there nests most years.


    I could keep going, but the bottomline is - if you like to fish, camp and just relax, Washington Island is a place you should visit.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Menominee, MI, USA
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Jesse,

    We've been fishing off Whales Back shoal in the bay the last few years and have had a blast catching salmon. Whales back is probably 16 miles pretty much due west from the island in Green Bay. We launch out of Cedar River, MI. What a blast latching on to a 20lbr and wondering if you have enough line.

    Can't catch those in Dane county.

    Fred

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default One Life to Live

    I wanna go! I wanna go! I'm GONNA go!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default

    Hi Jesse
    We were seriously trying to figure out how to get away for a few days end of June/beginning of July to Canada fishing. Maybe we should head over your way instead. Heard no mention of Walleyes though, none of them in your area?

    Maybe we could even tour the brewery.
    Sheri

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Cool

    Well, it would take you more than a couple of days to tour the brewery and catch fish here - the brewery is actually in Middleton - but we could give you a tour of the wheat fields and then you could catch some fish. Come on up Sheri, I know I could get you and John on a 32' salmon boat - free of charge.

    There are Walleye - the locals haven't figured it out how to catch them yet. They tend to be in water depths between that of Salmon and Smallmouth. My uncle Harv caught one trolling for salmon this past summer. One of the bartenders at our tavern caught a 11lbs 7 oz one through the ice on a tip-up last winter.

    I promise you they are around though - we've had more than a few "accidental" catches in our commerical nets - it's hard throwing them back! and they get big - we've had numerous ones in the 12-14lbs range.

    There were some fisherman in the UP that were catching them illegally with nets this winter through the ice. Up in the garden penninsula, about 20 miles north of the island. The DNR lifted the nets and implanted some of the fish with tracking devices to find out where they were selling the fish to. When they finally decided to come down on them - they caught the guys with 1200' of net and ONLY 256lbs of walleye. The DNR knew something was up last year as the numbers sold didn't match the numbers bought.

    I'm not sure of any more details - my dad speculates that they must have left ice shanties 300' apart (the length of a standard net) and needed 5 shanties to connect the nets together - left the buildings there and lifted the nets every couple of days.

    My Uncle Tom always goes to Minnesota to go walleye fishing - and we're catching them in our nets and throwing them back at the same time.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 07-18-2009 at 08:53 AM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Wink Just stay on your side

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Yooper View Post
    Jesse,

    We've been fishing off Whales Back shoal in the bay the last few years and have had a blast catching salmon. Whales back is probably 16 miles pretty much due west from the island in Green Bay. We launch out of Cedar River, MI. What a blast latching on to a 20lbr and wondering if you have enough line.

    Can't catch those in Dane county.

    Fred

    We actually set some commercial nets near Whaleback sometimes around this time for whitefish - be careful not to get too far east or south - I don't want the DNR giving you a ticket for fishing in wisconsin waters

    and no - you don't catch those in Dane county
    Last edited by Jesse; 03-16-2009 at 06:16 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Menominee, MI, USA
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
    I don't want the DNR giving you a ticket for fishing in wisconsin waters
    We buy both WI and MI licenses because a lot of the fishing we do is in Wisconsin. They keep painting the line out there but it never seems to last very long.

    Fred

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Menominee, MI, USA
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnK and Sheri View Post
    Heard no mention of Walleyes though, none of them in your area?
    Just accross the Bay (Green Bay) of Washington Island is Bay de Noc and Little Bay de Noc. They have excellent walley fishing in those bays. It's an area where people come from all over to fish.

    http://www.baydenoc.com/index.htm

    Fred

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Smile

    The whole bay is filling up with walleye - thanks to u Yoopers!

    Michigan has been planting them for years. They are really thriving on gobies - an invasive from the Baltic.

    Maybe you've seen them around a dock Fred - they look like over grown tad-poles. They are a real pest when you are fishing for perch or smallmouth - they sit on bottom and steal your worm. Some even use them for Smallmouth bait when they catch them.

    I just kill'm - they eat other fish's spawn, could be a detriment to some populations of sport and commerical fish if the conditions allow it.
    Last edited by Bizzybee; 07-18-2009 at 08:54 AM. Reason: Unnecessary quoting

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Menominee, MI, USA
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Jesse,

    You grow things, raise bees and do some commercial fishing... What are you going back to school to study? Are you selling everything (land, home and such) or do you plan to go back to the island after you graduate? As beautiful as the island is I couldn't imagine living on it. I'm a boonies kind of guy but that is a little over the top with having to take a ferry to go anywhere. Just curious...

    I haven't noticed the gobies but now I have something new to watch for. I probably kill a few every year when I slip off the tongue of the trailer while trailering the boat and step on them. Glad to know my wet feet are getting wet for a reason.

    Fred

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Owen, WI, USA
    Posts
    2,553

    Default

    Hi Jesse
    Sounds like a blast, I will talk to John!
    Sheri

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Smile

    [QUOTE=Da Yooper;405640]Jesse,

    You grow things, raise bees and do some commercial fishing... What are you going back to school to study? Are you selling everything (land, home and such) or do you plan to go back to the island after you graduate? As beautiful as the island is I couldn't imagine living on it. I'm a boonies kind of guy but that is a little over the top with having to take a ferry to go anywhere. Just curious...


    Well Fred - I'm 28, newly married to a beautiful Russian exchange student, rent my home, own one small lot, and have a lot of my stuff still in boxes from the last time I moved.

    I am a 6th generation Islander - so the family has some resources - but the way land prices took off in the late 90's and on - someone starting out with the available income on the island cannot afford to buy a home unless it were on a land contract. My mom sold a 20 in 1999 for 2,500 an acre - a nearby 20 sold for 7,000 an acre last year.

    My dad bought a potato farm out in 1979 - 347 acres for 245 per acre- because of taxes and building a restaurant/tavern - he's down to 66 acres, if it wasn't for the organic farming the last 4 years, he'd probably have less.

    His mother still owns the family dairy farm that they grew up on - only there's no livestock of any kind and the barn is falling down (working on it this year).

    So I have a lot of family with permanent ties - but that's what has kept me here - that, and waiting for my wife!

    I own a lot of stuff*, but the only things not easily moved are my bees and that small (1.48 ac) lot.

    I was a business management major at UW Green Bay - I'm going to go to Madison for Wildlife Ecology - possibly double major in Entomology - IF I get in spring term of '10.

    I don't know if we'll ever move back - I would like to own a home on the Island, it will always be a part of me

    Either way, now is time for a change.
    Last edited by Jesse; 03-16-2009 at 06:19 PM. Reason: messed up

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Default

    here are a few websites to check out if anyone is interested - the basic sites can be a little redundant and some others need to be updated.

    basic Island sites:

    www.washingtonislandchamber.com

    www.wisferry.com

    www.washingtonisland.com

    Where my wife teaches yoga:

    www.washingtonislandfiddlersgreen.com

    Where our organic wheat goes:

    www.deathsdoorspirits.com (vodka, whiskey)

    www.capital-brewery.com (Island Wheat Ale, Rustic Ale)

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Menominee, MI, USA
    Posts
    276

    Default

    But who's got the 32 footer and salmon fishes?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Da Yooper View Post
    But who's got the 32 footer and salmon fishes?

    That would be Bill - he is from South Dakota he comes up in June and stays until September - he and my uncle Harv are the ones that fish every night

    It is a SWEET boat - named Mr. Bill - catamaran style 14' wide, I think the model is Pacific(a?) 3200 - twin diesels 660hp total - will do 35 knots with a two speed transmission and handles 5' seas easy - if you aren't a landlubber

    NOT a good boat for water skiing - it shoots a rostertail about 100' back

    4 downriggers - we used to fish 6 lines when I was on board, but they tangle enough with 4 lines when there is a strong current.

    Feel free to come over to the dark side Fred - I can give you a tour from an Islander's perspective.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,385

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
    Feel free to come over to the dark side Fred - I can give you a tour from an Islander's perspective.
    Jesse -

    Perhaps I'll pay you a visit this year. It's been many years since I was last on Washington Island, but I make it up to Sister Bay a couple times each year as our family has a place there. Looks like there's plenty of stout on hand at the Fiddler Green.
    Regards, Barry

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Jesse -

    Perhaps I'll pay you a visit this year. It's been many years since I was last on Washington Island, but I make it up to Sister Bay a couple times each year as our family has a place there. Looks like there's plenty of stout on hand at the Fiddler Green.
    I'd be honored to meet you and your family. Sister Bay is only 20 minutes from the ferry. Be sure to take your car across. Pick a nice day in July or August, drop the family at Schoolhouse Beach - just down the street from Fiddler's Green - great place to relax. Then you can go and eat some lawyers (burbot) at the family restaurant or a fishboil if you stay late on a Saturday.

    Washington Island is home to the first Door County fishboil (it matters to the locals)
    The whitefish usually were swimming about 6 hours before they go in the pot - the only way you can get them fresher is if you cook'm on the boat.

    I'll give you a personal tour or recommend places to visit if you wish.

    Let me know when you can make it, I'll roll out the red carpet.
    Last edited by Jesse; 03-18-2009 at 08:09 PM. Reason: speling

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Location
    DuPage County, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,385

    Default

    Sounds like an offer I can't refuse!
    We haven't made our summer plans yet, but we'll include a visit to the Island this time. No kids will be along, just wife and I. I believe it was on the Island where we had the fish boil last time. Do they have a fly-in day or weekend along with the fish boil? Where ever it was, people were flying in from all over in their small aircraft.
    Regards, Barry

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Menominee, MI, USA
    Posts
    276

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse View Post
    4 downriggers - we used to fish 6 lines when I was on board, but they tangle enough with 4 lines when there is a strong current.
    Here's our setup. This was taken a couple years ago in the Menominee river when we were fishing for salmon in the fall.



    We also run four down riggers and two dipsey poles for a total of 6. Sometimes if it is calm enough we put out 2 full core of lead and run 8. It's no 32' but we have a blast. Won't cut through the waves like the one you are describing.

    Feel free to come over to the dark side Fred - I can give you a tour from an Islander's perspective.
    I might just take you up on that. We are in Door County a few times a year. My wife's half sister lives close to Sturgeon Bay. And we love the Honey Crisp apples in the fall.

    Have a great day,
    Fred
    Last edited by Da Yooper; 03-19-2009 at 08:38 PM. Reason: Missing word.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Washington Island, Wi
    Posts
    350

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Sounds like an offer I can't refuse!
    We haven't made our summer plans yet, but we'll include a visit to the Island this time. No kids will be along, just wife and I. I believe it was on the Island where we had the fish boil last time. Do they have a fly-in day or weekend along with the fish boil? Where ever it was, people were flying in from all over in their small aircraft.

    Yep -that was the annual fly-in fish boil put on by the local Lion's Club. It's usually in mid-July - around 200 small planes flying in from all over the midwest to land on our little grass airstrips. They've served over 700 people before. Definately not as good as our fishboil IMHO.

    PM me when you know your schedule

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