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.