Fishing in Wisconsin:
Cast Your Line in Door County
Enjoy Some of Wisconsin’s Best Fishing Spots
Flanked on either side by Green Bay and Lake Michigan, the waters off the Door County peninsula and Washington Island offer some the best fishing in the country. Sturgeon Bay, recently named by Bassmasters as one of the world’s best spots for bass fishing, is the hub of the angler community, but towns throughout the county have developed their fishing industries to make sure you land your best lunker.
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5 Good-to-Knows About Fishing in Door County
- Fishing in Door County: While Sturgeon Bay may have been named the number one spot for bass fishing in the country, the rest of the county waters—from the Green Bay on the west to Lake Michigan on the east—feature trout, salmon, whitefish, walleye, northern pike, and perch.
- Fishing in Green Bay: The calmer waters of Green Bay will ensure a good harvest of brown trout and walleye in the spring and even more walleye in the fall. The Sturgeon Bay Canal and surrounding waters into Green Bay are where smallmouth bass are rampant. Those are the waters that served the Bassmasters Angler of the Year Championship in 2015.
- Fishing in Lake Michigan: Launching into the lake water on the east side of the peninsula, you can expect to find record trout and salmon. Gills Rock has frequently been the site of chinook salmon stocking by the Department of Natural Resources, and although salmon season doesn’t end, the open season for lake trout is March 1–October 31.
- Ice Fishing in Door County: In just the past few years, ice fishing in Door County has added to the winter appeal of the county. Whether you need a charter service to set you up out on the ice or want to launch your own boat onto the frozen water, Door County can be your year-round fishing destination.
- Fishing in Inland Waters: At many of the county’s inland lakes—including Clark Lake, Europe Lake and Kangaroo Lake—you will find panfish such as bluegill and perch. The calmer inland waters are some of the best fishing lakes in Wisconsin and allow anglers to fish from vessels as simple as kayaks.
Leave No Trace: Fishing Basics
Know Before You Go
Safety comes first when you’re on the water. Wear a life jacket when fishing on any water vessel. Use caution when baiting or removing hooks. Handle fish carefully, and, if using a knife, be sure your blade is sharp and probably stored when not in use.
When ice fishing in winter months, be aware of changing weather and ice conditions. Always recheck the conditions before venturing out on the ice. Avoid going onto the ice if it has melted away from the shore. This indicates melting is underway, and ice can shift position as wind direction changes. Make sure you are aware of any special regulations or restrictions on fishing in the areas you plan to visit. Don’t forget that anyone 16 or older who is planning to fish must obtain and carry a fishing license before throwing their first cast.
Trash Your Trash
Inspect your fishing area for leftover trash before leaving. Pack out all monofilament fishing line, leftover live bait, and bait cups. Monofilament fishing line in particular can be dangerous or potentially fatal for local wildlife who may swallow or become tangled in it. Make sure all trash is probably stowed so that it does not become litter.
Leave What You Find
After taking your boat out of the water and before storing it at a new location, be sure to clean, drain, and dry your vessel. This will help stop the spread of damaging invasive species, such as Zebra Mussels or Eurasian Water-Milfoil, from being introduced into new bodies of water in Door County and beyond.
Get Onboard: Don’t Forget a Fishing License
Most bait shops and fishing charters sell fishing licenses, which are required for all Wisconsin residents and out-of-state visitors over the age of 16. Depending on resident status and the license duration, a license can cost anywhere between $8–65. The state offers family licenses as well as multi-day licenses for anglers on a long weekend.
Take to the Lake: Rent a Fishing Charter
The county’s robust fishing industry is complemented by professional-level charter services that operate throughout the year, offering a no-hassle way to fish the waters of Door County. Most companies provide a guide and all the gear required to harvest the waters and handle processing and packaging for everything you catch.