Chunky salmon, trout biting in Kewaunee County
For most Lake Michigan anglers, it’s a good trip when you hook a couple salmon and trout.
If you’re limited to casting off the pier, that might even be a good week, or month, for that matter.
So imagine how thrilled an early-season charter group was when it tied into more than 20 “silver fish” early Tuesday at Algoma, landing a dozen rainbow trout (steelhead) and five chinook salmon (kings).
That’s the type of explosive action that can be had when you get on a pod of predators on the big lake.
After a windy week, the forecast is for lighter winds Friday, Saturday and perhaps even the first part of Sunday, which should make for an ideal opportunity to explore off shore.
Alewives are in the rivers and nearshore areas for spring spawning, which could attract multiple trout and salmon species. For the most part, though, you’ll need to head farther out for a more consistent steelhead and salmon bite.
The fish look to be in excellent shape. A good number of them have been larger than 10 pounds.
Meanwhile, yellow perch season is open on Green Bay waters, but remains closed until June 16 on Lake Michigan and the Ahnapee and Kewaunee rivers.
The muskie season opens Saturday on Green Bay, with a 55-inch minimum size limit. A 60-inch-class muskie in the 40-pound-plus range was caught and released by an angler targeting bass in Little Sturgeon Bay. See the photo and read the story on muskyhunter.com.
On the inland lakes, bass and panfish are starting to move into the nearshore shallows. Look for them especially on warmer, sunny days.
Three recent smallmouth bass tournaments headquartered in southern Door County produced some real trophies, including a 7-pound, 3-ounce giant in a North American Bass Circuit event headquartered out of Wave Pointe two weekends back.
Last weekend, the wind was brutal on competitors in the 27th annual Sturgeon Bay Open held out of Wave Pointe. Only 107 of 129 teams that signed up weighed fish, and just 67 teams weighed fish both days. Some that didn’t do well the first day skipped the second.
Canadian teams took the top spots, including winners Dave Bennett and Mark Libitka. Their 10 bass in two days scaled out at 50.85 pounds and included a 6.64-pounder. A 6.78-pound smallie was the event’s largest.
A week earlier, the heaviest in the second annual Sturgeon Bay Bass Tournament out of Sawyer Park was a 6.47-pounder, and the winners — Adam Rasmussen of Stevens Point and Benny Antoniewicz of Ringle — averaged 5.75 pounds on 10 fish.
In the NABC event, David Eggers of Indiana and Tad Hepler of Michigan won with 26 pounds, 13 ounces on a five-fish tourney limit.
It’s National Safe Boating Week, and the U.S. Coast Guard is spreading a message of safe, responsible use of the waterways.
In 2015, more than 1,400 accidents were attributed to operator inexperience, operator inattention or from not having a proper lookout, which resulted in nearly 900 injuries and 112 fatalities.
Just like the driver of a car is responsible for the safety of his/her passengers by knowing the rules of the road, having proper emergency gear, driving defensively, keeping aware of other vehicles and hazards, and knowing how to call for help, it is imperative that boat operators recognize the same responsibility.
The Coast Guard recommends a boating safety course to learn the “rules of the road” and safety best practices. To find a course near you, check out www.cgaux.org/boatinged.
• Make sure you have quality life jackets on board for every passenger and that they’re easily accessible. Better yet, wear them!
• Designate a lookout to monitor the surroundings for other boats, swimmers, kayaks, floating debris and traffic around breakwalls and piers.
• Always check the weather before you go and continue to monitor the forecast. Conditions can change rapidly.
• Let someone on land know where you are going and when you expect to return.
• Don’t drink and boat. Alcohol is the leading known contributing factor in fatal boating. The marine environment — motion, vibration, engine noise, sun and wind — can accelerate a drinker’s impairment.
• The danger of tipping a kayak or canoe and falling victim to hypothermia is real. For tips on safe paddling, visit www.americancanoe.org.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be reached by emailing [email protected] or calling 920-883-9792.
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin: Chunky salmon, trout biting in Kewaunee County