35th K/D Salmon Tournament next weekend
More than $50,000 in cash and prizes will be on the line when the largest chinook-only fishing contest on the Great Lakes, the Kewaunee/Door County Salmon Tournament, starts its 35th run next Saturday.
Last year, a record 3,049 tickets were sold, roughly half at Algoma and Kewaunee. Sturgeon Bay, Baileys Harbor and Washington Island are the other ports involved.
With an alewife die-off behind us and the prime mid-July feeding period underway, salmon fever is heating up. The moon phase — waning now toward total darkness opening weekend of the event — should also help drive a good bite.
There’s little doubt it’ll take a 30-plus-pounder to win the top prize of $10,000 cash, a free mount from Scott Mansur’s Northland Taxidermy of Algoma and a silver salmon ring custom-made by Paul Spanbauer of wisconsincharm.com.
After failing to top 30 pounds seven straight years from 2004 to 2010, four of the past six K/D winners caught 30-plus-pounders. Last year’s top fish, 35.46 pounds, was the heaviest since 1999.
On Tuesday, two charters reported 32-pound-class “kings,” one at Baileys Harbor and the other at Algoma. Photos of those beasts, and others, can be seen on the K/D Salmon Tournament page on Facebook.
Trophy-size fish are still rare, but even a 15- to 25-pound maturing chinook puts up an amazing fight that can lock up forearms and test your patience.
K/D participants who haven’t already done so should buy their tickets no later than Monday to get in on the early-bird draw for a number of prizes, including a GoPro Hero5 Black camera.
No matter when bought, all ticket buyers will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a Yamaha 9.9 horsepower motor from Shipyard Island Marina.
There’s also a $500 cash bonus from Nicolet Bank that’ll go to the lucky angler who lands in the 35th-place spot.
New K/D clothing and hats are available now. See the 2017 lineup and get your tickets — $13 for a one-day chance or $25 for the entire nine days — at Algoma BP, Kewaunee Marina or Lakeshore Lighthouse.
Anglers hungry for a meal of yellow perch are finding a few fish off Kewaunee County in the Dyckesville area, but you’ll need to do a lot of hunting to get in on the action.
Perch at all locations — whether Dyckesville, Sugar Creek, Chaudoir’s Dock or the Little Sturgeon Bay to Sturgeon Bay stretch — school in a wide variety of locations.
Shallow weeds, mid-range rocky reefs or deeper mud flats all hold perch at various times, and you often need to move around a lot to find fish of the right size to put a meal in the frying pan.
Perch are still around in pretty good numbers, but a lot of them are on the smaller side of seven inches, considered by many to be the minimum “keeper” size.
Round gobies and freshwater drum (sheepshead) are abundant, and tend to steal a lot of bait. Other common catches are bass (rock, smallmouth and white) and catfish.
Best perch depths vary by location, and are generally 5-15 feet in the weeds, 15-25 feet on reefs and 25-50 feet over mud flats. Minnows, worms, crab tails and other live baits work best.
Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be reached at [email protected] or (920) 883-9792.
This article originally appeared on Wisconsin: 35th K/D Salmon Tournament next weekend