Door County ( Ice Out Brown Trout)

The best time to plan a trip to Door County is during the spring!

Some call Door County on lake Michigan’s northwest coast the best Brown Trout fishing mega in the Country. The region produces awesome catches every Spring and is in the midst of a trolling boom!

Large numbers of Brown Trout congregate around the peninsula-shaped county. The numerous harbors and bays offer cover, structure, warm water pockets and large schools of bait fish, in addition to a varied layout that features a lake bottom with rocks, bounders, troughs, bars and frequent drop-offs.

Fishing begins shortly after ice-out and is outstanding through May. The structure found along the west shore is ideal and is known to concentrate large amounts of “beer belly” Browns. Superb fishing is concentrated from Fish Creek to Juddville, although good catches come from Gills Rock to Sand Bay. Some trollers prefer to work the offshore reefs found near Washington Island and the Rock Island State Park. Other hotspots found on the east side of the county include: Baileys Harbor, Jacksonport, Cave Point and the coast along Sturgeon Bay.

Pound for pound, there is no other Freshwater fish that matches the fighting ability of a Brown Trout! Although, Kings might give a good argument! I once caught a 12 LB brown that I thought was at least an 18 LB King, by the way it fought.

Lake Michigan Door County browns are awesomely fat! The are highly regarded by most fishermen as the hardest striking, strongest fighting freshwater fish there is.  The growth rate for Door Country Brown Trout is phenomenal! Fish that are three and four years old weigh from ten to fifteen pounds and are 25 to 30 inches long.

Brown trout are extremely spooky and will often shy away from the commotion of many boats, or even one at times. A good chop on the water seems to put them at ease though.  Planer board trolling methods reins supreme, especially in the spring when browns are prowling the shore lines and shallows.

Usually when you locate water in the 41 to 45 degree range, you can pretty well count on finding a few active brown trout in the immediate area.
Depending on boat traffic we troll six lines, four on planer boards and two tail gunners straight out the back on flat lines. A typical set-up will have a Rapala running 100 to 150′ behind the planer board and anywhere from 40 to 100′ of tow line from the planer board to the boat. I like to run all different types of Rapalas but F9’s and J9’s probably get top billing. Thunder Sticks, Rebels, Junior Thunder sticks, Rogues and just about any other kind of stick bait can be used as well. I have caught browns on just about every color made, but I normally will start with bright ones.
Be sure to read my article on longline trolling for browns:   http://www.greatlakestrollingflies.com/articles/browns/
Troolers  by the hundreds frequent this area in the spring. Book your place to stay now, when you are bored!
Thanks for looking…..Good Luck!

Category: Salmon & Trout

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