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Tips on Kayak Fishing in Door County

As I’m out fishing in my boat or one of my kayaks, I see many recreational kayakers and some kayak anglers.  I’m always a little surprised that I don’t see more kayak anglers.  But, with the big waters of Green Bay and Lake Michigan surrounding Door County, it can be a little intimidated.


I know how they feel, but with all the protected bays and places to launch, even with the windy conditions, there’s usually a safe place to put in and fish.  As I’ve mentioned in the past, it’s important to stay somewhat close to shore, pay attention to changing conditions, wear your PFD, have your phone in a waterproof bag and let someone know where you are and how long you plan to stay on the water.  


Since being ranked near or at the top for bass fishing by Bassmasters Magazine in 2014 and 2015 much has changed.  Since that point, with a tremendous amount of added fishing pressure the smallmouth bass fishery seems to have declined.  In fact, this year Sturgeon Bay did not get ranked in the top 25 for just the central part of the country.  This being noted, it still can be a great day on the water chasing smallmouth bass, just don’t expect the numbers you might have experienced prior to that top ranking.  And, you still have a decent shot at your personal best smallie.  With the extra pressure we’ve seen and numbers down, it more important than every to practice catch and release, and if you fish in the spring, please do not fish for male bass guarding nests!


Here is my tip for two great presentations to give you a good shot at catching and releasing some smallies.   One is swimming a Keitech FAT Swing 2.8 or 3.3 swimbait on a light 3/32-to-1/8-ounce mushroom head jig and the other is using the Ned Rig fishing on the bottom.  For the Ned Rig I mostly use a 1/15-to-1/10-ounce mushroom head jig with one of the buoyant Z-Man soft plastic lures like the Finesse TRD or TRD TubeZ.  With the buoyancy they stand up off the bottom and are hard for the smallie to resist.


Good luck if you give our Door County smallie fishing a shot and as always, if you have any questions email me at


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