Islanders Mourn the Loss of a Sportsman: New memorial prize honors Bradley Jordan

Thousands of anglers hoping to hook into the fish of a lifetime during the annual Kewaunee/Door (K/D) County Salmon Tournament are dreaming of the big one that doesn’t get away.

While some will celebrate their catches with friends and family this weekend, others in the tight-knit community of Washington Island will be mourning the tragic loss of one of their own: 23-year-old Bradley Jordan, who died in a motorcycle accident near Baileys Harbor Sunday evening.

Family friend Derek Olson said Jordan brought life to everyone he knew.

“He lived to hunt and fish, and loved participating in the K/D tournament every year with lifelong friends,” Olson said. “Bradley was the kind of guy who would take rookies out to catch the first salmon, teach them the ropes, share tips and pass along a hot lure or two.”

Jordan was returning to Sturgeon Bay after a weekend trip to the island, where he grew up. He had attended a Door County League baseball game to support friends like 19-year-old Ryan Jorgenson.

“We grew up together, went to school and played basketball together, and hunted and fished together,” Jorgenson said. “He always had a positive attitude, no matter what.”

(From left) Bradley Jordan, Steve Ervin and Ryan Jorgenson battled a trio of salmon near Washington Island last summer. Photo by Eric Theur.

Jorgenson ordered a canvas photo of Jordan with a fish that he plans to hang in his boat.

The two regularly competed in the K/D tournament, with Jorgenson always calling Jordan to tell him he was not stepping on the boat without a ticket.

“This year I’m going to buy him a ticket and put it in his casket, so he’s always out there fishing with us,” Jorgenson said.

In Jordan’s honor, Olson said friends and family on the island have created the Bradley Jordan Memorial Prize ($400 and a name on a plaque as the inaugural winner), which will be awarded to the person who registers the heaviest salmon on Washington Island during this year’s tournament.

Saturday’s memorial runs 10 am – 12:30 pm, with a funeral service to follow at 1 pm. 

K/D Tournament Notes

The 41st annual Kewaunee/Door (K/D) County Salmon Tournament runs through 12 pm on Sunday, July 23, with daily port prizes for the heaviest Chinooks weighed at B&K Bait and Tackle at Mann’s Mercantile on Washington Island, Baileys 57 in Baileys Harbor, Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay, Algoma BP and Yacht Works Kewaunee. 

The final payout – which includes cash prizes of $15,000, $8,000 and $5,000 for the top three fish, plus other prizes – runs well past 100 places.

Last year’s contest lured a record 3,310 entrants. 

A winning salmon in excess of 30 pounds has been landed 25 times, including 11 years in a row from 1989 to 1999, and eight straight since 2015. A 40.07-pound giant taken in 1993 holds the tournament record. 

How big will the winning fish be this year? Many believe it’ll again take 30 pounds or more. Though such giants have been extremely rare this season, a 36.72-pounder weighed in a tournament on the Michigan side this summer shows the potential. 

Tickets – $30 for all 10 days, or $20 for one day – include a chance to win a 9.9-horsepower Yamaha outboard motor from Shipyard Island Marina. Track the leaderboard at

License Fee Hike

The first hunting and fishing license fee increase in nearly 20 years – affecting only nonresidents – will begin in 2024 as a result of the recently signed state budget. Current licenses are valid through March 31, 2024.

Fee hikes range from $5 (individual one-day fishing) to $40 (gun deer). Wisconsin had some of the lowest nonresident license fees in the nation prior to the increase.

The new nonresident fishing fees are as follows: one-day fishing, $15; four-day fishing, $29; 15-day fishing, $33; annual fishing, $55; family 15-day, $45; family annual, $70.

The new nonresident hunting fees include five-day small game, $60; turkey, $65; annual small game, $90; archery and crossbow deer, $165; fur-bearing animal, $165; gun deer, $200; Sports, $295; Conservation Patron, $620.

The last time when license fees for residents or nonresidents increased was in 2005.

Weekly Water Levels

Green Bay and Lake Michigan water levels are down five inches since last July – part of a 30-inch drop since the all-time monthly high set in 2020. Water levels are still four inches above the long-term July average, and three feet higher than the record low from 1964.

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