Wild Things: Bundle Up for Trout Tournament April 13-16

More than $8,000 is on the line for anglers fishing in the bay and lake

by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected], Peninsula Pulse contributor

Temperatures are expected to warm up next week, but it’ll still feel like winter on the water during the annual Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament, set for April 13-16. Hundreds of anglers will bundle up and head out for a shot at $8,000 in cash and prizes, should they catch a fish that’s big enough to grab one of the top 40 spots.

Depending on what Mother Nature throws at ’em for wind speed and direction, trollers and casters may target one side of the peninsula or the other, and there could still be some chunks of floating ice to dodge, too. The event allows fishing on both Green Bay and Lake Michigan waters off Door and Kewaunee counties.

Entry tickets cost $25, and all anglers need a ticket before they fish. They’re available for purchase at Baileys 57 in Baileys Harbor; Cherryland Shell, Greystone Castle and Howie’s Tackle in Sturgeon Bay; Hooked Up Tackle in Algoma; Yacht Works Kewaunee; and Virlee Gunworks’ New Franken location.

Learn more about the event at Once it starts, keep up with the catches at

Meanwhile, the Blue Door Tournament series at Kewaunee is hosting a 50-boat brown trout derby April 22 and an Offshore Challenge multi-species salmon and trout event June 24. Find out the latest at

Vote April 10-13

All citizens – Wisconsin residents and nonresidents alike – have a chance to influence future fish and wildlife rules via the annual spring Department of Natural Resources and Wisconsin Conservation Congress fish and wildlife questionnaire. For the fourth straight year, it will be an online-only process whose 72-hour voting window will begin April 10 at 12 pm and end April 13 at 12 pm.

Citizens can provide input on dozens of questions or vote only on issues that are important to them. Instead of skipping questions altogether, there’s an option to answer “no opinion” on most questions, which helps in data collection. 

Although the results are advisory only and nonbinding, they sometimes lead to rule changes. See the questions (available now) and any local resolutions (they weren’t linked earlier this week, but they will be by Monday) at

Wisconsin Third in Hunters

The Archery Trade Association, working with the National Deer Association and state wildlife agencies, says there were more than 3.7 million licensed bowhunters for the 2021-22 season. 

The report found that Wisconsin had the third-most deer hunters at more than 615,000 – trailing Texas, with 756,000, and Pennsylvania, with 646,000 – but the Badger State was second only to Pennsylvania in the number of hunters using a bow or crossbow (307,450 versus 331,000). 

Reliable, consistent data is difficult to obtain because each state collects information differently. Regardless, the new report is thought to be the first comprehensive look at the number of hunting archers and crossbow users in the United States. Data for each state is available by searching “2021 State-by-State Hunting Data, 3.7 Million Bowhunters in America.” 

Talkin’ Turkeys

The state’s annual youth turkey hunt will be held April 15-16. It’s an opportunity for those 15 and younger to use their spring permit before the regular season begins.

Eligible youths must have a license, stamp and harvest authorization for any spring 2023 period. If successful, that permit is no longer valid. If not, they may try again during the week for which it is designated.

Youths who haven’t completed hunter education must be accompanied by a qualified adult under the mentored hunting program. Learn more at

New-License Time

The 2022-23 license year ended March 31, so if you haven’t already done so, pick up a new fishing license – and salmon and trout stamps as needed – before you head out. Get them wherever licenses are sold, or online at

New 2023-24 fishing regulations are out as well, but if your favorite shop doesn’t have the print copy yet, check online at

Wild-Game Feed Invitation

Visitors are welcome to attend a wild-game dinner Saturday, April 22, 5:30 pm, at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Highway 54 at Rankin, about three miles west of Algoma. 

There’s no charge, but attendees are asked to share a favorite wild-game dish, side or dessert. There will also be door prizes and speakers discussing local fishing, hunting and wildlife news. 

Questions? E-mail [email protected] or call 920.487.2005.

Lake Levels to Rise

As of March 31, Lake Michigan was six inches above its long-term average and 35 inches above the record monthly low, set in 1964. The lake has dropped five inches during the past year and 30 inches since the record high in March 2020.

Heavy rain last weekend and runoff from melting snow have jump-started the seasonal rise, and lake levels are expected to increase by at least four inches this month.