Wild Things: Door Dominates Early Results

Baileys Harbor is the hottest spot in the K/D Salmon Tourney

by KEVIN NAZE, [email protected]

Four 30-pound-plus salmon were already on the board through the first four and a half days of the Kewaunee/Door (K/D) County Salmon Tournament, which runs through 12 pm on Sunday. At the time of this writing, 23 of the top 25 were caught off Door County, including a trio of “30s” registered at Baileys 57 in Baileys Harbor.

Walter Zdaniewicz of Spring Grove, Illinois, reeled in a 32.02-pounder Sunday morning while fishing with his son-in-law, Shawn Nicholas of Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and grandsons Andrew and Danny. The trophy hit a Moonshine spoon off a deep downrigger. 

“It was great,” Zdaniewicz said. “We caught six of eight. This one didn’t even fight as hard as the 24-pounder we registered – maybe five to 10 minutes. It was very exciting, but we didn’t know it was so big until we got it into the net. We had a hell of a time getting it out of the water.”

Zdaniewicz said the fish was nearly twice the size of his previous biggest salmon. 

“It was fun,” Zdaniewicz said. “To have the grandsons in the boat, that’s what it’s all about – the memories.”

Kari Baumann of Baileys 57 poses with a mount of last year’s winning fish, a 35.65-pound salmon landed on Lake Michigan off Baileys Harbor. Photo by Kevin Naze.

Elisebeth Teskie of Green Bay was in second, with a 30.94-pounder that hit a spoon early Tuesday morning; and Jim Loos of Wausau was in third with another spoon-fed king: a 30.54-pounder that hit hours before sunset Monday night.

Sturgeon Bay fish held five of the next seven spots, with the others being caught off Washington Island and Baileys Harbor.

More than 250 20-pound-plus salmon had been taken midway through the event, and as usual, many other giants were reported by anglers who didn’t have tournament tickets.

Unusually calm lake conditions greeted anglers on the first five mornings of the contest, but winds began to fire up by Tuesday afternoon and were expected to be strong for at least two days. West winds were in the long-term forecast, which had anglers excited because they know it means cooler water close to shore on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula.

Tickets for the 40th annual tournament are still available at all locations. 

The first-place winner gets $15,000 in cash, a free mount of the catch and a sterling-silver salmon ring with a ruby eye. Second place nets $8,000 and a Howie’s Tackle prize package, and third place receives $5,000 and an Accurate Marine/Kewaunee Yacht Works prize package.

Keep up with this week’s updates at

With abundant baitfish in recent years, many salmon are growing to trophy size. This very large alewife – the favored food of Lake Michigan salmon and trout – was among those spotted July 15 at Washington Island’s Schoolhouse Beach. Photo by Kevin Naze.

Past K/D Salmon Tournament Winning Weights

1983: 26.94, 1984: 32.25, 1985: 28.63, 1986: 26.18, 1987: 27.75, 1988: 28.06, 1989: 33.17, 1990: 33.72, 1991: 33.66, 1992: 35.24, 1993: 40.07, 1994: 30.97, 1995: 35.90, 1996: 37.71, 1997: 31.61, 1998: 32.49, 1999: 39.14, 2000: 26.86, 2001: 35.07, 2002: 34.75, 2003: 32.12, 2004: 29.46, 2005: 26.55, 2006: 28.94, 2007: 24.96, 2008: 23.82, 2009: 26.46, 2010: 28.16, 2011: 32.02, 2012: 26.20, 2013: 32.41, 2014: 29.27, 2015: 31.41, 2016: 35.46, 2017: 30.51, 2018: 30.67, 2019: 36.70, 2020: 32.78, 2021: 35.65