Where to Launch in Northern Door
Winter Loosens Its Grip on the Water
I took a tour of some of the bayside and lakeside boat launches in the northern part of the county this week and it looks like our options for getting out on the water are improving. That's good because the availability of the Baileys Harbor Town Marina boat launch will be limited in the next couple weeks. According to Harbormaster Mark Jonas, dredging operations should begin sometime during the week of April 30th. Once begun, the dredging may take a week or so. During this time, the marina will be unavailable for launching boats. For the most current information on the launch status contact the marina office at 920-839-9778. There are several other lakeside launch options available. The Baileys Harbor Bues Point ramp on Moonlight Bay is open. The dock has not yet been put in (as of Friday, April 27th) and the buoys marking the rock pile near the ramp have not been installed. I have launched there a couple of times this year and it is not a problem if you are careful. There is a launch fee ($6) or you need a Baileys Harbor Annual Launch sticker. Parking is along Bues Point Road and is somewhat limited. The DNR ramp at Rowleys Bay is open and is being used. There is no fee for using the state boat ramp. However, the ramp is narrow and takes some skill to back your boat trailer into the ramp. Trailer parking is behind the Rowleys Bay Resort and is limited to about 14 rigs. This can be a problem on weekends once the smallmouth bite starts.
The opportunities to launch on the bayside are improving, but still dodgy. The satellite image shows much of the bay, including Sturgeon Bay pretty much ice-free. The ice that is left, mostly in the protected bays, continues to shift and drift with the winds. With the warmer weather this week and south wind, more of the small bays and marinas should become ice-free. As of Monday, April 30th the ramps at Egg Harbor, Ephraim and Fish Creek were still choked with ice and unavailable. The Sister Bay marina was ice-free as was the main part of the bay as was Ellison Bay. However, there were still larger chucks of ice floating near the entrance and out on the bay. These should melt or be blown out by midweek. The private ramp at Gills Rock still had ice in it and a boatlift was positioned in the ramp. I was told by some of the guys up there that the ramp should be clear soon. I plan on fishing the northern part of the bay this week so should be able to get a better idea of the conditions.
Here is a good listing of Door County boat launches and marinas. (https://www.doorcounty.com/experience/scenic-attractions/marinas/) There is a link to a list of contact information so you can call about the status of the boat launch.
Conditions and access will only improve as we enter May. Time to get out on the water.
Tight Lines, Bruce
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