Things Are Sucking In The Marina
Bayside Still Warm, Launches Open
If you are planning to use the Baileys Harbor Marina anytime soon, it would be best to call ahead. There is a lot of sucking happening in the harbor basin. The boat ramps are blocked off and the marina entrance has a barrier stretched across its mouth as the annual dredging takes place. As of Friday, the dredge barge was floating in the harbor with black plastic piping running to shore. Two large fabric bags with dredge spoils are occupying much of the marina parking lot. The process removes the large volumes of the soft sediments that have accumulated over the season. This is being done to maintain sufficient water depth for boats to move safely in and out of the marina. Once this process is completed and the equipment removed, we should be able to use the marina to launch (sans the piers, of course) at least as long as we have open water. If you want to know the current status of the marina, you can contact the Town Office at 920-839-9509 or just call someone at the Cornerstone Pub and ask them to look out the front window.
And there are still good reasons for getting out on the water. As I detailed in the last post, the northerns are still biting on the lakeside. I am hoping for at least a week or two of "Indian Summer" this month to allow me to get on the lake. In previous years we have hooked into some nice pike, smallmouth, browns and the occasional stray salmon or rainbow. Two of the last three years I have had the Pamela Ann in the water as late as early December. Until the marina becomes available again for anglers and duck hunters, the Bues Point launch is open out off Cana Island Road on Moonlight Bay.
Although the weather and my Fall schedule have conspired to keep me off the water more than I would have liked, I have had some opportunity to ply the waters of Green Bay a few time in the last several weeks. I was not always successful in boating fish, but "time on the water" is a precious commodity this time of year. I met Ed at Chaudoir's Dock about a week ago to see if there were any walleyes to be had. The marina was still open for business with all of the docks in. The bay greeted us with light winds and water temperatures in the low 50°F's. However, the recent heavy rains had made the waters of the lower bay muddy and full of floating debris making it almost impossible to keep trolling lines clean. After several fruitless hours, we pulled the boat out of the water and with our tails between our legs headed to Brussels for a mollifying beer and supper.
Just this week I went out on Sturgeon Bay for a couple hours. I launched at the Pinney Park boat launch near the Olde Stone Quarry. All of the launching piers have been pulled, so getting the Pamela Ann into the water was a bit of a challenge, but I managed. There was a gentle northeast breeze with a light chop and water temperatures about 48°F. I had a pleasant boat ride with wonderful views of the Sherwood Point Light House and the passing commercial boat traffic heading to Sturgeon Bay, but put no fish in the boat.
I did have much better luck out of Egg Harbor. Not only was the marina still fully operational (Well, except for the toilets.) with launching piers still in place, but I actually had some fishing action. This is a great time of year to catch large and aggressive smallmouth bass. The smallies are actively feeding in preparation for their semi-dormancy in the winter months. They are feeding on the shad, alewife and other suspended schools of baitfish. This makes them relatively easy prey for a well positioned crank bait. I have had success in the past trolling dark colored Flicker Shads, Wally Divers and Shad Raps. Even fire-tiger floating Rapalas (#11 & #13) have produced. Usually I put on a small drop weight on the line to get the lures down to about 15-20 feet. This time out I found fish suspended over about 40FOW. I had pretty good action for about an hour, boating five fat smallmouth and losing at least that many. It was a fun afternoon. I hope to get out there again next week.
As I mentioned, it is best to check ahead on launch and water conditions prior to heading out for any late Fall fishing outing. There are several good Internet sources of current water temperatures on the bay and the lake. The National Weather Service Green Bay Forecast Office has a very good Great Lakes Weather page. It includes links to Coast Guard and ship observations as well as the mid-lake buoy data.
For launch information, you can call the local agency in charge of the launch. Contact information can be found in the links I provided or by doing a web search.
Finally, local web cams can provide you real time information on water conditions. Ones I check regularly are Sturgeon Bay, the ferry landing at Northport, Fish Creekand Sister Bay (although the Yacht Works web cam has been down recently). I just learned about a new webcam from an article in the recent Door County Advocate. The webcam is at the Chaudoir's Dock launch. If fact, after viewing this cam, I learned that the launching piers have been removed from the boat ramp. Interesting.
BTW, the town has approved a webcam for the Baileys Harbor marina, but as of yet it has not been installed. Maybe it will be in time for the Brown Trout tournament. Here’s hoping!
So armed with the proper information and plenty of cold weather gear, there are still opportunities to get in some soft-water fishing, but time is running short.
Tight Lines, Bruce
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