Where Do I Start?
The most popular question among anglers who are looking to fish the trophy waters of Green Bay. The Bay of Green bay is an arm of Lake Michigan, located along the south coast of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the east coast of Wisconsin. Green Bay is a HUGE body of water! The bay is about 120 miles long, with a width ranging from 10-20 miles wide, approximately 1626 square miles! Like I said is MASSIVE! How does the average angler even pick a location where to start? Being successful on the bay comes down to many different key factors, I will try and break some of these down by seasons. The fish are always on the move on the bay, follow these tips to keep up with them!
Spring Walleye Fishing
Spring walleye fishing on Green Bay is one of my favorite times of the year. Whether fishing in one of the many major river systems ( Fox River, Oconto River, Peshtigo River, Oconto River or Marinette River) or out on the bay itself, Spring offers one of the best times of the year at true Green Bay Trophy Walleye. Warm water is the name of the game in early spring. Warm water is carried by wind and current. Paying attention to the wind forecast before you head out on your adventure will save you time on the water. Warm water will pool up in bays after days of consistent winds. River and creek mouths also offer warm water discharging into the bay this time of year. The warm water coming from these tributaries will congregate walleyes in search of food. Both trolling and casting can be utilized to catch fish this time of year. Stick baits are a favorite of mine in the spring for trolling. Rapala pippin raps are also a must have, but don’t forget your hair jigs, blade baits and plastics! Paying attention to water temperature, even a 1-2 degree change, can determine the outcome of how successful your trip can be in the spring on Green Bay.
Summer Walleye Fishing
Once the fish on Green Bay have made it to their summer patterns there’s several presentations used to catch them. First off we have to find the fish before you can catch them. Summer fish typically more out to deeper, cooler water, but not all go deep. There is three main areas myself as a Green Bay Fishing Guide looks for in the summer.
Deep mud flats is one of the best areas to search for roaming summer walleyes. Fish stage in 20-40 foot of water for most of the summer in the mud flats for a number of reasons. Food is the main reason, lots of bug hatches brings in baitfish, which the walleyes are not far behind. A thermocline will also set up in the deep water that will attract the walleyes and baitfish. Trolling is my preferred way to target these summer walleyes as they are always on the move. Pulling crank baits, like a Berkley flicker minnow, is a great way to cover water in search of active fish. For the more finicky fish, I like to slow down and pull crawler harness, both suspended and on the bottom. It’s hard for a walleye to pass up a crawler pulled past their face.
Deep rock reefs also offer a great opportunity for summer walleyes on Green Bay. Gobies are a main food source for walleyes on Green Bay. Rock reefs and zebra muscle beds hold gobies and the walleyes will target them for food in the rocks. This offers a great jigging opportunity for anglers. The fish will sometimes be on top of the reefs or sometimes stages off the reef structures. Trolling can be a good way to locate them also. Normally in the summer I target 20-30 feet of water on most occasions. Make sure to have a good fluorocarbon leader if your jigging near the rocks or zebra muscles. They will fray your line and can make it an expensive day!
An often overlooked area too find summer walleyes is in the weeds. Now where the weeds grow on the bay isn’t necessarily deep water, but the oxygen and cover the weeds produce attract baitfish and perch. The walleyes love to bury themselves in the weeds and ambush their prey. Ripping plastics can be a deadly technique to catch fish in the weeds. A kalins jerk minnow on a 1/4 oz jig head is my go to! Casting crank baits or slip bobers is also a great way to target fish. Typically in targeting 6-12 foot of water when I’m looking for weed best. Green bays west shore offers a variety of different areas with plenty of weeds to find fish.
Fall Walleye Fishing
Early fall fishes a lot like the summer bite on the bay. Targeting offshore structure, mud fats and rock reefs. The cooler the water gets as the fall progresses the fish will migrate toward the river mouths again. The lower bay, has a huge shad spawn in the fall and the walleyes gone themselves before winter. The fish will migrate back south as the shad stage and move into the rivers. The fox river is a great place to start in fall when searching for fish. Once again both jigging and trolling can produce fish this time of year. Casting cranks on shallow rock is always a must. Berkley flicker shads are always a main producer of fish for me. Fall can offer lower fishing pressure then spring and summer and the fishing can be just as good.
Green Bay is an amazing ecosystem. The bait is always moving and so are the fish. Staying on the walleyes is the hardest part of the game. Hopefully these tips will help you put more fish in the boat!
Capt. Jacob Kaprelian
Owner, Epic Guide Service
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