When I got an email from Mark Smith, Director of the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers to join a few other outdoor journalists on a walleye fishing trip to Green Bay with Wolf Pack Adventures I jumped at the opportunity.
Packing for the trip, I tossed my normal fishing clothes into my bag, along with a couple of sets of “normal” clothes for other activities besides fishing. But, in the back of my mind I could not see past big walleyes, and couldn’t think of anything else that I would possibly do while I was there than fish.
Our first night in town, we met up with the crew of Wolf Pack Adventures out of Sheboygan, WI., Jarod Higgenbotham from Yakima Bait, a Washington based company, Josh Lantz with St. Croix Rods and Brenda Krainik, director of marketing and communications for the Greater Green Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Our night began with a fabulous supper at St. Brendan’s Inn. To say the trip was off to a good start was an understatement. Old friends reunited, and new friendships were born.
Six o’clock came early the following morning, but all were eager to see what the day would bring. The weather forecasters were not on our side, but we were optimistic for a good day of fishing.
On day one, I would be fishing with Paul Smith, Outdoors Editor for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Tyler Chisholm would be at the helm of the boat for the day. Our plan was to troll Slip-N-Glo rigs, nightcrawlers on spinner harnesses, and Mag Lips behind planer boards in about 10-feet of water. We had a total of eight lines in the water.
Because of the Spin-N-Glo’s buoyancy, you can troll at speeds as slow as .3 mph and still get the action you are looking for from the baits. On this day, the cruise control was set at 1 mph. The Mag Lips are high action trolling plugs that dive deep and entice many species of fish to strike with its erratic, darting “skip-beat” action.
The setups did exactly as they were supposed to do, and it did not take long for the first rod to double over. The only question was what might be on the other end of the line.
We were hoping for walleye, but University Bay where we were fishing has many species of fish ready for a quick meal. The battle was tough fought, but unfortunately the first fish of the day was a respectable sheepshead. None-the-less, it was a fish, and the Spin-N-Glo proved it is a multi-species rig. Throughout the next few hours, we boated a few walleyes, sheepshead, and even a couple catfish any “river rat” would be proud of.
After a morning of fishing, lunch was served at Mackinaw’s Grill and Spirits. Josh Lantz from St. Croix Rods gave a presentation about the rods we have been using.
Boarding the boats for the afternoon trip, it was obvious we were going to get wet, but nobody knew how dangerous it was about to get.
Shortly after departing the harbor, the winds increased speeds, calm waters turned into rough seas, thunder began to roll with lightning strikes not far behind. As we were preparing to head for safety, a lightning strike within 100 yards of the boat was enough to get us to the safety of the harbor a little quicker than we had figured. Needless to say, our nerves were a little rattled.
After a brief break, the weather finally broke, and we were able to get back out on the water. Either the fish were going to have lockjaw, or be on a feeding frenzy after the storm. We were hoping for the latter.
The fishing started off slow at first, but we were catching the occasional walleye, sheepshead, and catfish. We were on a schedule that would have us off the water by four pm in order to make it to supper at 1951 West located in Comfort Suites.
Wouldn’t you know it, with 10 minutes left to fish, the bite came on. In the last 10 minutes, we boated 5 fish between 18 and 22-inches. As hard as it was to leave, we had reservations that had to be kept. Hopefully the following morning would start as good as this day had ended.
With full bellies, a game plan was hashed out and boating assignments were made for the following morning. I would be sharing the boat with fellow AGLOW members, Kristen Monroe, Barb Carey, Gary Nski and Director Mark Smith. Captain Pat Kalmeron, co-owner of Wolf Pack Adventurers would be our guide for the day, as well as provide the entertainment through his never-ending comical side.
The day started out fast, and continued to hold that trend the rest of the morning. Several respectable walleyes were netted, sheepshead that put up battles as if their lives depended on it, and Kristen managed to land an 18-pound blue cat, along with several channel cats.
The waters outside of green bay also hold good numbers of perch, smallmouth bass, musky and northern pike. Each strike is truly going to be a surprise as to what might be on the other end. One thing is for certain though, the fish are going to fight, and you are going to have fun fighting back.
Jarod gave a presentation about Yakima Bait after our meal at Hagemeister Park. Yakima Bait is based out of Washington, and is just finding its way into the hands of Midwest anglers. Once the secret is out, the way walleyes are fished will change in the great lakes and other bodies of water.
The afternoon fishing segment proved successful as several walleyes hit the cooler. The crew at Wolf Pack Adventures went out of their way to get us on fish. Yakima Bait provided lures that were unlike any I had fished before. St. Croix offers several fine trolling rods that can take punishment from the biggest of fish. Paired together, they made a deadly combination.
The trip ended with dinner at 1919 Kitchen & Tap at Lambeau Field. Not only is there great food served at Lambeau Field, but I heard mention of a football team or something that plays there. We were fortunate to get a tour of the stadium to see where the Packers play. Tours are available throughout the year for anyone wanting to see where history was made.
If you get the chance to visit Green Bay, don’t hesitate. The fishing is some of the best you will experience, and the historic city has a lot to offer when you are not fishing. Whether you want to shop, check out the museums, or just spend the day eating, Green Bay has it for you.