Door County Whitefish 02/28

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Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Mon 01, 2021 4:07 pm

My cousin Chris, our buddy Rick, and I went up to Door County to experience the whitefish fishery through the ice. We hired guide Jimmy Doering from Cast and Catch Charters who picked us up at the launch and took us to his permanent shacks. None of us are very experienced at ice fishing, but the concept was fairly simple. Drop a slider rig to the bottom in 80 feet and figure out a jigging method to entice bites. In the morning the fish would only hit with very small lifts and pauses, but later in the morning the only way to get bit was a hard aggressive cadence to get a reaction strike. We learned a bunch and for the first time in my life, I really enjoyed ice fishing. Of course, all I literally had to do was show up and have a few drinks and snacks for the day. The shack was so warm you could fish in a t-shirt or shorts. I did hole hop outside a little bit, but for the most part I stayed in the heat. After getting our limit we brought them over to a fish cleaning service and they fileted and vacuum sealed them. We were supposed to be back out today, but Jimmy got alerted by the Coast Guard the icebreakers were coming through to clear the ice for the shipping boats. Apparently the ice breakers can go through 16 inches of ice at 4mph. It was disappointing but not too bad considering the weather today was horrible anyways and we probably were not going to do as well as we did yesterday. Jimmy had to race out and remove all his shacks today. This year his ice fishing season was only 3 weeks due to warmer early winter weather, the broken ice shelf, and the coast guard ice breakers. I'm glad we got to try it out and definitely will do it again. Bringing up a big whitefish from 80 feet on a little ice rod is as fun as anything I do during open water!
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby joetrain » Mar Mon 01, 2021 4:20 pm

Sounds like a blast. No stress just fun.

~JOE~
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Mon 01, 2021 4:40 pm

joetrain wrote:Sounds like a blast. No stress just fun.

~JOE~


No stress would be an understatement. We stayed at Westwood Shores which had a pool, hot tub, and sauna. If it was open water I could have made a cast from our suite balcony into Green Bay. The front desk told us in season the suites run from $300-600 a night. $120 off-season rate split between 3 guys. Bar/restaurants Birmingham 2 miles from hotel. Public launch we met guide at 5 minutes from hotel. It was as easy as easy gets.

Not to mention the guide basically picked us up at the rear of my suv and took us to the shack in a heated atv. Rods and bait were rigged and ready to go. He brought us muffins and scones around 8am and burgers, chips, and cookies at noon. Talk about spoiled. His rate was $120 a guy and worth every penny considering all we had to do was show up and catch fish.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby ganz1960 » Mar Mon 01, 2021 4:52 pm

Awesome. Great info in both posts.

Whitefish, muffins, scones, burgers, heat, big hotel discount, easy to meet the guide. I'll consider this next winter for sure.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby WanderOff09 » Mar Tue 02, 2021 11:19 am

I took my daughter and a couple friends up to Door County earlier in February for whitefish too. We also did a fully guided trip and got our limit plus. As you said, heated ride out there; heated shack; hot brats for lunch. Great times.
Whitefish 021621(2).jpg


Your daughter must of loved that! That is very cool. We stopped keeping one short of limit and started releasing. Last bite of the day turned out to be a drag screamer and biggest one of the day that we kept for the limit.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby Aux Pleins » Mar Tue 02, 2021 1:33 pm

Now that's ice fishing. Been mulling over a guided ice trip for some time.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby grems » Mar Tue 02, 2021 1:45 pm

I just did almost the exact same trip this past weekend!

We were further north near Sister Bay, and stayed in my buddy's cabin near there. We did two half days, five of us in two sheds but rotated between them to mix things up, long drive to the fish processor near Sturgeon Bay (Lindahl's) but not touching a knife and vacuum packaging is worth it.

It's an incredible fishery, I think there are more whitefish there than walleye in Lake Erie (where our guide goes to catch walleye for fun). Not something I will do frequently but this was our third year in a row and we are already talking about next year.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby WanderOff09 » Mar Tue 02, 2021 3:44 pm

Lindahls was a great resource. $2.50 per fish to fillet, remove pin bones and vacuum seal, all while you wait. I'll pay that any day. I cooked some up last night. They were pretty tasty.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby Islandfisher » Mar Tue 02, 2021 4:17 pm

Awesome job out there! I love seeing Door County reports.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Tue 02, 2021 6:29 pm

We used Lindahls as well. Any recipe tips?
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby WanderOff09 » Mar Wed 03, 2021 11:22 am

I only made 1 batch so far. Oven backed with just butter, garlic, paprika, salt and pepper. A little lemon squeezed over the top at the end. My buddy smoked some and said it was delicious.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby grems » Mar Wed 03, 2021 1:56 pm

Lindahl de-scales and leaves the skin on, but it can have a stronger flavor I don't love when cooked in a pan.

So my favorite way to prepare them is on the grill, skin side down, with salt, pepper and lemon (thinly sliced and placed all over the filets). It only takes about five minutes to cook, and I use a spatula to lift the meat off the roasted skin, which my dogs eagerly wait for.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Wed 03, 2021 3:00 pm

Thanks, I was wondering about the skin. We were planning on deep frying some as well, so I suppose we will have to thaw them and skin them for that purpose.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby WanderOff09 » Mar Wed 03, 2021 4:40 pm

Agreed on removing the skin.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby mike son » Mar Wed 03, 2021 9:37 pm

Pretty cool! I just had smoked whitefish for the first time last year, good stuff.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby jmdog2003 » Mar Wed 03, 2021 10:07 pm

That's a cool trip and one I've thought about for awhile. Very cool.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby Michalski » Mar Fri 05, 2021 9:56 am

Really awesome trip. Will need to give it a try next season.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby Skifish1 » Mar Sun 07, 2021 8:19 pm

havent logged in a while, this is a very good read including the fish cleaning service and recipe recommendation. Ive eaten a lot of whitefish if prepared correctly its a nice light flaky fish.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby Lip_Yanker » Mar Mon 08, 2021 12:14 pm

Looks like it was a cool trip, so to speak. I sold all my ice gear years ago and haven't regretted it.


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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby WanderOff09 » Mar Mon 08, 2021 12:16 pm

My daughter was off school last Friday, so we made 1 more last minute trip up to Sturgeon Bay. We were Big Brute's only clients that day, so he dragged out a shack to deeper water, away from the crowds, while he watched ice conditions. Luckily, the ice actually improved while we were out, even though it was a sunny 40F+. He fished along with us and we easily limited out. My daughter caught the best fish yet, fishing by herself 50 yards from the shack.
Big Whitefish.jpg


It got too hot in the shack and the bite died down, so she sat on a cooler outside for a while. Next thing you know, she has that monster and 6 others.

Great day out. Can't wait til next year.
Whitefish 030521.jpg
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Mon 08, 2021 1:13 pm

Epic trip!
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby badger75 » Mar Mon 08, 2021 5:19 pm

That sure looks like some fun.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby coyote » Mar Tue 09, 2021 2:42 am

Looks like your Hooked on Ice Fishing Matt, Man that looks like fun, Guide sure seemed to take care of anything
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Tue 09, 2021 7:48 am

coyote wrote:Looks like your Hooked on Ice Fishing Matt, Man that looks like fun, Guide sure seemed to take care of anything


I still have no desire to buy my own stuff or freeze over a hole for some panfish. However, I would do a destination trip like this again for sure. On a better note, a pond out by me opened up yesterday. No monsters, but the jig and gulp fooled a few....
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby coyote » Mar Tue 09, 2021 6:12 pm

Darn you always a Wek or so ahead of Me still a bit froze here
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby Lip_Yanker » Mar Wed 10, 2021 10:59 am

So out of curiosity, what's a trip like that cost for the guide portion?
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby WanderOff09 » Mar Wed 10, 2021 12:26 pm

Semi-guided trip was $125 per person. That includes a ride out to the shack and back on a UTV, heated permanent shack, holes drilled, and the rods/lures/bait. The guide(s) would get you started with the jigging techniques, and then periodically check in with you throughout the day as they pop their heads in on their fleet of shacks. Some provide a hot lunch as well. Some include fish finders, some don't.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby grems » Mar Wed 10, 2021 3:03 pm

My crew paid $100 each plus tip per half day, we did two half days out of Egg Harbor, full day would have been $180. Two heated shacks with all gear and transport included, guides fished with us and took care of handling all the fish, made it as easy as possible. Our guides were Paul and Brent with Late-Eyes Sport Fishing, highly recommended.
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Re: Door County Whitefish 02/28

Postby FishinMatt » Mar Wed 10, 2021 10:01 pm

Cast & Catch was $125 for full day, hot lunch included.
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