The Hickey Family began fishing in Baileys Harbor in the mid-1800’s. Martin Hickey Sr. began fishing hooks for Lake Trout using a wooden 20’ flat bottom boat. He purchased his first boat in the Late 1800’s (Burger boat 19) and named it the Pathfinder. Martin was also a partner with the Brann Bros. (owned the local general store in Baileys Harbor) in a sailing schooner. The schooner would haul Martin’s fish, cord wood & telegraph poles from North Bay to Milwaukee. The return trip brought Brann’s general store merchandise.
William and Martin Hickey Jr. (sons of Martin Sr.) were the next generation of fisherman in Baileys Harbor. They began fishing gill nets and pond nets in the early 1900’s. The Hickey’s dock existed where the current Baileys Harbor Town Marina is today.
Dennis & Jeffrey Hickey (sons of William) are the 3rd generation of fisherman in Baileys Harbor. They began working with CJ Winegar fishing alewives in the 1960’s after duty in the US Navy. After two years of working for Winegar, he was ready to retire, so they purchased his fishing rig & quota. They moved their operations to the other side of the harbor where the Baileys Harbor Yacht Club Condos are located today. In the 1970’s they purchased a gill net boat and named it the Pathfinder in honor of their grandfather & father. The pond net boat the Leif was their next boat. The fishing operations grew steadily in to the 1980’s.
In 1985, Dennis & Jeff moved a small garage onto their property. This became their first fish processing plant. They moved the original retail store from Jeff’s garage on Hwy 57 (run by Jeff’s wife Patricia) to this building as well. The brothers worked to grow the wholesale of fish to Chicago & New York and then began exporting fish & caviar to the Scandinavian countries in the 1990’s. At this time they purchased the Anclam Rd property and constructed a dock-the current home port for all of Hickey Bros Research/Baileys Harbor Fish Company vessels. Over the years, Hickey Bros has worked with the Wisconsin DNR, Sea Grant, Fisheries Coop at UW-Stevens Point, and US Fish & Wildlife to complete numerous assessments, tagging, and research projects. This resulted in Dennis Hickey’s appointment by Governor Tony Earl to the Great Lakes Fish Commission-Lake Michigan Commercial Fisheries Advisor, position he still hold today.
In 2000, Dennis Hickey’s daughter Carin (Hickey) Stuth and son-in-law Todd Stuth became actively involved in the fishery after finishing college degrees. Carin & Todd have grown the brand to include Baileys Harbor Fish Company and remodeled the processing plant to have the retail fish shop facing the road. The fleet of boats has grown to accommodate the fishing in both the Bay of Green Bay and Lake Michigan. We have expanded the research projects that Hickey Bros Research LLC complete beyond Wisconsin and into the inland Northwest US. We are proud to continue the commercial fishing tradition in Door County and further the Wisconsin waters of Lake Michigan.
We welcome you to stop by our fishery, look at decades of fishing history, see an active commercial fish processing plant, purchase local fresh fish, and hear some fish tales!
Carin & Todd Stuth
Lars Hickey (8) 1985 processing build & retail shop
Gunnar Stuth (8 and Lars's nephew) 2020 processing build & retail shop
1976-Jeff, Pat & Leif Hickey +Dennis & Lynnea Hickey