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Dan Petersilka of Sturgeon Bay won $1,000 for catching the heaviest fish in the Sturgeon Bay Salmon Shootout held June 16.
Dan Petersilka of Sturgeon Bay won $1,000 for catching the heaviest fish in the Sturgeon Bay Salmon Shootout held June 16. / Submitted


Many may disagree, but I support the recent decision by the Department of Natual Resources to limit participants in a Bassmasters Elite Series tournament on Green Bay June 28-July 1 to waters south of Sturgeon Bay and Oconto.

With potential tournament waters stretching some 120 miles north from the launch at Green Bay and many anglers willing to go wherever it takes to find the biggest bass, it makes sense to reduce the potential of multiple-hour, high-speed boat rides that stress or kill bass and take them out of their home waters.

Some competitors were quoted as saying that it’s not going to showcase the fishing that’s available here or that it’s going to lead to just an “average” event. One even likened it to “limiting us to a bathtub.”

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I have to disagree. There are plenty of 4- and 5-pound-plus bass available in the waters DNR officials are allowing the anglers to fish.

If these are truly 99 of the best bass anglers in the nation, it’s up to them to figure out a way to get enough strikes to weigh five trophy smallmouths each day in the quest to win the $100,000 top prize.

Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., and Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., are among the contenders for B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year. Reese said Series competitors are as good as they get in taking care of fish.

Maybe so, but even the best anglers can’t do a whole lot to smooth a multiple-hour ride over rough seas, or make sure the fish are released anywhere close to where they were hooked.

Green Bay was announced as a “Mystery Lake” on the tour late last month, and was immediately placed off limits to participants. Jerry McKinnis, co-owner of B.A.S.S., said he wanted it to be a surprise to the anglers and a body of water that most had no prior knowledge of.

As the only Wisconsin angler competing, Travis Manson of De Pere would seem to have the inside edge. Though also critical of the DNR’s restrictions, Manson surely knows there’s plenty of productive water in the allowed area, which runs south of a line between a breakwall near the mouth of the Oconto River and the Sherwood Point Lighthouse.

Little Sturgeon Bay, Riley’s Bay and Sand Bay are among the Door hot spots that will still be open to competitors.

For more information — and live coverage of the event once it begins — check out

Fishing update

The first Sturgeon Bay Salmon Shootout at Madelyn Marina at the Lodge at Leathem Smith was deemed a success, with 25 boats entered in two classes.

Dan Petersilka won $1,000 for the heaviest salmon, a 20.75-pounder. Sid Ernst, Chris Jeanquart, Paul Meleen and Dean Gordon were captains of the first four Class A teams while Petersilka, Jesse Madoche, Wade Cochart and Phil Pahnke captained the top four Class B teams.

Complete standings will be available at

Next up is the Great Lakes Classic team tournament July 7 in Algoma, with solo, two-person and three-person divisions. Cost is $25 per person. Get an entry form by emailing

Salmon action has remained very good to excellent. A few fish were even caught from the breakwalls and from small boats trolling near shore, but the bulk of the action is still two to five miles out and down 30 to 80 feet.

On the bay side, smallmouth bass remain quite active and more anglers are tying into perch. The best numbers of perch are coming from the weed beds around Sturgeon Bay and Little Sturgeon, but many of them are smaller fish. Fewer but larger perch are coming from the reefs and deeper mud flats from Sand Bay southwest to Chaudoir’s Dock.

Women In The Outdoors

The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will host a Women In The Outdoors event Aug. 10-12 at Living Waters Bible Camp in Westby.

More than 30 classes will be offered. A partial list includes hiking, fishing, bird watching, camping, outdoor cooking, canoeing, archery, crafts, yoga, photography, hunting and recreational shooting.

The program is about encouraging women to try new activities in a safe environment that makes them feel at ease. Expert instructors teach skills using a hands-on approach.

This event is a chance for women of all walks of life — singles, moms and daughters, young and old — to spend a weekend outdoors, away from home, hanging out and having fun.

For information, visit or call Ronda at (608) 544-3704.

Short shots

A majority of those responding to a recent salmon stocking survey chose option 4, a 30 percent reduction in chinook salmon stocking and a 10 percent reduction in other salmon and trout species beginning in 2013. For full details, see the fact sheet at

• The Wisconsin Farm Service Agency announced that 24,000 acres were accepted during the latest Conservation Reserve Program sign-up. All offers were ranked using an index that consists of the following five environmental factors, plus cost: wildlife enhancement, water quality, soil erosion, enduring benefits and air quality.

The national average rental rate per acre for this sign-up is $51.24. For more, visit

Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoors writer. Email him at

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