An 8.45-pound smallmouth bass caught in last spring’s Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament certainly expanded the county’s fame as a fishing hot spot.
That trophy bronzeback helped propel the Sturgeon Bay area — specifically, the Little Sturgeon Bay to Fish Creek stretch of the waters of Green Bay — to the top of the list of Bassmaster magazine’s “100 hottest bass fisheries on the planet” for 2014.
This is the first year that the magazine split Green Bay into northern and southern sections.
A year ago, the entire bay finished 29th on the list. This year, the new format put the southern bay, from the city of Green Bay to Little Sturgeon Bay, in the 31st spot.
The list annually riles up thousands of bass anglers from the U.S. and Canada when dozens of North America’s top fisheries are left off the list. That helps spawn debate from readers and also allows the spotlight to shine on some other waters from time to time.
Last year’s No. 1, Lake St. Clair in Michigan, dropped to 16th this time. Grand Traverse Bay, Michigan — almost straight across the lake from northern Door County — was ninth on this year’s list.
The Door Peninsula paced a top 10 that also included waters from California, Florida, Texas, New York, Alabama, Idaho and Tennessee. Check out the entire list at bassmaster.com.
“Simply put, if you want to angle the best bass fishing waters that currently exist for size and numbers, head to Wisconsin,” Bassmaster wrote.
Bassmaster magazine is a product of the 46-year-old Bass Angler Sportsman’s Society, a half-million-plus-member organization founded by bass fishing legend Ray Scott.
This year’s Sturgeon Bay Open is set for May 16-17. Through last week, 112 teams had entered. Learn more at sbobt.org, or follow along on the SBOBT’s Facebook page.
The Baileys Harbor Brown Trout Tournament got underway Friday, with ice still preventing access at most bayside locations.
There were 18 browns larger than 10 pounds brought in on day one, including a monster 24.57-pounder by John Pollock.
Anglers can fish in Door and Kewaunee County waters. Most are trolling stickbaits, spoons and crankbaits in 10 to 30 feet of water, and some monster lake trout have been hooked as well.
Andy Stuth sent a photo of a pair of lakers at midweek that totaled 38 pounds. Meant to track him down for a story but forgot. Next time Andy!
Free fishing apps
Download a free Wisconsin fish identification app at seagrant.wisc.edu/fishid in time for next weekend’s general inland game fishing season opener. There is also a finger-friendly website available for phones and tablets at the same URL.
UW-Sea Grant designed and released this photo-rich tool. Anglers can search by fish name, similar fish in the family or physical features—shape, distinctive features, pattern and type of fins, mouth, scales, spine, tail or coloring. Each entry depicts the fish, sometimes from several photographic angles, and offers a short write-up about fish features.
The DNR also has an app for anglers. Search “Wisconsin Pocket Ranger” in the Apple App Store or Google Play.
Wild turkey hunters are into the second spring period of the season, and have already tagged more than 3,700 bearded birds in Zone 2. Statewide, more than 16,500 toms, jakes and bearded hens had been reported through Friday.
A second straight “late winter” had birds still in large flocks longer than usual, but gobblers are finally starting to split up. Some hunters are using calls and decoys while others sit silently in areas they’ve seen toms strut or feed.
DMAP to start
How many landowners will sign up for the state’s new Deer Management Assistance Program? That’s one of the $125,000 questions as implementation of the Deer Trustee Report begins.
Landowners can join for free, but there are other options at either $75 or $150 for three-year plans.
Learn more at dnr.wi.gov/topic/wildlifehabitat/DMAP.html.
— Kevin Naze is a freelance outdoor writer. Email him at email@example.com