Touted as the best smallmouth fishery in North America, Sturgeon Bay on the Door County, Wisconsin side of Green Bay is simply legendary. Smallies over 8 pounds are possible and it typically takes over 30 pounds to win a tournament here.
In short, as a bass fanatic I've wanted to fish these waters for years. When I received the invite to meet up with the Ugly Stik guys I was excited from the word go.
The weather was a struggle for sure. We were experiencing conditions that might have been typical for a prespawn bite in April or May, but not late June. It was cold, rainy and the fish were not where we thought they "should" be. The spawn was in full swing a week prior, but the fish had either moved off the shallow, rocky flats because they were done spawning or due to the oppressive low-pressure front that was dominating the region.
Local guide and smallie whiz Brett Alexander knew the fish were somewhere close, so we pressed on and and eventually found a small area filled with bedded fish.
It seriously looked like there was a Goodyear tire beneath 36 inches of gin-clear waters, each with a black smallmouth guarding future offspring. Now, I need to clarify something. Catching bedded smallmouth from the Great Lakes is a topic of some controversy, but that's typically under an "offshore" scenario where gobies dominate the bottom and can consume a nest full of smallmouth eggs in the amount of time it would take to unhook and release a fish.
Ugly Stik Associate Product Manager Mike Welsh with a fine Green Bay smallie.
But, in our situation, there were clearly no gobies and each fish made it back to its respective bed in mere seconds. We caught fish after fish that met or exceeded 4 to 6 pounds. It was nonstop action, and after we hit each bed in this cove, we could start over again and get the fish to bite a second time. The action was fierce!
Thankfully, after a tough start to the trip, I was able to leave Door County with the smallmouth experience I have been dreaming of for years. That place is truly all that it is cracked up to be—and more!
We managed to capture some amazing footage that will surely entertain! Stay tuned, as it is coming soon!