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Nosedive continues for Smallmouth Bass in Door County

As some of you know Sturgeon Bay was ranked as the #1 and #2 Bass waters by Bassmasters magazine in 2014 and 2015.  I personally thought these rankings were too high, but, still easily top 10 nationally.  It has brought ridiculous pressure and as I've shared several times, I feel the fishery has taken a nose-dive.


In 2021 Sturgeon Bay did not make the top 25 in the Bassmasters Central Division rankings.  In 2022 back in the Central Division about #12 or so.  The magazine just came out with its top 100 for 2023 and "again" Sturgeon Bay is not even in the top 25 for the Central Division.  Quite a drop from those 2014 and 2015 rankings.  Yes, these are not scientific, but it's very obvious what many of us have been saying, "there's a big problem going on with the smallmouth bass fishery in Sturgeon Bay/Door County!"


This is the premier smallmouth bass fishery in Wisconsin and it has big problems that the WI DNR should be very concerned about and try to fix!  Nest Fishing on steroids, too many tournaments during the spawn, largemouth bass virus, Cormorants, Pelicans, small unregulated weigh at the dock tournaments, etc., etc.  This is not just an observation by me, but by a large number.  Off the record virtually every guide would probably agree.


More and more tourist anglers are not coming to Door County to fish, which is a much bigger impact than a few tournaments not coming.


I challenge the WI DNR to take an even closer look at this once great smallmouth bass fishery and try to figure out what is going on and can it be brought back to, or close to the quality of 2014/2015?




Bill Schultz

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