The mystery has been over for several weeks. The host of the seventh Bassmaster Elite Series event of the 2012 season is Green Bay, Wis., and the fishery is Lake Michigan.
But what part of Lake Michigan? After all, it's one of the five "Great" Lakes for a reason — it covers more than 14 million surface acres. That means you could combine the surface area of the other lakes and reservoirs on the 2012 Elite schedule (Okeechobee, Bull Shoals, Douglas, Toledo Bend and Oneida) and easily fit them into the area covered by Lake Michigan ... 19 times over.
So it should come as no surprise that the competition waters are being somewhat constrained. It happens all the time on river systems where locks and dams create easy lines of demarcation.
On Lake Michigan, the Elites will be confined to the area south of a line between the Splinter Causeway break wall near the mouth of the Oconto River on the west and the Sherwood Point Lighthouse on the east. No boats will be allowed north of that line. Some other specifics about the areas the pros will and will not be allowed to fish in:
- No boats allowed above the first Bridge (S) on the Oconto River.
- No boats allowed within 200 feet of DePere Dam on the Fox River in downtown Green Bay. No locking above DePere Dam.
- Tournament waters on the east side include Little Sturgeon Bay, Riley’s Bay, and Sand Bay.
- Sturgeon Bay will not be part of Tournament waters.
"The Wisconsin DNR has been very conservative in setting the tournament boundaries and excluding places like Sturgeon Bay," said Noreen Clough, B.A.S.S. national conservation director who worked with the Wisconsin DNR on this issue. "However, they have assured us there will be excellent smallmouth fishing on the east side up to Sherwood Lighthouse on the south side of Sturgeon Bay. Through negotiations, we were able to expand the western boundary up to the Oconto River, which will provide not only additional fishing area but expanded refuge for anglers in case of adverse winds. We have been working closely with the Wisconsin DNR to ensure that this will be another outstanding Bassmaster Elite Series tournament."
Of course, that still leaves plenty of fishing area for the 99 pros who will be challenging for Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, Classic berths and first place prize money of $100,000 in the penultimate event of the season.
Below is an approximate map of the area of the tournament. Below the red line is the area the Elites will be competing.
View Greenbay in a larger map