We are always in the hunt for stories of amazing smallmouth fisheries and successful conservation efforts. Lake Superior smallmouth fly fishing in Wisconsin is better than ever.
The smallmouth bass populations in the Chequamegon Bay area had been severely depleted in the 80s but thanks to heros like Roger LaPenter, regulations have allowed the Bay to become a world renowned fishery once again!
By 1993, the WDNR agreed to new regulations—catch-and-release until late June and then one 22-inch fish for the rest of the season—that protect spawning-size fish (15 to 20 inches) for the entire year, as well as the big-fish population. Today the bay’s big-fish and year-class populations are healthy again, and few fly rodders know that you can catch as many as 50 fish a day, with an average of six fish over 18 inches. Locals rarely raise their eyebrows at 18-inch smallmouth—they’re used to tangling with fish up to 20 inches and larger.
The strict regulations on Chequamegon Bay, says Hoff, are important because the bay has potential to be one of the best smallmouth stillwaters in North America. Waters with such potential need protection to create more quality experiences for the growing number of anglers who want them, he says. LaPenter agrees.
“This could be one of the best in the world,” says LaPenter. “The bay has ideal habitat and food for big smallmouth, which means there is a future for the fishery. Our kids’ kids will be able to experience it.” Source
If you've been reading this blog or looking at the pictures on our Facebook page, you've seen plenty of Wisconsin smallies. The strict catch and release regulations have created a great fishery for fly anglers and spinning/baitcasting anglers to enjoy.
In this video, you'll see smallies caught on a spinning rod and a fly rod:
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