A species of freshwater fish belonging to the sunfish family, the smallmouth bass is one of the black basses. It is a widely sought after game fish throughout North American temperate zones, with spread of stock done to plenty of cool-water tributaries in Canada, and with more introduced to the US in this manner. The smallmouth bass’ maximum recorded size has been 12 pounds at 27 inches. Native to the Saint Lawrence River–Great Lakes system, smallmouth bass is also indigenous to the upper and middle Mississippi River basin and up into the Hudson Bay basin.
If you’re planning to go on a fishing vacation to the midwest, make Sturgeon Bay, WI your top smallmouth bass fishing destination. This is where anglers can catch 3- to 4-pound bass regularly, with some lucky fishers even bagging one above 7 pounds. Door County, WI, which is home to Sturgeon Bay, goes beyond just Sturgeon Bay, running up the peninsula on the Green Bay side, where top notch smallmouth bass fishing lies in wait. Farther north to Washington Island, more smallmouth bass fishing awaits.
Located in Iron County, WI, Turtle Flambeau Flowage lies near the towns of Butternut and Mercer and is home to 3 rivers, 9 lakes and a number of creeks. Easily one of the better lakes in Wisconsin at which to do smallmouth bass fishing, the flowage boasts good size and numbers of the sought-after species, with 3- to 4-pound fish being relatively common. Plenty of lakes abound in the Northwoods Wisconsin region that offer fantastic smallmouth bass fishing. Because most anglers in this area target muskie and walleye, the smallmouth bass aren’t really put under a lot of pressure. Thanks to different fishing shows, Chequamegon Bay has been receiving substantial attention from smallmouth bass anglers these days although it still hasn’t been feeling as much heat as the more widely-recognized areas for smallmouth bass angling in the state.
Definitely another one of the best smallmouth bass lakes in the world, Lake Erie, which is shared by Ohio, MI, NY and Canada, doesn’t offer much in the way of shelter from the wind for anglers. A big enough boat is needed as well as adequate protection from the high winds. However, in cooperative weather conditions, 4- to 7-pound bass are usual catches on the lake. Lucky anglers who find large smallmouth schools are likely to haul in 50 or more bass in one go.
A truly large expanse of water, the Menominee River shared between WI and MI delivers fantastic smallmouth bass fishing in Wisconsin. Be ready to catch exceptional numbers of smallies between 3- and 6 pounds heavy. At Grand Traverse Bay, you can bag 4- to 6-pound smallies in good numbers. Big fish in large numbers are available on Lake St. Cair, with remarkable 30- to 50-bass days to look out for, all weighing up to 6 pounds each.
Because walleye fishing is so remarkable on Mille Lacs Lake, most fishers don’t really angle for smallmouth bass there but that still doesn’t dispute the fact that the lake offers huge potential in smallmouth bass fishery. Joining guided fishing trips can bag you double-digit catches, with fish commonly ranging between 2 and 3 pounds heavy, as well as big bass up to 6 pounds.
Ely is another Boundary Waters Area where smallmouth bass are plentiful in the lakes. The Boundary Waters Canoe Area is teeming with smallies in the spring or early summer and the fall. Anglers who are able to find a good balance between the 10 or 25 horsepower limit for many of the lakes at Ely and the presence of bass along the shorelines, are sure to bag large numbers of smallmouth bass between 3 and 4 pounds weight.
Rainy Lake, shared between Minnesota and Canada, offers excellent smallmouth bass angling. Fishing is even better on Canada’s side of the lake. Anglers can enjoy 30 to 50-bass days easily during the spring and early summer during which 3- to 4-pound fish can be caught.
Home to the world record smallmouth bass weighing 11 pounds 15 ounces, Dale Hollow Lake remains a big bass fishery area despite not being what it used to be. Trophy smallmouth bass is available as well on Pickwick Lake, where smallmouth bass offer interesting prospects as the weather becomes cold in the north states. This specific lake also teems with striped bass, huge catfish and largemouth bass along with the smallies.
Other areas where smallmouth bass fishery is best include enormous Lake Champlain in New York and Lake of the Woods in Canada.