The Mystery Lake puzzle was solved May 24, when Green Bay, Wis., was revealed as the host city of the seventh Bassmaster Elite Series event, to be held June 28-July 1.
However, precise boundaries for tournament waters remained a mystery until this week, when B.A.S.S. tournament officials sent an official notice to the 99 Elite Series competitors.
According to the tournament permit issued by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), anglers will not be allowed to enter Sturgeon Bay, a popular and productive fishery to the north.
“The Wisconsin DNR has been very conservative in setting the tournament boundaries and excluding places like Sturgeon Bay,” said B.A.S.S. National Conservation Director Noreen Clough, who was the liaison between B.A.S.S. and state biologists who issued the permit.
Elite Series anglers will be able to fish the area south of a line between the Splinter Causeway breakwall near the mouth of the Oconto River on the west and the Sherwood Point Lighthouse on the east. No tournament boats will be allowed north of that line.
Clough said Wisconsin officials assured her that smallmouth fishing is excellent in the waters on the east side up to Sherwood Lighthouse. Tournament waters on the east side include Little Sturgeon Bay, Riley’s Bay and Sand 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,” she added. “We have been working closely with the Wisconsin DNR to ensure that this will be another outstanding Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.”
The permit states that anglers will not be allowed above the first bridge on the Oconto River, nor will boats be allowed within 200 feet of DePere Dam on the Fox River in downtown Green Bay.
That still leaves plenty of fishing area for the 99 pros who will be vying for Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points, a Classic berth and first place prize money of $100,000 in the penultimate event of the season. With only the Oneida Championship Elite event remaining in the season, Green Bay will play a pivotal role in determining the 2012 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
When the pros arrive in “Titletown,” the new question will focus on who will walk away the Elite Series trophy and title after fishing the waters out of Green Bay.
Hosts of the Bassmaster Elite Series event at Green Bay include the Greater Green Bay Convention & Visitors Bureau, Wisconsin Tourism and the City of Green Bay.