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First trip to Lake Michigan


TetraFish'n

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I have family that lives in Sheboygan Wisconsin. I'll be traveling from Idaho, in June, to go visit for the first time. North Dakota is the furthest east I have been. I would love to fish for some big Smallmouth when I'm over there. I have watched several fishing shows and bass tournaments from that region, but don't have much knowledge other than that. None of my family members go fishing, but they see lots of people catching salmon. They don't have any knowledge about the bass fishing around there. I only have one friend who has been there, and he finished the Michigan side. They fished the rivers for smallmouth. 

 

I would assume there is good bass fishing to be found on the Wisconsin side. Any recommendations on where to start my research? I wouldn't be opposed to hiring a guide. I do have the option of taking my own boat, but I would prefer to not drag it that far. 

 

One major consideration is that I use a wheelchair, I realize that will limit my options.

 

Thanks, Josh

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, since you haven't gotten any replies in a couple weeks, I throw in my two cents, though bear in mind that I am not the most knowledgeable or experienced with Lake Michigan smallmouth.

 

Most of the fishing you year about on Lake Mich is on the bays, so in WI that's Green Bay. These warm up a bit more, tend to have better habitat, and I suspect the lesser wave action is better for small boats too. I have caught a few smallmouth in the main lake, but I think the good fisheries are in the bays. In the case of Sheboygan, it looks like the north side of town has a rocky point and some abandoned piers that would make good structure.

 

In June, you'll probably be fishing prespawn conditions. I was up on Grand Traverse Bay last 4th of July weekend and was struggling to find fish. Until I talked to some other guys who said they had seen several bass on spawning beds... in July! I caught more when I moved into shallows areas around where they would be spawning (personally, I don't fish spawning beds). 

 

So if I was in your place, I'd be fishing relatively shallow rocks, around 5' of depth. But really, if you can afford it, a guide would be the way to go. Nothing beats local knowledge in those waters.

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Well I appreciate the reply. I've been doing quite a bit of research and plan on mostly fishing areas other than Sheboygan. I've got a decent sized boat, but I plan on fishing the tributaries and some of the bays. I realize it will all be weather dependent. Thanks for the information on their spawning routine. And that's a good tip, I actually scheduled to fish with two different guides on the trip. One for walleye and perch, the other for strictly bass. Like you said, nothing beats local knowledge. I enjoy figuring out waters myself. But considering that I will be pulling the boat almost 1800 miles, I would like to have a successful trip and won't be so proud. ?

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  • 2 months later...

June is a great time to visit that area. I have never heard of anyone bass fishing the harbor in Sheboygan. There are probably some bass there but not worth your time targeting. 
 

Sheboygan is only about an hour south of Sturgeon Bay in Door County. Door county has some of the best smallie fishing in the country. June is a good time to visit. Depending on what time In June you will be visiting and how quickly the water will warm up will dictate the fishing. It’s looking to be a warm spring so they will likely be post spawn. 
 

Sturgeon bay is the southern most bay and warms up quicker than the bays further north.  All the bays hold bass and can be great depending on conditions.

 

Techniques are mostly finesse - tubes, Ned rigs, drop shot, wacky, paddle tails, jerk baits, etc. Use natural color and floro line. Super clear water. Hiring a guide is probably the right call to get you up to speed quickly.

 

Fishing can be tricky and requires some patience. The reward can be some great number days with legit chances at multiple 5 lb fish. Pay attention to weather as conditions it can get nasty in a hurry. Just use caution. Also make sure your boat is has all the coast guard requirements. 
 

If you go, you can stop at Howie’s bait shop in Sturgeon bay. They can point you in the right direction and offer some tips. It’s a beautiful area as well. Good luck!

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On 4/13/2023 at 8:06 PM, Big Ern said:

June is a great time to visit that area. I have never heard of anyone bass fishing the harbor in Sheboygan. There are probably some bass there but not worth your time targeting. 
 

Sheboygan is only about an hour south of Sturgeon Bay in Door County. Door county has some of the best smallie fishing in the country. June is a good time to visit. Depending on what time In June you will be visiting and how quickly the water will warm up will dictate the fishing. It’s looking to be a warm spring so they will likely be post spawn. 
 

Sturgeon bay is the southern most bay and warms up quicker than the bays further north.  All the bays hold bass and can be great depending on conditions.

 

Techniques are mostly finesse - tubes, Ned rigs, drop shot, wacky, paddle tails, jerk baits, etc. Use natural color and floro line. Super clear water. Hiring a guide is probably the right call to get you up to speed quickly.

 

Fishing can be tricky and requires some patience. The reward can be some great number days with legit chances at multiple 5 lb fish. Pay attention to weather as conditions it can get nasty in a hurry. Just use caution. Also make sure your boat is has all the coast guard requirements. 
 

If you go, you can stop at Howie’s bait shop in Sturgeon bay. They can point you in the right direction and offer some tips. It’s a beautiful area as well. Good luck!

Thank you for the reply. I appreciate the advice. After quite a bit of research, I also found that the Sheboygan area wouldn't be the best place to fish for bass. I plan to do most of my fishing on the upper end of the lake along with a few rivers. When I visit family in Sheboygan, I plan on fishing Lake Winnebago as well. 

 

I'm excited to visit the state. Sounds like a wonderful place, especially for sportsmen. Thanks again.

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