Bassmaster Eyes Sturgeon Bay

The top 50 bass anglers in the world may be fishing off the waters of Sturgeon Bay next fall.

At the Aug. 21 meeting of the Door County Tourism Zone Commission, Jack Moneypenny, CEO of the Door County Visitor Bureau, told members that Bassmaster wants to hold its 2015 elite championship tournament – the culmination of its 2015 tournament series – in Sturgeon Bay, and that ESPN would provide coverage of the weeklong event. He also said the event would probably fill 2,000 rooms for the week.

Why Sturgeon Bay?

In its annual ranking of the nation’s bass lakes in April, Bassmasters ranked Sturgeon Bay the No. 1 bass fishing spot in the country, stating:  “When an 8.45-pound fish wins big bass — and that fish is a smallmouth — heads turn. That’s exactly what happened at a local tournament on this section of Lake Michigan last year. In that very same two-day tournament, it took 67.13 pounds to win (an average of almost 34 pounds per day). If you only caught 25 pounds per day, you were in 61st place. And the fishing here isn’t rocket science. The water is air-clear, and the smallmouth chomp just about anything you throw at them. Look on the expansive flats or the numerous ledges and cast your favorite smallmouth bait. If you are looking for a destination to catch the biggest smallmouth of your life, Sturgeon Bay should be your next trip. If you want to catch a pile of smallies, Sturgeon Bay should be your next trip. Simply put, if you want to angle the best bass fishing waters that currently exist for size and numbers of fish, head to Wisconsin.”

“Everybody should make some money, plus, there should be some great exposure,” Moneypenny said.

However, there are some upfront costs the city is responsible for. Moneypenny said Todd Trimberger of the Sturgeon Bay Visitor Center is working with his board on that aspect.

“Ultimately, at the end of the day, I don’t think it’s so much these 50 people catching fish, as it is the people out in the world watching them catching these fish,” Moneypenny said.

Moneypenny also gave a quick summation of the summer business in the county.

“I’ve heard from all segments and they’re doing pretty darn good this summer,” he said, mentioning there were three consecutive weeks of sold-out rooms from late July into August, and that the fourth week, there were only two rooms available.

“Since I’ve been here, I don’t think that’s ever happened,” he said.

Commission members also talked about the room tax law being applied to certain forms of transient lodging such as boat slips and recreational vehicle parking spaces. The commission plans to discuss it further at its October meeting.