Smallmouths are booming on many portions of the Great Lakes, from the Niagara area of Lake Erie in the East, to Chequamegon Bay of Lake Superior, in the West. Not just numbers of fish, but smallmouths as big as they get today. Arguably, the heart of fishing for giant fish centers on portions of Green Bay and Lake Michigan proper. Early into mid-May is prime for prespawn fish pushed relatively shallow near rock transitions that hold the gobies these fish gorge on.
Starting just south of Sturgeon Bay and up the west-facing shoreline to Gills Rock, bays like Little Sturgeon, Rileys, Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, Ephraim, Sister, and Ellison, draw fish, as does Rowleys around the tip to the East. Green Bay Smallmouth Bass have to weigh 6 pounds to get a second glance, with 7s possible, and a few fish pushing past 8 pounds last season. A 9 or even a 10 seems in reach this year.
This area has some of the best guides in North America. Capt. Jason Gaurkee fishes rivers like the Peshtigo and Menominee on the west bank of the bay: ariverguide.com. To fish the bays of Door County, contact: Capt. Bret Alexander, alexandersportfishing.com; Capt. Dale Stroschien, wackywalleye.com; Capt. Paul Delaney, lateeyesportfishing.com; Capt. Lynn Niklasch, fishinpal.com.