On Outdoors: Area anglers slay hundreds of U.P. smallmouths

Dave McCoy of Rock Valley Anglers displays one of more than 1,000 smallmouth bass caught on a May trip to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Photo provided

By Jim Hagerty
Staff Writer

May was a successful month for six area fishermen during a trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Members of Rock Valley Anglers took to Big Bay de Noc May 22 and did battle with more than 1,000 smallmouth bass. Dean Almquist, John Rassmussen, John Wendell, Jamie Meyers, Andy Wiegert and Dave McCoy enjoyed ideal conditions, resulting in fish that averaged 15 to 17 inches in length and about 500 that topped 3 pounds.

“You often hear people say, ‘We caught a ton of fish,’ but in this case, there is little doubt that we did actually do battle with over 2,000 pounds of smallmouth bass,” McCoy said. “Those of us who have fished this area in the past have had outstanding and surreal days on this body of water, but this weekend was some of the best fishing any of us have experienced in our lives.”

The group landed 400 smallmouth bass on its 2009 Upper Michigan trip.

Monday, May 24, the last day of the outing, the group was hauling in about 100 fish per hour.

“There were times when we were catching 10 fish in 10 casts, 15 fish in 17 casts, and on and on it went like that for hours on end,” McCoy said.

Formed by Lake Michigan, Big Bay de Noc spans the area near the towns of Escanaba, Gladstone and Rapid River. Known nationally for its smelting, Big Bay offers more than 500 acres of parks, miles of bike paths and beaches. Big Bay’s (and Little Bay de Noc’s) smallmouth population outnumbers the tally of largmouths by about 90 percent. In spring, especially if spawning beds are on the chilly side, smallie fishing is optimum. Because of the unique layout of both bays, fish tend to remain active even after the spawn, when smallmouth bass tend to disappear in traditional lakes and streams.

“I have been chasing trophy smallmouth around the Midwest and southern Canada for going on 20 years now,” McCoy added, “and never in my life have I seen both the numbers and quality of the fish that we experienced on this trip.”

Outdoors news and photos can be sent directly to Jim Hagerty at jim.hagerty@rockrivertimes.com. Glossies and hard-copy press kits can be mailed or delivered to The Rock River Times’ office at 128 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61101. Jim can be reached at (815) 964-9767.

From the June 9-15, 2010 issue

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