The Green Bay Conspiracy Theory

Let me know if I’ve licked one too many toads on this…talkin’ ’bout the whole Green Bay mess.

On the one hand we know that whoever is responsible for the nonsense at the Wisconsin DNR has a legit issue. Check it:

(I love that DERP pic.)

No seriously. SomeONE is responsible for doing the bait and switch with B.A.S.S. Don’t know who, don’t have any CIA intel, just looks like it from here.

Probably someone who’s still ticked about being forced to allow culling (what a frickin’ travesty!), and wanted to stick it to the number one bass fishin’ group in the world for some sweet revenge. Real public-type backsies.

But what if it goes deeper than that.

What I mean is: The reason the Elites are supposedly restricted to the bathtub they’re fishing this week is to “save bass.” Like bass are sensitive, or there’s a shortage of bass in Lake Michigan. Whatever. The rationale is to “save the bass.”

Now consider these two quotes from a story on BassFan yesterday:

It’s expected the majority of Elite Series anglers will be bunched up along the red [north] boundary line this week.

Green Bay guide Scott Gutschow: “I’ve never targeted the lower bay because there’s too much good fishing up north. The water [in the southern bay] is very warm this time of year. It’s more of a walleye deal in there now.”

Got all that?

  • The fishing isn’t very good.
  • Anglers will be bunched up in one area.
  • The water’s very warm.

Does that sound like a recipe for fish conservation to you?

Does it instead sound like someONE is banking on crappy fishing for over-stressed smallmouths released into water that’s too warm? And the bad media coverage in Wisconsin that would result from that?

(Can the release boats go beyond that red line on the map?!)

I don’t know, man. Maybe it’s the tin foil on my windows. But this whole thing is either pure stupidity, utter ignorance or just plain devious. Where you come out?



  1. Jared Burgess

    June 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    agreed – politics. hopefully bass will never return to the cheesiness

  2. Ron Lindner

    June 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Yes, the Wisconsin DNR does foolish things. However, there is MORE than enough water and enough fish within the boundaries set to make for a real great tournament. I predict that Jonathan VanDam who fished an early Sturgeon Bay tournament there will do very well.

    Again, there is plenty of water and plenty of fish within the boundary lines.

  3. Chad Keogh

    June 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I see the conspiracy going like this:

    The city of Green Bay wanted the money that comes from hosting an Elite Series event.
    The WDNR don’t want ANY tournaments.
    A higher-up in the city told the WDNR to not mess with getting the event, but once it was a sure thing, fire at will.
    The city gets a huge shot of cash during a weak economy, the Elites will NEVER come back, the hot water will cause higher than normal fish mortality, and the WDNR will use to justify what they did and the banning of any future events.
    City of Green Bay = winner.
    WDNR = winner.
    B.A.S.S. = loser.
    Anglers = loser.

    If I were Jerry, and the WDNR handed me their little restriction letter at the 11th hour, I would have ordered my crew to pack up, sent an email to all the anglers with the NEW location, and told Wisconsin to kiss my butt as I’m leaving, because you’ll never see it again.

    I ‘d rather go somewhere I’m wanted that didn’t pay me to be there, than stay in Green Bay.


  4. Chad Keogh

    June 28, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Green Bay and the WDNR were not just dogs chasing cars… they had a plan (re: Joker).


  5. Chris

    June 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Honestly, this is more than a WI thing. In general, a lot of these states have a different mentality towards their bodies of water. It seems like when I travel down south, everyone is glad you’re there. They welcome you to there resorts, bait shops, gas stations, ect. When I come back up north, its “Get the hell of my lake”, “Don’t fish my dock”, “Trolling motor only”, Save our fish”. I regularly fish the Upper Mississippi River, and over the past decade tournaments have increased along with the bass population. Hmmmmm. And they still want to make laws restricting tournaments.

  6. Jim Kelley

    June 28, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Its a control issue,or a power struggle really. They wanted to see how B.A.S.S would take it, but Jerry Mckinnis I think played nice, instead of rescheduling the tournament, or packing up and moving he tried to be fair about it hoping they would reciprocate, the DNR didn’t however and now they’re stuck fishing in a fishbowl. Its a shame, that fishery has loads of potential, a buddy of mine Todd Barnes former owner/founder of Omega custom tackle lives up there now, says the fishery as a whole is unreal for the amount of large fish up there, and the numbers are there too, a real fish factory if you will. The state is playing games with BASS, and like Chad posted BASS and the anglers are gonna end up in a loss. It angers, and sickens me at the bureaucratic abuse they threw at Jerry McKinnis and crew. I know he’s pissed, but at the same time if anybody read his statements, he’s trying to keep his cool and be diplomatic about it all. Basically BASS is screwed into fishing this tournament. I will never set foot in that state to fish again, I hope the word really gets out, and the bass fishing community professional or not makes a statement these DNR idiots will never forget.

  7. BryanT

    June 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    It’s a political struggle between the very Republican Green Bay and Gov Walker and the old wore out Lib hired DNR officials. It is nothing more than a political ploy. The DNR did not want to see culling overturned and now this is the DNR’s little jab back.

    I hate seeing politics infiltrate the DNR, and this one a real shame.

    Why is ti every time that WI is mentioned on this blog, it gets a ton of attention?

  8. Ron Cherkas

    June 29, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Here’s one for you. The Everstart event in three weeks at Lacrosse Wisconsin has a limitation on the permit for only three fish limits, however, you can cull! Something about alowing only three fish limits after a certain water temperature is reached.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      June 29, 2012 at 8:37 am

      What?! Seriously?

      • Ron Cherkas

        June 29, 2012 at 9:53 am

        Yes, I just checked with FLW and that is the case, it is a three fish limit instead of 5 fish

        • Chris

          July 2, 2012 at 6:27 pm

          Yep, BFLs did this last year and again this year as well.

  9. Dave PT

    June 29, 2012 at 7:21 am

    So many people are wrong about the WDNR situation in Green Bay. Why blame the WDNR? The bass fishing public is coming down hard on the WDNR for no reason. BASS messed this one up people, not the WDNR. BASS did not do their homework on the requirements for having a bass tournament on Lake Michigan. Boundary limitations have been a part of bass tournaments on Lake Michigan for years. Even the Sturgeon Bay tournament has a boundary limit. BASS should have known the rules before they went to Green Bay. BASS did NOT get blindsided. BASS failed to know the rules. If you don’t like the rules, go somewhere else. But don’t blame the WDNR. Lake Michigan is their house. When you enter their house, you abide by their rules. You must know the rules before you enter their house. Does BASS and Jerry think they are bigger than the WDNR and they can do whatever they want when they enter the WDNR house? Should the WDNR change the rules that have been in place for years just for Jerry? NO WAY! BASS should have made the mystery lake decision based upon the pro’s well being. The guys are spending $80,000 a year before they make a cast and now they are dealing with this crap because someone didn’t do the research. Leadership from the management team at BASS should take care of the anglers, the most important asset BASS has today. Don’t get caught up in all the WDNR crap. The decision to go to Green Bay without doing the research was the big mistake by BASS and the WDNR is taking all the heat for BASS’s lack of attention to the details. BASS got the fat check from the city of Green Bay. What about the 49 guys that didn’t get a check in Green Bay?

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      June 29, 2012 at 8:39 am

      You may know something no one else seems to, but all I can do is quote Jerry McKinnis: “On the day that the Green Bay mayor announced the location, the DNR hit B.A.S.S. with boundary lines….”

    • Flip'N'Pitch

      June 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm

      You have some valid points (their house, their rules) but also some invalid ones as well (50 Elites who didn’t get a check because B.A.S.S. allegedly didn’t perform due diligence). To the competitors, it ultimately doesn’t matter where the tournament is held because the competition is rewarded on a relative scale. So someone is going to win the tournament (and $100K) regardless of how good or bad the fishing is at whatever location during that period. Likewise, 48-50 Elites go home empty handed from EVERY tournament. The problem isn’t that there are boundary restrictions at all, it’s that they’re ultraconservative to the point of obvious stupidity or blatant insult, you take your pick of which one (maybe both). EVERY tournament has boundary restrictions. To the host venue of competition, the potential for long term reward is based on an absolute scale of how good the fishing is during that period. Sure Green Bay will get their money this time around, but because the WI DNR flipped the middle finger at B.A.S.S., if the high quality fishing that brought the tournament there in the first place doesn’t shine through then this will be a huge waste of mutually beneficial potential for all parties involved.

  10. Jeff Hahn

    June 29, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Many years ago I had a colleague who, during Vietnam, was a part of Operation Phoenix, a real cloak and dagger joint operation of military intelligence and the CIA. Anyway, every time he heard someone voice a conspiracy theory, he always said, “To attribute a conspiracy, you must also assume competence.” I believe others have said something similar like “Never attribute to conspiracy that which can be explained by incompetence.” In short, I don’t see a conspiracy by WDNR, but I do see a lot of incompetence.

  11. Flip'N'Pitch

    June 29, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    Sorry for the “repost” from the previous day’s “Bass Blaster” but it still applies:
    Sure, the WI DNR put the smack down just to let us know who’s in charge and whose proverbial “ball we’re playing with”. Everyone should acknowledge that legitimate authority and respect it even though we disagree with it. Are the restrictions ultraconservative to the point of being dumb? Sure they are! Is it infantile to play the “my rules or I’ll take my ball and go home” routine? Sure it is! They know that we know that they did what they did just to prove that point. So as long as the tournament folks/industry don’t “show their a$$es” and the alleged threat of widespread fish mortality is hopefully kept to an absolute minimum then it will only be a matter of time before public opinion, logic, and reason eventually win out. I mean, remember the first time you put moves on your spouse/significant other? Did it work the very first time? Probably not (myself included!), but eventually the “mojo” works, chastity belts come off, and whaddya know? Hubba hubba hubba! Wisconsin DNR isn’t some cheap, easy flophouse floozy. She’s a classy lady. Treat her like one and we’ll get wide open, unrestricted tournament waters soon enough!

  12. YankeeBasser

    June 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Quote “But this whole thing is either pure stupidity, utter ignorance or just plain devious. Where you come out? I believe that it was all three. And it was not just the DNR. Here is a a true story that shows the stupidity side of things.
    I have a buddy who lives in Illinois and was in the area where the tourney was going to be held about two or three weeks before it was to start. He went into a local small mom $ pop type tackle store to pick up some items, and as the lady was ringing him up she asked him if he would sign a petition to try and stop B.A.S.S. from holding the tourney. When he asked why she replied that big tourneys kill too many of their fish and that the fish don’t get released back in the same area that they were caught. She said “it hurts a small business like this because we then have less fish in this area and people will stop coming in if they can’t catch fish here. My buddy, who has fished many opens and marshalled for a few Elites tried to explain to her how B.A.S.S. does things and how it would not only not hurt the fishery but would increase business and tourism dollars to the area, very likely to her own shop. She argued with him every step of the way interrupting him quite often. Finally he got so frustrated that he just started walking out of the store. The woman called after him and asked if he was going to pay for the items she had rung up. He told her “no thanks, you keep the stuff, and you just caused yourself to lose money, not B.A.S.S.,I am sure that many other people coming up for the event ahead of time will do the same when you present your petition.” She called HIM stupid and ignorant to the facts. If I was James Hall or Dave Precht I would put out a call for all the members of B.A.S.S. to write to the DNR up there and tell them that they will not vacation or do any fishing related business in that area ever again. and then have them tell all of their other fishing friends to do the same.
    Just my $0.02, and sorry about the length of the post.

    • admin (mostly Jay)

      June 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      That’s crazy! But maybe Wisconsin is crazy? I lived there as a kid for a while…maybe that explains a thing or two….

    • BryanT

      June 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      We have that mentality from quite a few of the “protectionist” fellas up here in IL and WI. It sucks because that subjective feeling seems to get more notice than scientific research. It sucks dealing with this and I agree that all BASS members should write the WI DNR. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Fed Nation and BASS Fed directors put stuff together to challenge the WI DNR. The LaCrosse tourney was weird, the Green Bay one is mind munbing, and now the LaCrosse BFL 3 fish limit. This has all got to be a joke.

      • Bob W

        June 30, 2012 at 10:57 am

        What was weird about the LaCrosse event, I hope you meant in a good way. Nearly every Pro brought in a limit each day and spoke of the fantastic fishing in the area, the crowds at the weigh ins were large and enthusiastic each day, the pros were not overly crowded, area business’s profited from the event. The only thing I see that is weird is the contrast of the LaCrosse event from the absolute Bull S— the WDNR pulled on the Green Bay event. I totally agree that Green Bay was a revenge jab by the WDNR on the culling rule.

        Are the Walleye and Muskie events restricted to little areas of this large system ?

  13. Scotty Melvin

    June 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    I’m hoping some of the Elite guys will talk about it after it’s over. None of them want to rock the boat or piss off their fans over there. However, KVD did write a nice piece about it, and that’s all I needed to see. However, I’m quite sure that this will be the last time BASS heads to Wisconsin. And that’s a good call.

  14. Tom Jerome

    August 19, 2012 at 10:02 am

    I totally agree with the WDNR. It’s not the B.A.S.S. tournament that is causing the problem. It’s the bass tournament that runs out of Sturgeon Bay earlier in the year that is the problem. These anglers are allowed to run up to the Fish Creek and Ephraim areas. The tournament is held during or near the spawn. They are targeting bedding fish. When a spawnning female is taken off the bed, the gobies move in and wipe out the spawn. Then the anglers race back to Sturgeon Bay where many of their fish are dying in the live well. Then all the fish are released in the Sturgeon Bay area. Sorry KVD, but I don’t believe most of those smallmouths are returning to the area. I have been fishing that water for 25 years. This year we were up there a week before the Green Bay tournament. My wife and I caught approx. 40 bass between 8 and 12 inches, with only one 15 inch fish. That is the worse we have ever done. Just try to imagine 2 three day tournaments a year. 6 days with 150 professional anglers a day targeting the same area. However, there is a solution:
    1) One tournament a year
    2) Move the dates away from the spawn
    3) Increased penalties for dead fish
    4) Transport at least half the catch back to the
    northern waters

    Just an idea…

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The best, worst and funniest in bassin'! Jay Kumar is the guy who created, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a whole lot more in bassin™. Make sure you sign up for the BassBlaster email!

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