CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Bassmaster Elite Series will return to the St. Lawrence River next week.

This season’s final three-event phase, known as the “Northern Swing” will challenge 90 pro anglers to fish Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, including areas in Cape Vincent, Chaumont Bay and offshore islands.

According to Bassmasters, Anglers in the lake typically follow a more target-oriented strategy and use their electronics to target specific structures. River anglers are forced to fish on shoals, rocks and ledges with long drifts.

Lake Ontario often produces the greatest number of quality fish, including the majority of big smallmouth bass. The St. Lawrence River has more constricted water, which creates a stronger current. Fish are said to expend more in the River, which allows for more weight retention.

Veteran Elite Series pro Clark Wendlandt, who fished his first professional tournament on the St. Lawrence, said in a press release that anglers have a tremendous amount of diversity.

“When we went out of Clayton in 2020, the Canadian side was closed,” Wendlandt said. “This year, the Canadian side is open, and with Lake Ontario, it’s massive. I think the sky’s the limit.”

Wendlant said that he believes it will take a little under 20 pounds a day to reach Championship Sunday’s Top 10 field. An Elite angler has yet to enter the Century Club, which recognizes a four-day total of 100 pounds or more with all smallmouth.

Ahead of the tournament, Idaho Angler Brandon Palaniuk is leading the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year and Florida Angler John Cox is in second place. In the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race, Joseph Webster of Alabama holds the top spot.

The first casts of the competition will begin on Thursday, July 14 with takeoffs from the Antique Boat Museum at 7 a.m. and weigh-ins back at the museum at 3 p.m. The competition will close on Sunday, July 17.

Full coverage from all four days of the Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River will be available on the Bassmaster’s website and the FOX Sports digital platforms.