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Chicago Fishing Charters

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Top Fishing Charters in Chicago

As famous for its incredible jazz music scene as its controversial deep dish pizza, it’s fair to say that the Windy City’s diverse on-land opportunities often steal the show. Don’t let ‘em distract you from hopping aboard one of the many Chicago fishing charters on offer! With Lake Michigan, the Chicago River, and a variety of other freshwater fisheries at your disposal, this metropolis is the perfect place to experience some exciting angling action.
Chicago is located right along Lake Michigan’s southwestern shoreline, which means you’ll have access to some world-famous fish. Explore the lake’s shallow inshore waters on a half day trip, and you’ll encounter Perch, Crappie, and Smallmouth Bass. Want to plumb the depths of the lake’s offshore waters? Opt for a full day trip, and your potential targets could include Chinook and Coho Salmon, huge Lake and Brown Trout, and Steelhead.
Then there’s the Chicago River. This waterway runs through downtown Chicago, making it one of the most accessible fisheries around. A short day trip will give you plenty of time to cast a line for Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass from one of the harbors dotted around the city. A longer trip will let you head to the river’s productive North Shore Channel, which is one of the hottest Bass fisheries in the state of Illinois. There’s plenty of lagoons and lakes to check out, too.
Thanks to the Chicago Harbor system, you’ll find plenty of fishing charters dotted all around the city, no matter which fishery you want to explore. The harbor system is a collection of connected slips, walkways, piers, and other permanent structure that stretch from the north to south sides of the city. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from!


Rules & Regulations

Any angler over the age of 16 needs to carry a valid Illinois license, whether fishing alone or on a charter.


Lake Michigan is pretty quiet, but you can still start the year off with a bang by focus your attention along the lakefront and around the harbors. Perch, Panfish, Salmon, and Trout are biting!


Chicago's lakefront and harbors remain the best place to cast a line during this month. Wrap up warm, grab your rods and reels, and you could find anything from Trout, to Salmon, to Panfish at the end of your line.


The action on Lake Michigan is heating up! The Steelhead spawning run has begun, so you'll find 'em in the lake, joined by Lake Trout. Head to the Chicago River and you'll encounter Largemouth Bass and Panfish.


Salmon and Trout enthusiasts, rejoice! The section of Lake Michigan between Chicago and Waukegan is bustling with Coho and Rainbow varieties. Head to the harbours, lakefront, or hop aboard a charter.


This time of year offers up some of the most exciting angling action around, along the river, on the lake, and in the lagoons. Coho Salmon, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass, Panfish, Perch...who knows what you'll hook into!


Head to Lake Michigan and you'll encounter huge Coho, as well as King Salmon. Lake Trout reach an impressive size here, too. On the Chicago River, Panfish are a popular catch, and Bass reign supreme in the lagoons.


This is the time to hit Chicago's lakefront if you're looking for tackle-busting King Salmon! They're joined by Trout varieties. The river is bustling with Bass and Panfish, and so are the lagoons.


Huge Chinook Salmon are plentiful on Lake Michigan in this month, and are joined by their smaller (but no less fiercer!) cousins, Coho. Bass are still available along the river and in the lagoons. 


Lake Trout are lurking along the reefs in Lake Michigan, and Chinooks and Steelhead can still be hooked. The Chicago River is inhabited by Crappie, Bluegill, and Bass varieties. 


Brown and Lake Trout swarm Lake Michigan. King Salmon are also in the cards. Perch can also be hooked, so bring the kids along and teach 'em the magic of fishing this Great Lake. Bass are still plentiful in the river.


The action on Lake Michigan starts to calm down, but you can still hook into Steelhead and Salmon varieties. Bass varieties and Panfish lurk the lagoons and the Chicago River.


End your year in the right way by heading out on a Chicago fishing trip! Steelhead and Lake Trout are still active along the lakefront. If the waters around the harbors are frozen, try your hand at ice fishing for Perch. 

Chicago Fishing Calendar

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FAQs about Fishing Charters in Chicago

To give you an idea of how much a fishing trip in Chicago costs, the average price for a 4 hour private trip is $411, while an 8 hour private trip will cost you $475. These prices are based on trips booked on our site recently.

Prices will vary depending on trip length, fishing technique, as well as the type and size of the boat you booked. However, to give you an indication, the average boat size in Chicago is 22 ft and the most common vessel type is a Aluminum fishing.

According to customer reviews, Musky&PikeDreamers Southern WI Tour, Thin Blue Line Fishing LLC, and Thin Blue Line Fishing Llc are some of the most popular fishing charters in Chicago, Illinois. Full list of top fishing charters in Chicago.

Musky&PikeDreamers Southern WI Tour, Thin Blue Line Fishing LLC, and Thin Blue Line Fishing Llc all received great reviews from families who booked fishing trips in Chicago.

The best way to experience fishing in Chicago is to book a private charter with a licensed fishing guide. See the full list of charters available for online booking here: List of fishing charters in Chicago, Illinois.

The most popular fish species you can target are Bass (Largemouth), Pike (Northern), and Lake Trout. Top fishing techniques include bottom fishing, light tackle, and jigging. Lake fishing, inshore fishing, and nearshore fishing are commonly offered by local guides.

Brown and Lake Trout swarm Lake Michigan. King Salmon are also in the cards. Perch can also be hooked, so bring the kids along and teach 'em the magic of fishing this Great Lake. Bass are still plentiful in the river. Check availability for local fishing charters in Chicago.