30 Fishing Charters

Waukegan Fishing Charters

Search top fishing charters in Waukegan

Top Fishing Charters in Waukegan

Waukegan, Illinois is located just about an hour drive from Chicago. This can only mean one thing — Waukegan fishing charters are right in Chicago’s backyard. But the “Windy City” clearly doesn’t hold the monopoly for the best fishing in Illinois.

The fifth-largest city in the state is blessed with natural dunes, sandy shorelines, migratory hawks, and other wonderful wildlife. Even the wind direction, water temperatures, geographic location, and fish migrations are as good as they could be. But in order to fully grasp Waukegan’s beauty, you need to experience it from the water.

Waukegan fishing spots

Lake Michigan

Waukegan fishing charters offer less boat traffic and more time to have fun with your rod and reel than the majority of other ports around. Lake Michigan’s western shore opens its arms to Coho Salmon early in spring, which can sometimes show up in April. While all local enthusiasts and Salmon lovers rush to get their first catch of the season, many other fishermen go for a mixed bag. The beginning of the season offers great Brown Trout and Lake Trout action in the nearshore waters.

Perch fishing charters are another thing all the locals absolutely adore since they offer consistent action. April and May are the best time to catch Jumbo Yellow Perch. Fishing starts up sometime in the middle of April and goes through October. However, the season closes down for a month in July.

As May progresses into June, captains begin to run to the rigs and overlapping waters for Chinook “King” Salmon and Lake Trout. Acrobatic Steelhead join the gang too to make sure you’re able to catch all the best Salmon and Trout species Lake Michigan has to offer. Later in summer, Brown Trout can also be available in good numbers.

As Waukegan fishing charters approach the fall months, the transition time begins. Locals call this time of year the best season to be on the water. Offshore rock structures and reefs hold Lake Trout, and non-spawning Chinook, Brown Trout, and Steelhead make the bulk of the catches.

Waukegan Harbor

Waukegan Harbor is a great place to begin your Lake Michigan fishing adventure. You can wet a line right from shore or hop aboard the Harbor’s many boats and venture out for a dose of Salmon and Trout. Waukegan Harbor is located in close proximity to nearshore and offshore structures. It’s not too far south or north so the fishing grounds are just a stone's throw from shore.

Waukegan fishing techniques

Lake Michigan trolling

Knowing that Coho Salmon are famous for their death rolls and jumps, you would want to use light tackle to fully enjoy the experience. Early in the season, your guide will troll crankbaits. Salmon are closer to shore and follow baitfish in the shallows. As the water warms up in May, you can begin trolling with planer boards and run orange peanut flies.

Lake Michigan trolling basics include lures, fisher and fly combos, crank baits, plugs, and trolling spoons, which play on Salmon’s finely-tuned sense of sight. Waukegan fishing charters will normally include trolling with downriggers, dipsy divers, and planer boards.

Lake Trout charters are also done by trolling. Lakers are found nearshore in spring and fall and a bit further out during the summer months. They can be caught while fishing for Steelhead offshore or near the bottom on structures and drop-offs.

Pier fishing

Head to the Government Pier for Salmon, Smelt, Trout, and Perch. Steelhead bite best when the Lake fishing season is over, along with Brown Trout. Cast spoons, lures, or jigs and try tightline and bobber fishing when there’s not too much traffic.

Need to know

To fish the Waukegan waters, you will need to purchase an Illinois Fishing License with a Salmon stamp.

If you come without a stamp, it will heavily reduce the amount of fish you can catch. Resident and Non-Resident licenses are available along with a 24 Hour Sport Fishing ones.

Based on 20041 reviews by FishingBooker anglers


Welcome the beginning of a new year by checking the bite for Brown Trout. An ice fishing trip is a great idea if the ice is thick enough. Make sure you have a professional guide with you.


The last month of winter in Waukegan might still be good for ice fishing if the weather and the Lake’s conditions allow. If it’s unsafe going out, just wait for the season to begin. 


If you can’t wait to fish, starting late March, Perch can bite pretty well. Make sure you know the limits though. Fish in up to 60’ of water or head out for Whitefish.


Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass can be found in the Harbor, along with Lake and Brown Trout. Brownies and Lakers are nearshore, and some Coho Salmon are caught in April too.


Explore the beautiful waters of Lake Michigan and get your hands on Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, and, of course, Coho Salmon and Chinook Salmon. 


The first month of summer sees anglers from all over the country out on the water. They are fishing for acrobatic Steelhead and Salmon, landing good numbers of fish. And so should you!


Enjoy this fantastic fishing bonanza that is keeping everyone busy, from novice anglers catching the first Salmon in their lives to seasoned professionals and local captains. 


The last month of summer switches your attention to Brown Trout, which can be found in good numbers. Lake Trout, steelhead, and Chinook Salmon are obviously around as well.


The transition time begins. Head for some Lake Trout action offshore, check the refs and rock structures. Fish for Salmon, Brown Trout, and Steelhead, as well as Lakers.


October in Waukegan sees anglers, captains, and just fishing enthusiasts wrapping up their season. You can still get your hands on Coho Salmon, Lake Trout, Steelhead, and Brown Trout.


Right after Halloween is over, you can check the creeks for an occasional bite of whatever may be there. However, fishing might not the most productive activity right now. 


You can find Perch if you know where to look and if you are fishing with a knowledgeable guide. Ice fishing can be productive but is not safe unless if you go alone.

Waukegan Fishing Calendar

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6hr trip with Capt Ray
Craig M. fished with Xtasea IV Charters on July 15, 2019
Get ready to have some tired forearms the fishing is amazing!
6 hour a.m. trip
Bryan B. fished with Long Gone 3 Charters on July 10, 2019
Bring light weight pants to fend off the biting flys that are present during July & summer months.
5am to 10am Salmon trip!
Jennifer J. fished with Kristy Lynn Charters on July 10, 2019
This was definitely worth the trip for a first time charter fishing experience and loved that everyone caught something and the captain cleans the fish on the boat and sends home with you!
Half Day With Captain Ron
Brad V. fished with Xtasea IV Charters on July 5, 2019
Try to book a little earlier when the water is cooler
6-hr trip
Luis S. fished with Captain Don's Charter Service on August 18, 2018
Fish with captain Don, guaranteed you'll have a great time.
Half Day Morning Trip
Michael W. fished with Long Gone 3 Charters on August 16, 2018
Beautiful day for me, but do note best fishing is in May.
Great Experience!
Ryan S. fished with Xtasea IV Charters on July 7, 2018
Get a charter with Ray and Joe at Xtasea IV Charter for a great weekend fun day with your friends!
4 Hour Trip Mon-Fri (PM) (MAX 2)
Robert R. fished with Merganzer Fishing Charters on August 8, 2017
Bring proper clothing ,sunblock and a great attitude ! remember it's the experience not the poundage of fillets. Although you may get both. There are no guarantees. Good luck.

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