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Top Fishing Charters in Kenosha

Fishing in Kenosha

Kenosha fishing charters have the highest catch-per-hour rate in Wisconsin according to Kenosha Charter Boat Association. Located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, this beautiful city is widely recognized as the “Trout and Salmon Capital of Wisconsin.”

The city was originally known as Pike Creek and was later renamed to Southport. It then became “Kenosha,” which means “Northern Pike” in Potawatomi Indian. Safe to say, this is a town that revolves around the water — and the fish inside it.

Kenosha is not only a goldmine of crème de la crème freshwater species. It’s famous for summer music festivals, amazing restaurants with fantastic cuisine, and a myriad of outdoor activities. When you think about fishing in Wisconsin, give Kenosha a try. You will surely blow your mind!

Need to know

Any Kenosha fishing charter starts and ends on Lake Michigan. The waters of this Great Lake are home to a large variety of fish species that can satisfy your angling wishes. Kenosha’s fishing menu includes Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead, Brown Trout, and Lake Trout to name a few.

The season opens with Coho Salmon running from the warmer waters south to the lake. If you book a trip out of Kenosha this time of year, you can easily opt for a mixed bag of young Cohos, Brownies, Lakers, and Steelhead. If you are lucky enough, you can hook into a 30-pound King that are patrolling the shoreline. 

Come summer, and every Kenosha charter captain and Lake Michigan guide begins catching stable numbers of large Cohos, Lake Trout, Kings, and Steelhead. As the temperature rises, you can head further from the shoreline to Lake Michigan’s “hills.” It’s right there in the valleys of the hills where big and mature Salmon hang out in deep cool waters. Those Salmon can easily weigh somewhere from 16 to 35 pounds.

The season reaches its peak in August when large Coho and Chinook Salmon roam the waters in their full force. But it’s not only about late summer Kings - Steelhead, Brownies, and Lake Trout are biting heavily as well. July and August are considered to be the busiest months of the season for the local captains and guides.

Naturally, Salmon fishing Wisconsin-style doesn’t end in summer. Fall fishing on Lake Michigan is all about bigger fish and bigger challenges. The waves are high and the water begins to cool down, which attract Salmon. The spawning Cohos are gathering in the colder shallow waters close to shore, ready for the run upstream. You can get your hands on mature Kings, Lake Trout, Brownies, Chinooks, and Steelhead within just a mile from shore.

Wrapping up the season in October, you will be targeting King Salmon in the deeper waters offshore, along with Steelhead and Lakers. Brown Trout are also found nearshore throughout the fall.

Kenosha fishing techniques

Kenosha fishing charters use light and heavy tackle for better results. Trolling is the most popular method. Miles and miles of Lake Michigan shoreline provide great opportunities to spread your lines.

As you drift past the harbor, you will be able to enjoy the sun breaking through the clouds, the spectacular shoreline, and beautiful waters. While your captain focuses on finding fish, you will be able to get yourself ready for a rod-bending adventure.

Salmon are ferocious fighters and will jump and leap until one of you gives up. Cohos are arguably the most aggressive Salmon on Lake Michigan and, having no fear of the boats, love to take lures. In the spring and summer months, your guide will take you fishing the upper 20’ of water with planer boards, dipsy divers, or downriggers. Your bonus to the feisty Cohos on those trips will be Lakers and Kings.

When targeting Coho Salmon, you will most likely use bright colors, although those fish are not picky.

Trout fishing on Kenosha’s Lake Michigan is also done by trolling. Depending on the season, your guide will be using different trolling speed and types of lures. As a Great Lake troller, he will definitely know which style is better!

Wisconsin ice-fishing trips on the shores of Lake Michigan are a great idea for a winter morning. Find yourself the right guide and head to the Harbor for Brown Trout.

If you want to fish from a pier, go to the Inner Harbor. Cast spoons, lures, and jigs and fish with bait under bobbers. You will mainly be targeting Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout anytime from November through April. Ice fishing is also available when the waters are frozen.

Rules and regulations

Anyone who is 16 years of age or older needs to obtain a valid fishing license prior to the trip. You can purchase it online.

Kenosha
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Kenosha Fishing Seasons

Celebrate the beginning of a new year by heading out for Brown Trout. Even if they are a bit tricky to find, you can still enjoy fishing the shallow waters for a nice dose of Brownies. 

You can check what is the Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week is all about or visit a local museum and art exhibitions. Fishing is not the only thing you can do around here!

Learn about Lake Michigan ‘best practices’ by attending a local series of seminars. Pick up some tackle at great prices and have some new insights on how to fish for Trout and Salmon. 

Enjoy a mid-spring morning or afternoon full of great fishing potential. Head to Kenosha Harbor and target Perch, Smelt, and even Coho Salmon with spoons, jigs, or lures.

Coho Salmon, Perch, Smelt, Chinook Salmon, Steelhead… even Lake Trout are around. Come Chinooks can be up to 30 pounds if you know where to find them. 

Summertime, and the fishing is easy. If you are still not on the water, then don’t waste any more of your time. Go fishing! You can enjoy the shoreline bite for Salmon and Trout.

Mid-summer is the busiest month around. There are stable numbers of Lake Trout, Coho Salmon, Chinook Salmon, and Steelhead. The weather is also great in July, and so is fishing.

With stable action for Coho and Chinook Salmon, good numbers of catches of Steelhead and Lake Trout, August can definitely be a huge success. 

As the waters begin to cool down, the waves become higher, and the season is approaching its end, you can still enjoy fishing. Salmon, especially spawning Coho and Chinooks, are available.

Kenosha is wrapping up the season but fishing is still hot. Cohos, Lakers, and Brownies are available. King Salmon fishing is at its peak this time of year and Steelhead bite pretty steadily.

If you feel like fishing, check the Oak Creek area for the fish on the move. If the lakes and harbors are covered in ice thick enough to fish from, don’t hesitate to try something new.

Kenosha Harbor is the right place to nail Brown Trout and a bonus Northern Pike. Enjoy a late December trip right before Christmas. Or make plans for the next year’s season!

Kenosha Fishing Calendar

What People Are Saying About Kenosha

"5 hour trip with Captain Tim"

Bob Lohman fished with Finquest Sportfishing on August 9, 2017

Make sure you bring a cooler big enough to carry your catch home.

"First time...and won't be the last!"

Mo Jacob fished with Finquest Sportfishing on July 13, 2017

You get the most out of the experience if you get on a boat. Otherwise, look at local rivers.

"Fishing with Tim"

Jack Burgoon fished with Finquest Sportfishing on July 9, 2017

Choose FinQuest w/ Capt. Tim, you'll have the time of your life.

Top Targeted Species in Kenosha

Lake Trout

Rainbow Trout (Steelhead)

Brown Trout

Salmon (Chinook)

Nearby Fishing Destinations