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Best Fishing Charters in Milwaukee

Top Fishing Charters in Milwaukee

Fishing in Milwaukee

Milwaukee charter fishing offers so many exciting angling opportunities that it’s hard to choose just one. The largest city in the Badger State is right along the shores of Lake Michigan. As soon as you hear the name you can’t help but think about monster Brown Trout, fiery Coho ‘Silver’ Salmon, the acrobatic Steelhead, line-ripping Chinook ‘King’ Salmon, and Lake Trout from deep waters...

Just stop for a moment and think of all the stories to be had from your catch in Milwaukee. Even though the city’s entertainment doesn’t end with dining, there are a lot of excellent breweries and local taverns that will gladly prepare your catch. Top off your day of fishing by going to a nice music venue.

Known For

They say you haven’t fished until you’ve fished Wisconsin. It’s true that there are many hot Lake Michigan fishing spots in the state, but how many of them can brag about holding the majority of the state records? Well, Milwaukee definitely can!

The Lake includes the Milwaukee Bay and the connecting rivers. There are lagoons, inland lakes, rivers, and streams, that all together make prime spots for fishing in Wisconsin all year-round. And it’s more than enough to keep your rods busy no matter the weather!

Lake Michigan fishing in Milwaukee

The western side of Lake Michigan is like a magnet for the crème de la crème of the Great Lakes species. It’s still not clear which fish species can be called the Milwaukee ‘Superstar.” Milwaukee’s side of Lake Michigan offers a world-class fishery for whatever patrols the local waters.

As soon as the temperature warms up and the fish migrate north from the southern end of the lake, the local anglers head out to their own Milwaukee fishing spots. They begin the warming up by Trout fishing early in April to gain strength for battling Coho Salmon and Rainbow Trout later in May. The brute strength and size of Chinook ‘King’ Salmon keep anglers awake during the summer months and early fall. In September and October, all the species gather in Milwaukee before they start their journey up the rivers. 

Is it worth going out for a half day?

Check the bite on a five-hour trip to get the taste of Salmon fishing Milwaukee-style. But don’t think that half-days are only designed to chase huge Salmon! There are plenty of Lake Trout, Brown Trout or Steelhead hanging around. 

Your typical 5-hour charter will make you feel that you are in the game even if you can’t come back with a nice mixed bag. The fishing grounds are pretty close from shore, so you can start trolling in less than half an hour without having to travel too far out. Bottom line - a half-day trip can be enough to make your angling dreams come true.

What if I stay out longer?

Once you are onboard, surrounded by the fishing lines and waiting for the non-stop action, you simply won’t want to come back. If you are wondering whether you should prolong your Lake Michigan charter fishing in Milwaukee, the short answer is 'absolutely yes.' Add a few more hours to your half-day trip or upgrade it to an overnight. Any type of fishing in Wisconsin is worth a full-day trip!

On an 8+ hour adventure, you will be able to truly connect with the beautiful waters of the Great Lake. One of the biggest advantages that can compensate a longer ride to the fishing grounds is the unique Steelhead playgrounds that are situated 15-20 miles offshore. Milwaukee’s proximity to those deep waters allows you to target these skyrocketing fish close to the lake’s mountain range.

How much will it cost?

Since the cost of running the boat out and back is the same regardless of how many passengers are on board, the price can differ only a little if you have a six-pack or just two anglers.

The average five-hour Milwaukee Lake Michigan charter will be somewhere around $570. Add $250 to get the price of a full-day trip.

Milwaukee River Fishing.

It’s no surprise that the productive waters of Milwaukee are A-1 fishing grounds. Some big, splashy fish can be found in the Milwaukee River. What may seem surprising (but pleasantly surprising) is that you don’t need a boat to hit up the river! Go along the shoreline, take some delicious Carp from the lower parts of the River. The warm effluence from other bodies of water attracts some pretty big Carp.

The Milwaukee River runs from the northern parts through the heart of the city and offers a seasonal pleasure for any Trout and Salmon lover. A trip to the river is a ‘must-have’ for anyone who wants to master their fly-fishing skills.

Apart from the healthy waters of the Milwaukee River, there are other places to drop a hook. Put on your wading boots and head to the beaches of the Doctor's Park for some Brown Trout. Drop a line in the Menomonee River for your acrobatic Steelie and Salmon.

Types of Fishing


Whether you are a novice out on the ‘Big Pond’ or a seasoned angler, your chances of landing Salmon are usually 50%. You can try your hand at drift fishing or stick to the good old trolling technique.

If Coho are your main target, it’s good to use lighter fishing gear to see your hits better. Trolling crankbaits can do the job for both Silver and King Salmon, as well as trolling spoons.


Lake Trout prefer smaller lures more than bigger ones. Some Lakers can be over 30 pounds so you will need a heavier rod. You can catch them by casting live and artificial bait or still fishing. However, just like with Salmon, it’s always a good idea to go for trolling. If you are fishing in the river, fly fishing can be a great way to enjoy some time with the Trout.

When targeting Brown Trout, you can use a light action spinning rod. Brownies have good eyesight so it’s better to use a lighter line. They can also be a bit tricky to find - seek local knowledge if you want to truly enjoy Trout fishing in Wisconsin!

Steelhead fishing in Milwaukee is another thing to keep you entertained. As long as you have a professional captain by your side, he will get Steelhead to bite! Once hooked, the legendary Steelie will show off their acrobatic jumps. Concentrate in the right depth of the water, use planer boards, and keep the optimal speed.

Rules and Regulations

If you are coming from out-of-state, you should purchase the 2-Day Great Lakes Fishing license with a Great Lake Salmon and Trout Stamp to cover your charter fishing needs. 

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Milwaukee Fishing Seasons

Right now, it’s all about Brown Trout on the Great Lake. Milwaukee’s big harbor is open for anyone who wants to get some Brownies while the lake is frozen. 

Even though Brown Trout in Milwaukee Harbor are the prime target now, Lake Trout and Steelhead are also there to be found. Winter fishing can be prolific!

Tributaries are full of both Brown Trout and Steelhead. You can be at the mercy of the weather, but with a right guide, you may open the Milwaukee season earlier than anyone else!

The Milwaukee Harbor area holds the best Brown Trout around. Limits of Lake Trout are also common. The air might still be a bit chilly, but the fishing is hot!

The action for Coho Salmon is almost non-stop. Rainbow Trout are as active as Kings - if you are up to a mixed bag, search for Trout and Salmon nearshore.

Enjoy some fast-paced fishing for Coho and grill your catch later. Don’t forget about Lakers and Brownies! This part of the season is all about catching the limits.

Port of Milwaukee is full of all three species of Trout, along with Coho and Chinook Salmon. Baitfish is also around. Enjoy acrobatic Steelhead and grilled Salmon after the trip.

Mature Salmon and Brown Trout come back to the ports to chill before they move upstream to spawn. Fish in and around Milwaukee Harbor to catch your own dose of Milwaukee's best species!

The spawning runs have begun, so head to the harbor for Chinook and Coho. The fish are just perfect for smoking! Brownies and Lakers are also here.

The King run is settled down so it’s time to be back out in the lake for a mixed bag. An early autumn trip for Salmon and Trout is a good way to wrap up the season.

Right after Halloween, you can head to the tributaries for the spawning Salmon. The occasional Lake Trout and Steelhead are also found in the Milwaukee River. 

The Brown Trout bite in Milwaukee Harbor is improving. As the water drops below 40 degrees, the fishing is improving. Get your Christmas catch!

Milwaukee Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About Milwaukee

"Fishing with Joe"

Christopher O. fished with Let's Joe Fishing Salmon Charters on July 5, 2019

If you are looking for a fun and learning experience with strong fish pulling on your line. Milwaukee is awesome.

"Perfect day with Joe"

Scott B. fished with Let's Joe Fishing Salmon Charters on June 27, 2019

Let's Joe Fishing is a great choice for a Lake Michigan charter. I like the more personal experience that Joe gives.

"Fun Trip in Late September"

Kevin M. fished with Maritime Charters on September 28, 2018

I would recommend trying to go earlier if you can due to the inconsistent weather and wind.

"A Wonderful End of Summer Outing!!"

Paul J. fished with Milwaukee Offshore Fishing Charters, Llc. on August 13, 2018

Bring a big cooler and be ready to bring home lots of fish.

What would you recommend to anglers fishing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the first time?

Top Targeted Species in Milwaukee

Brown Trout

Brown Trout

Lake Trout

Lake Trout

Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Coho)

Salmon (Chinook)

Salmon (Chinook)



Nearby Fishing Destinations