Lake Michigan Fishing Charters
We were fortunate to be the guests of the Kenosha Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Kenosha Charter Boat Association for one of their Lake Michigan fishing charters in Kenosha Wisconsin. It certainly opened up our minds about the many things to do in Kenosha, especially if you like the outdoors and hope to catch some Great Lakes fish.
We headed up to Kenosha the night before and stayed overnight at the Wyndham Garden Kenosha Harborside Hotel, just a few minutes away from the harbor where we’d catch up with our charter boats. One of the terrific things about Kenosha is that it’s so close to Chicago. It’s only about an hour’s drive so it’s perfect for a quick getaway.
Sunrise Over The Harbor
After a good night’s sleep, we got up early enough to see the sunrise over the water. On this morning it was cloudy and we expected a bit of rain but the sun came up a bit casting a beautiful pinkish glow in the sky. We put on our famous Food Travelist coats, perfect for all kinds of weather rain or shine and made our way over to the dock. We started with cups of coffee and tea to warm us as we embarked on our exciting first experience with Lake Michigan fishing charters. Neither one of us does much fishing, but we were in it to win it, so we climbed aboard and prepared to meet the challenge.
As we drifted past the Kenosha North Pier Lighthouse through the fog it sure seemed we were going to be in for a big blast of wind and rain. Fortunately, the storm stayed to the west of us and soon the sun was breaking through the clouds. Lake Michigan was so clear and calm it looked like a sheet of shiny glass. The worst of the weather had quickly passed and it looked like we were going to get a great day for our introduction to Lake Michigan fishing charters.
There Will Be Eating
Since the folks from Kenosha know us pretty well, they made sure to bring plenty of snacks aboard our charter boat. Along with the warm beverages already in our hands, they opened a box of what looked like the world’s largest cinnamon rolls from Elsie Mae’s Bakery and Cannery. Freshly baked, sweet, and delicious, these babies were humongous. Saying you can only eat one of these is an understatement. They also brought delicious handmade sandwiches, chips, and, of course, French macarons from The Buzz Cafe for dessert. Because everyone we know has macarons while fishing on Lake Michigan, right? Right! We protested that they were far too thoughtful and kind, then proceeded to try just about everything they brought. It was downright great having a picnic on the boat.
Tip #1 Bring Plenty Of Snacks
Now that we’re experienced charter fisherpeople we feel confident enough to offer some insider tips. The first tip is that when you go on a fishing charter you have lots of snacks and drinks. No matter whether the fish are biting or not, you’re bound to get hungry, thirsty or both. Most fishing charters have morning or afternoon. Morning means early morning like 5 am. Afternoon times vary but often use noon as a start time.
Sweet treats are great thing to have. Whether huge cinnamon buns or bite-sized macaroons, you can enjoy local goodies from the many delicious Kenosha bakeries, restaurants, and grocers that are ready to make your mouth do a happy dance.
Once fortified with tucker for our tummies, now was the time to get serious. With plenty of poles at the ready and the sun coming out, we headed for open waters and prepared to catch some fish. Because this was our first such adventure, we didn’t know what to expect. The great thing is, we didn’t need to know or do much. Our fabulous Captain Russ was a one-man wonder. He pulled out of the harbor, found the best spot for us to hang for a while, got all the rods ready and even cast them out on the water. Our big job, for the time being, was to wait eagerly with anticipation.
Tip #2 Beginners And Pros Alike Can Have A Great Time
We had no idea what we were doing, so our captain took care of all the work and did the heavy lifting. He chose the location, prepared the gear, cast the lines, and talked us through all of the details of what he was doing. If you have experience fishing, you can help get the gear ready and launch the lines yourself. We’re sure Captain Russ would have loved for us to help. But he kept us entertained with jokes and stories even though we were serious dead weight in the boat. Even more weighty after all those morning treats!
With over a dozen lines out in the water, we didn’t wait long until the fish started hitting. When someone noticed a pole bending hard, we’d all get excited and point or shout that there was a fish on the line. We all took turns reeling them in and seemed like we were catching one right after the other. Captain Russ stood by ready to help if we got tired and he was always right there with the net ready to bring the catch onboard. There was no pressure from the captain to do anything we didn’t want to do. Our companions, ranging from chefs to teachers to local journalists, were more competitive. Fortunately, it was all in good fun and we all did the best we could, with a little help from our friends.
Tip #3 Do As Much Or As Little As You Want
This is intended to be a fun excursion. You can learn by doing, watching, or a combination of both. The more experienced you are, the more you’ll probably want to do. But since we were not used to reeling in heavy fish on endless lines, we wimped out from time to time. Captain Russ was happy to give us a breather. We could cheer our colleagues for their triumphant catches or reel one in ourselves. Don’t be intimidated or think you have to do it all. Your crew is there to help however much or little you like.
Captain Russ impressed us with his super skills. He set up all the fishing poles, picked out the lures, and watched the poles for any tug he saw. Sometimes we’d see it too, and sometimes we were to busy chatting and laughing or eating and drinking to notice. He’d shout, “Fish on!” and whoever wanted to take on the fish would jump up and reel one in. Some were a bit more difficult to get in the boat and some got away (this one monster fish, the biggest one in Lake Michigan, we bet, of course). Eventually, most of us gave it a go and we managed to feel like sport fisherpeople by the end of the charter.
There are lots of fish in Lake Michigan. Atlantic Salmon, Brown Trout, Coho Salmon, Lake Trout, Steelhead, King Salmon, Yellow Perch, Walleye and more. We caught trout and salmon.
Heading Back From Lake Michigan Fishing Charters
Once the time has come to head back, the Captain pulls in all the rods and prepares the boat to take you in. There’s something special about relaxing on a boat in the sun heading back from fishing. Once we were back at the dock Captain Russ and the other skippers took it from there. They cleaned all the fish, filleted them and got them ready to cook. They cleaned the boat and did everything quick as a wink. It was quite impressive. We didn’t need to worry about a thing. We had special plans for our fish, but we’re sure that if you wanted to take your fish home whole or clean and prepare them yourself, you’d be able to do as you choose.
As you can see above our crew did quite well in the time that we were out on Lake Michigan. We caught 19 Coho Salmon and a couple of Lake Trout. Now for the best part. The captains took our catch up to the Boathouse Pub and Eatery, which is just a couple minutes away from the dock The Boathouse Kenosha was ready to create a wonderful lunch for us all with our fresh catch.
The Boathouse offers to create a “Shore Lunch” with any fresh catch that fishers bring to the restaurant. They will prepare up to one pound of fish per person. You can have your fish fried, blackened or lemon pepper broiled. Side dishes of fries and coleslaw come with lunch all for only $9.99 per person. It’s quite a deal and the view from the deck is great.
Tip #4 Go For A Shore Lunch
We had our fish prepared all three ways and each one tasted better than the next. All the preparations were delicious but surprisingly, our favorite was the very lightly breaded fried salmon. We sat at a table with our fellow shipmates and told fish tales while we enjoyed a delicious meal overlooking the harbor. Kenosha has a great view of the water, Harbor Park, and the boats and people having fun on or near the water. If you get the chance to have your catch prepared for you right after you return, don’t miss the chance. You won’t find a fresher seafood meal anywhere. It also makes the perfect way to end your experience with good cheer and tasty food. Isn’t that one of the things we love best? Why yes, yes it is.
Done For Now, But We’ll Be Back
As we often do, we checked out the Boathouse menu and noted many other specials that we can’t wait to try. The all-you-can-eat Blue Gill Dinner on Fridays, burgers, full breakfasts, and 32 oz. Long Island Iced Teas will have us returning soon.
With all this good fishing, good food, and good fun, we’d recommend taking a fishing charter as one of the best things to do in Kenosha. If you like Great Lakes fish, hanging out with friends, catching a little sunshine along with your fish, we think you have as much fun as we did.
Tip #5 Check It Out And Make Plans To Go
We had a blast on our great expedition. There are lots of wonderful things to do in Kenosha and we’d rank Lake Michigan fishing charters right at the top.
If you’re looking for a fun fishing charter for you and your friends check out the website of Kenosha Charter Boat Association for details on organizing a fishing trip.
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