Sheboygan Wisconsin Charter Fishing Reports
Provided by Captain James Schlegel of Sea Dog Sportfishing Charters of Sheboygan, with contributing reports from other area anglers.

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2006 Fishing Reports

SHEBOYGAN CHARTER FISHING HARVEST 2005 - by Captain James Schlegel, February 12, 2006

Sheboygan area charter captains had another banner fishing season in 2005. This fact was supported by the latest charter harvest report just released last week by Brad Eggold, fisheries supervisor for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Anglers with their boats and trailers were lined up at the launch ramps like never before and area captains were overwhelmed by one of their busiest seasons to date. All indicators of an abundant harvest were up again this year. The report shows 31 licensed fishing guides operating out of Sheboygan, six more than in 2004. The Sheboygan charter fishing fleet reported 1943 trips for the season, an increase of more then 15% from the prior year. Area charters hauled in 16,635 fish in 2005, which is a 14% increase from a year ago. The majority of the catch being Chinook Salmon, the prized sport fish also known as the King. This is the forth straight season that Sheboygan charter captains recorded double digit harvest increases while charter fishing trips to the area continued to rise. There has been a renewed interest in Great Lakes fishing the past few years and our area captains and river front businesses are seeing the benefits. The 2005 fishing season was also my busiest year to date. I had the good fortune of running more trips and catching more fish than ever before. I had the privilege of personally setting a new Wisconsin state mark of guiding 254 trips during the 2005 fishing season surpassing my previous record of 248 trips back in 2004. This season also included a fishing marathon by guiding 67 straight days in a row on the water as well as leading all area guides in fishing trips for eight straight seasons. The excellent weather conditions all summer long sure helped and contributed to getting all those fishermen out on the water this season. For only the second time as a Great Lakes guide I managed to put over 2000 fish in the boat for the season. Not only did we catch a lot of fish this year, we also managed to hook some big ones. This years "Sheboygan’s Big Fish" winner went to Wayne Eschen who caught a 27.37 pound Chinook Salmon aboard the boat Lund Runner on 8/19/05. It was the largest recorded fish caught out of Sheboygan waters this season. Wayne Eschen along with many other area anglers will be recognized for their trophy fish and will receive an award at the Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen's club banquet to be held on 2/11/06. The Sheboygan Great Lakes club has been supporting the local fishery and holding events for over 30 years and has sponsored the "Sheboygan's Big Fish" contest for the past 5 years. For the past several years I have provided a detailed report of the area's charter harvest to the local fishing club for review. I am pleased to be able to submit a report that once again surpassed all expectations, and confirms what area fishermen already know. More people are discovering the fishing opportunities on Lake Michigan and that the 2005 fishing season was one of Sheboygan's all-time best. I'm really looking forward to the 2006 season and can only imagine what new records will be set.

APRIL 9, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Stay tuned, fishing reports will be provided soon.  The weather is now warming up and preparations are in the works to get the boats in the water and ready for fishing.

MAY 7, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished this morning for 3 hours starting at 5:30 am. Caught 4 nice chinook salmon right outside the harbor trolling back and forth through the river water.  Good schools of alewives were in the area as well as all the way up the river.  All the bites were on side poles trolling magnum "Big Daddy" spoons.  Also lost a lake trout right behind the boat.  The river water temperature was 50 degrees while the lake water was cloudy and 44 degrees.

MAY 14, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

The Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen’s club is having it’s 2nd annual "RIDE ABOARD A CHARTER BOAT DAY". Free boat rides aboard Sheboygan area charter boats begin this Tuesday, May 16th starting at 6:00 PM along the Sheboygan boardwalk (weather permitting). The ten charter captain members of our fishing club have volunteered their boats and crew to provide the public free boat rides to the harbor and back. This is your opportunity to visit with area guides and club members, review how the boats are rigged for fishing, inspect tackle and equipment and ask all your fishing related questions. Club members will be grilling a variety of their special salmon recipes for you to try as well as smoked fish. Sign up for raffle prizes which includes a nights stay at Blue Harbor Resort and Water Park and review our clubs summer events and activities. This is always a fun way to meet area fishermen and enjoy an evenings boat ride. Hope to see everyone there and cross your fingers for some nice weather.

MAY 16, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Thanks to all the folks who attended the Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen’s club 2nd annual "RIDE ABOARD A CHARTER BOAT DAY" on Tuesday.  About 300 people gathered along the boardwalk to meet area captains and free rides aboard Sheboygan charter boats.  The weather cooperated for a great evening for boat rides.  A special thanks to all the club volunteers who helped with this event, The Sheboygan Coast Guard, the charter captains for their boats and crew, and the Wharf for the grilled and smoke fish.

MAY 20, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

The fish got the best of us today.  Worked around the harbor in search of chinook salmon where huge schools of bait fish were everywhere.  Went 1 for 8 in the morning and 2 for 5 during the evening trip.  The good news is our landing average can only get better from here on out.

MAY 27, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

The bachelor party outing Saturday afternoon.

MAY 31, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Had some good fishing action all day long as well as this holiday weekend.  This is an excellent time of year to catch a variety of fish.  Caught everything but a brown trout and still looking for our first Great Lakes Grand Slam of the season.  We ended our trips with 13 in the morning and 8 in the afternoon.   Fished north of the harbor in the morning and tried to the south in the afternoon.  Both areas produced plenty of action in depths from 100 to 175 feet of water.  All the fish were caught in the top 50 feet of water using spoons.  We tried some J-plugs as well as some dodger and fly set ups but they just did not work for us today.

JUNE 3, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Had a tough time catching fish in the morning, but the fish turned on in the afternoon.  Caught a good number of rainbows on the surface using rattlesnake spoons on the planner boards.

JUNE 4, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught a variety of fish in 60 to 80 feet of water right out side the harbor.

JUNE 10, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught everything but a brown trout today.  Fish were active all day long from sunrise to sunset.  Rainbows and cohos were near the surface and several chinook salmon and lake trout were hooked deeper.  Fished in 80 to 140 feet of water south of the harbor today.  Caught 12 in the morning, 10 in the afternoon and 2 in the evening.  Today was good for hooking some good sized rainbows but were hard to land.  During the afternoon and evening trip we just kept losing the fish we had on.  Best baits today for the cohos and rainbows were rattlesnake spoons and fly and dodgers on the surface behind planer boards.  Best baits for the Chinook salmon were glow in the dark large magnum spoons on downriggers set between 60 to 80 feet down.  The large "Big Daddy" spoon in green and glow on a downrigger set 60 feet down was hot this evening.

JUNE 13, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught everything but a brown trout for a total of 10 fish this morning.  Fished 100 feet of water south of the harbor.  No real pattern today.  All fish were caught on downriggers and diver rods set between 20 to 70 feet down.

JUNE 15, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished this morning in 100 feet of water off the filtration plant.  Caught a dozen fish and lost a few more.  The catch consisted of 6 chinook salmon, 4 lake trout and 2 rainbow trout.  The rainbows were taken on the surface behind planner boards using rattlesnake spoons and fly and dodgers.  The lake trout hit a large dodger fly on a downriggers set at 80 feet, while the salmon were taken on diver rods and downriggers.  The lake was flat calm and the surface water temperature was around 53 degrees.  Just a great day to be out on the water with a group of Minnesota Vikings fans.

JUNE 18, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Started fishing this morning in 80 feet of water just south of the harbor.  We had good action first thing in the morning after putting just a few rods in the water.  Best action was on glow magnum spoons on downriggers set between 30 and 60 feet of down.  Today's catch was all chinook salmon, the biggest weighing in at just over 18 pounds.  Surface water temperature today was a cooler 51 degrees.  This coming up Saturday, June 24th is the Junior Coho Derby for area children ages 7 to 15.  This activity is sponsored by the Wharf and the "Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen's" club in an effort to develop a love of fishing and an interest in conservation. This event will be at no charge to the children through a donation by several area businesses and the Great Lakes club.  A meal and prizes will be provided to all participants. Any boat owners willing to volunteer to take a few kids fishing this Saturday morning are encouraged to call the Wharf at 920-458-4406 as soon as possible.

JUNE 20, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Had good action all day long.  Caught everything but a brown trout today.

JUNE 23, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished in 80 to 90 feet of water all morning long.  Caught 10 fish despite some rough water early in the day when we let a few get away.  Most of the fish were caught near the surface to 50 feet down using spoons and a dodger fly set up. Best of luck to all the young anglers who signed up for this Saturdays Kids Fishing Derby.  Also special thank you to all the area fishermen who volunteered their boats and time for this event for area children to fish Lake Michigan.

JUNE 25, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished the harbor area this morning with some long time guests from Minnesota. Caught 8 nice chinook salmon, the largest weighing just shy of 20 pounds..  Water temperature was around 56 degrees and bait fish were everywhere.

JUNE 30, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Another great day on the water with some local fishermen friends.  Fished 80 to 100 feet of water north of the harbor this morning.  Started the day with a triple of big kings right at sunrise.  Had good luck with the larger dodgers and flies running close to the bottom.   Caught 10 chinook salmon, 1 coho and 1 lake trout.  Water temperature was around 59 degrees at the surface.  Yes, the fisherman in the middle of the photo is wearing a pig costume and a cape.  Does anyone recognize this famous local area fisherman?

JULY 9, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

This was the best weekend for big salmon so far this year.  The fish cooler was full all three trips.  The cold water has moved close to shore and so have the larger chinook salmon.  Caught 36 fish for the day on Saturday around the harbor, and another 10 this morning.  The water temperature was as cold as 47 degrees this morning.  The pier fishermen are also having some good success the past few days.  Huge schools of bait fish are showing up at dusk and the salmon are having a feeding frenzy.  It is quit a sight to see, as the salmon are charging at the schools of bait fish while the seagulls are circling the water above. At times, all the boats in the area were battling fish and it looked like it was feeding time at the zoo.

JULY 11, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught a truck load of fish to fill the cooler this morning in 60 feet of water.  It was solid steady action for some return guests from Minnesota the moment we hit the water until we pulled lines to head back.  Today was just basic old school fishing with downriggers and side poles using magnum spoons, plugs and flashers.  The water temperature cooled down this morning to around 55 degrees.

JULY 17, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught our 4 person limit with some long time guests this morning by 7:00 am.  I knew it was going to be a good day right from the start when we hooked four fish first thing in the morning and landed all four.  From then on it was doubles and triples.  The non-stop action took place in 40 feet of water just north of the harbor.  Caught one brown trout and all the rest were chinook salmon. Water temperature was a cool 53 degrees and the salmon were everywhere.  Boat after boat packed up early due to limit catches.  The fish were taken on a variety of J-Plugs, magnum spoons and dodgers and flies.  I don't think it really mattered what was thrown at them this morning.  Fishing has been fantastic all week long and if conditions remain the same, it should be great fishing for the women's Powder Puff tournament to be held this Wednesday, July 19, 2006.  There's no better time to go fishing then right now.

JULY 24, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Still catching the big ones here in Sheboygan.  Caught 12 chinook salmon this morning north of the harbor in 60 feet of water.  Fast action early in the morning with four fish on at the same time.  Best rod today was the side pole with a white dodger and green fly.  Surface water temperature was around 61 degrees.

JULY 27, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished this morning around the harbor with the kids from Camp Anokijig.  They all said Lake Michigan fishing is the greatest.  Caught 11 chinook salmon in just a couple of hours.  Cold water is close to shore and so are the salmon.  It really did not matter what we ran for baits.  Anything on the side poles seemed to work.  The past few days have produced some excellent results.  It's no surprise that the latest issue of Field & Stream magazine rated Sheboygan Wisconsin as it's first pick for salmon fishing in the nation.

JULY 29, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fast paced action all morning long.

AUGUST 1, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Some of the fastest fishing action of the season the past few days.  Salmon are feeding all day long around the harbor area.  Had as many as 20 to 30 fish on each trip the past few days.  The fish have been very hard to land in the shallow waters and our landing percentage has been suffering.  Still plenty of action to keep everyone on their toes and ready for the next strike.  Basic old school fishing with spoons, plugs and stick baits.  Cold water still close to shore for all boaters and pier fishermen.

AUGUST 6, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fast paced early morning fishing for Punkin and his party (Punkin is on the left).  Caught our 25 fish limit in 50 to 70 feet of water.  Most of the action was on the side poles using dodgers and flies as well as J-Plugs.  Fished in the rain the last 2 hours, but had good fishing action.  Started to see plenty of smaller fish today as well as huge schools of bait fish in the area we fished.  In contrast, a huge 29.90 pound chinook salmon was caught in Sheboygan yesterday by angler John Attard and registered in the "Sheboygan Big Fish Contest" (see link above). Water temperature was around 61 degrees and crystal clear.  A special thanks to first mate Kevin for his effort in keeping all the lines straight during the early morning fishing chaos and the late morning down pour.  The Sheboygan Coho Derby is scheduled this upcoming weekend.

AUGUST 9, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Another great day on the water this morning.  Caught 16 fish in 60 to 80 feet of water straight out of the harbor.  East winds have brought warmer water to the shoreline pushing the fish out deeper in search of the cooler water they prefer.  Caught all chinook salmon and one rainbow trout.  The Sheboygan Coho Derby is scheduled this upcoming weekend.

AUGUST 18, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught our 4 person limit this morning in less then 4 hours.  The group from K & J Construction has been fishing with us for the past 5 years.  Fished offshore in 120 feet of water just south of the harbor.  All the fish were taken on small spoons trolled 80 feet deep and above.

AUGUST 26, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Our catch on Saturday morning for the Wilson party who has been fishing here in Sheboygan with us for years. What a boat load of fish!

SEPTEMBER 4, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished this morning in 130 to 170 feet of water north of the harbor with a group that has been coming to Sheboygan to fish for the past 10 years.  Caught 20 fish and lost a bunch more.  All chinook salmon and one lake trout.  All the fish were taken on dodger and flies trolled on downriggers at depths of 80 to 120 feet deep.  Despite the warm water temperatures we have been catching plenty of fish.  Many limit catches have been taken the past couple of weeks, particularly at sunrise and sunset.  Sorry for the lack of reports.  I've been on the water for the past 88 straight days, and the past couple of weeks have been very busy.  It's sometimes difficult to sit at a computer after a long day of fishing.

SEPTEMBER 7, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Caught our 3 person limit in less then 2 hours this morning, and been catching our limit of salmon the past couple of days.  Fished this morning in 100 to 120 feet of water north of the harbor.  Dodgers and flies were the ticket this morning set on downriggers near the bottom.

SEPTEMBER 13, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished around the harbor today.  All kinds of fish all over.

SEPTEMBER 18, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished around the harbor area this morning.  Caught our 2 person limit of big fall chinook salmon despite having a hard time landing the fish we hooked.  A variety of stick baits and J-plugs worked well for us.  Tomorrow is the first monthly meeting of the Sheboygan Area Great Lakes Sport Fishermen's club.  The meeting starts at 7:00 pm at the Outboard club located at 732 Water Street.  It should be a good time to share your best fishing stories and a lunch will be provided after the meeting.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fast and furious fall salmon fishing the past couple of days.  Caught our two person limit this morning in just an hour.  Caught our limit of fish on all three trips yesterday.  The harbor fishing action does not get any faster.  Sometimes it feels more like hand to hand combat then it does fishing.  Cold water moved to the shoreline Tuesday morning and the fall chinook salmon were everywhere.  It didn't really matter what we trolled for bait, but J-Plugs are my favorite harbor bait which worked well all day long.  Pictured below is our catch with Tuesday mornings group.

SEPTEMBER 21, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

The harbor fishing is still going strong.  Caught 19 fish this morning, including a 9.78 pound coho salmon.  The coho salmon was caught by Mitch Gebheim and now tops the list for the largest coho reported out of Sheboygan this year (see Sheboygan's Big Fish, above).  We also got our two person limit this evening in just a couple of hours.  There's no better time to experience this fast paced fishing action so close to shore.  The amount of fish being taken by anglers this past week is almost obscene.  Fishing pressure around the harbor area the last few days has been surprisingly light.


SEPTEMBER 22, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

My computer hard drive took a dive. No fishing reports until fixed.

NOVEMBER 5, 2006 - Captain James Schlegel

Fished this morning from 8:30 am to noon and went 12 for 12. Started right out in front of the harbor in 35 feet of water and trolled our way out east to 90 feet. Caught 5 chinook salmon, 6 rainbows and a brown trout. Rattle spoons trolled behind planner boards worked best. A large green dodger and fly trolled behind a downrigger set at 72 feet deep caught 4 fish. A great day on the lake for some late season trolling.

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