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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Sheboygan Fishing Information

Wisconsin has 1.4 million anglers that annually catch 88 million fish. Those kinds of numbers, combined with great scenery, and record fish - such as the world record brown trout caught in Lake Michigan in 2010 - makes Wisconsin the #2 most popular fishing destination in the U.S.

Fishing isnít only big adventure here in Wisconsin, its big business - generating $2.75 billion dollars in economic benefits and supporting more than 30,000 jobs. It has been and will continue to be an important part of Wisconsin's nature-based economy.

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Wisconsin Fishing License Requirements





To fish the waters of Lake Michigan, anyone 16 years old and over will require a Wisconsin fishing license and a Great Lakes Trout & Salmon stamp.  A two-day Wisconsin fishing license for residents or non-residents costs $14 and includes the Great Lakes Trout & Salmon stamp.  Licenses can be purchased from your captain prior to your scheduled fishing trip.  Plan on arriving about 15 minutes before your scheduled fishing trip to provide enough time to issue fishing licenses.  Other licensing options are also available.

2024 Fishing License Fees:
$20.00  Resident Annual Fishing License
$31.00  Resident Annual Husband & Wife
$14.00  Two-day Great Lakes License (Includes Stamp)
$10.00  Great Lakes Trout & Salmon Stamp
$50.00  Nonresident Annual Fishing License
$24.00  Nonresident Four-Day License
$28.00  Nonresident Fifteen-Day License

Lake Michigan Sport Fishing Limits

The daily bag limit on Lake Michigan trout and salmon is a total of five fish per person, of which 2 may be Lake Trout.  The possession limit is twice the daily bag limit (10 fish).  The legal size limit on Lake Michigan trout and salmon is a length of 10 inches.  It is a generally accepted practice, however, to release all of the smaller fish.  When on a fishing charter in Sheboygan your catch will be packed on ice until we return to shore.  At our return back to the dock, we will arrange your catch for any photos of your party or crew.  We will then immediately clean your catch for transportation.  All fish will be gut and gilled and individually bagged for your transportation needs.  Other services available at the dock are shipping arrangements, storage for an extended period of time, smoking and filleting of your catch.

Description of Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is the third largest of the Great Lakes and is known world wide as a fresh water fishermen's paradise.  Every year about 13 million trout and salmon are planted creating this man made sport fishery.  The past several years have been some of the most productive to date.  Lake Michigan remains one of the worlds biggest and wildest bodies of freshwater and one of it's most popular fishing destinations.  Bordered by Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin, it is the only one of the Great Lakes that lies completely within the borders of the United States.  Lake Michigan's surface is approximately 580 feet above sea level and has a surface area of 22,300 square miles.  Lake Michigan is 307 miles long and 118 miles wide with 1,660 miles of shoreline consisting largely of sand and pebble beaches.  Lake Michigan averages 279 feet deep and reaches 925 feet at its deepest part.

Sport Fish of Lake Michigan

Chinook Salmon
Oncorhynchus tshawytscha

  • Length: Wisconsin record length is 47.5 inches

  • Weight:  2 to 35 pounds  (The U.S. record weight is 97 lbs 4 oz from Alaska.)

  • Coloring: iridescent green to blue-green on back; sides below lateral line silvery; silvery to white underside

  • Common Names: king salmon, tyee, spring salmon, quinnat

  • Found in Lakes: Stocked in Lake Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior

Chinook Salmon

Many chinook salmon end their days as trophies mounted on tavern and game room walls. In tribute to their size and character, they are also known as "king salmon."

Chinook were the first Pacific salmon to be transplanted to other parts of the world, but the only notable success in creating self-sustaining stocks has been in New Zealand.  A key factor in this general failure was that, like other Pacific salmon, chinook salmon seek the stream of their birth to spawn and die.  They have apparently failed to find the right kind of spawning streams along Lake Michigan, so continuous stocking is necessary to maintain the chinook as one of the lake's most prized game fish.

Chinook are generally caught by trolling.  But as winter approaches and the lake becomes colder, they disappear in search of more suitable water temperatures.  Some say they veer south along a route five to 15 miles offshore; others say that, unlike cohos, they simply move offshore into deeper water.

For several reasons, this salmon species is especially popular with fish management agencies.  They can be released five to six months after hatching and therefore are cheaper to hatch and stock than cohos, which require 14 to 16 months.  During their four- to five-year lifespan, chinooks feed on large numbers of alewifes and so put more pressure on the lake's alewife population.

Coho Salmon
Oncorhynchus kisutch

  • Length: 11 to 26 inches
  • Weight: 2 to 10 pounds
  • Coloring: steel-blue to slightly green on back; bright silver on sides; white underside
  • Common Names: coho, silver salmon, sea trout, blueback
  • Found in Lakes: Stocked in Lake Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior

Coho Salmon

Initial hopes for a revived Great Lakes sport fishery rode on the sleek muscular back of the coho salmon.  Commonly called "silver salmon," this Pacific import has been planted in lakes Michigan and Superior annually since 1966 and is now an integral part of the lake's "put-and-take" sport fishing industry.

Mature cohos gorge themselves on alewives, smelt, and other forage fish.  In Lake Michigan, cohos attain an average weight of five to six pounds but often top out at 10 pounds or more. In Lake Superior, where forage fish are less abundant, cohos average only two to four pounds.

Though smaller, coho salmon are spawning successfully in most Lake Superior tributaries and thus have developed some limited but self-sustaining populations.  There is some concern that this aggressive fish might disrupt the spawning of other valued species, such as brook, brown and rainbow trout.

Coho salmon ordinarily return in their third year to the streams where they were planted to spawn and die.  They reproduce naturally in many streams on the eastern side of Lake Michigan, but their general population must be sustained with hatchery-reared fish.  Continual stocking has helped to improve the lake's predator-prey balance and given satisfaction to thousands of sport fishermen as well.

Lake Trout
Salvelinus namaycush

  • Length: 17 to 27 inches
  • Weight: 3 to 15 pounds
  • Coloring: light spots on darker background, light underside
  • Common Names: Great Lakes trout, laker, namaycush,togue, grey trout, mountain trout
  • Found in Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior

Lake Trout

These swift, torpedo-shaped fish inhabit the cold waters of an area extending from Wisconsin and Upper Michigan to the northernmost reaches of the North American continent. For more than half a century, lake trout were the most valuable commercial fish in the Upper Great Lakes. Then over fishing and the onslaught of the sea lamprey from the late 1930s and into the 1950s effectively eliminated this fish from Lake Michigan.

Thanks to sea lamprey control and continuous stocking, lake trout now live seven or more years in the lake, thriving on a diet of chubs and sculpins (their traditional prey), smelt and alewives. As a result, the return of this preeminent native, along with the introduction of Pacific salmon, has created a thriving world-class sport fishery in Lake Michigan. Biologists hope that ongoing research and plantings of these fish on historic spawning reefs will yet restore reproducing stocks of lake trout in Lake Michigan and enhance the few surviving stocks in Lake Superior.

Lake trout are long-lived and do not reach sexual maturity until 6-8 years of age. While the average lake trout in Lake Michigan today weighs around seven pounds, some of the larger trophy fish are three feet long and weigh as much as 25 pounds.

Rainbow Trout
Oncorhynchus mykiss

  • Length: 20 to 30 inches
  • Weight: 2 to 10 pounds
  • Coloring: steel-blue, blue-green, yellow-green to almost brown on back; silvery sides; silvery white below
  • Common Names: steelhead trout, coast rainbow trout, silver trout
  • Found in Lakes: Stocked in Lake Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie, and Superior

Rainbow Trout

These attractive game fish strike aggressively, fight valiantly and are an angler's joy.  The first rainbow trout planted in the Great Lakes were probably "steelheads."

This is a strain of rainbow trout that migrates into the ocean before returning to spawn in their freshwater home streams.  Rainbows have adapted well, moving in and out of the Great Lakes much as they would the ocean.  As might be expected, they range widely throughout Lake Michigan and Lake Huron.  Tagging has revealed that some migrate as far north as the Canadian tributaries of Lake Superior.

Rainbow trout seldom swim deeper than 35 feet along the Great Lakes shores and are easily located.  In forage-rich Lake Michigan, they grow 30-32 inches long and may reach 16 pounds by the time they are five years old.

Rainbow trout reproduce naturally in Lake Superior's tributaries and in some Lake Michigan tributaries as well.  Unlike Pacific salmon, the rainbow survives after spawning and may spawn two or three times during its life.

Brown Trout
Salmo trutta

  • Length: 16 to 24 inches
  • Weight: 2 to 20 pounds
  • Coloring: light brown or tawny back, becoming silvery on the sides and belly
  • Common Names: brownie, German brown trout, German trout, European brown trout, breac
  • Found in Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Ontario, Erie and Superior

Brown Trout

Brown trout, a European relative of the Atlantic salmon, arrived in North America as early as 1883 and were introduced to Wisconsin waters four years later.  These resourceful fish managed well in degraded habitats no longer suitable for brook and other trout.

At the same time, the browns proved they could grow faster and live longer than the other kinds of trout.  Their reputation as a wary fish that tends to feed at dusk or night may account in part for their durability.

Brown trout have adjusted well to life in Lake Michigan.  They spawn in late autumn, sometimes on rocky reefs along shore though they generally prefer the gravelly headwaters of streams.  Wisconsin now stocks about 1.5 million brown trout in the lake each year, with lesser numbers stocked by Michigan and Illinois.

This has brought more variety to the lake's ecosystem and to the lives of many anglers.  Surfcasting for the fish, for example, is a popular sport along the lake's northern shores.

Brown trout are among the wariest of fish, feeding usually at dusk or at night, so fishermen are the adult brown's chief predator. In many localities, surf casting for brown trout is popular.  The record brown trout from Lake Superior -- nearly 30 pounds -- was taken in 1971.



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Captain James Schlegel and Sea Dog Sportfishing Charters provides over 41 years of full time experience fishing Lake Michigan
 Wisconsin Salmon Fishing and Wisconsin Trout Fishing on Lake Michigan out of Sheboygan Wisconsin - Copyright 2001 - 2024 All Rights Reserved
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