Spring is the perfect time of year for anglers without a boat to capitalize on shore fishing Lake Michigan anywhere near them
Fishing Near Me – Shore Fishing Lake Michigan

Shore Fishing Lake Michigan Near Me

To start out, Spring is the perfect time of year for anglers without a boat to capitalize on shore fishing Lake Michigan anywhere near them. Shore fishing can come in the form of fishing from structures, such as; harbors, piers, and break walls. The second form resembles surf fishing from shore near power plants, within city parks, river mouths and sandy shorelines. Spring will see many fishermen in these areas fishing for Brown Trout, Steelhead and spring Coho Salmon. Northern pike and trophy small mouth can be caught as well.

Harbor, piers, breakwaters: are natural areas to attract fish. They may be accessed around the entirety of Lake Michigan. However, our focus is from Indiana through out Chicago and on up to Waukegan Harbor. In Illinois the hatchery raised salmon and trout are released directly into harbors and they will return there year after year. Harbors such as Montrose in Chicago and Waukegan are two such areas. 

Fishing Etiquette = Simple things and ideas that will make shore fishing more enjoyable for every fishermen. I recall pre-911 when the anglers could access the discharge areas from the Waukegan coal burning power plant. Anglers would be elbow to elbow and there was more cursing  at other anglers than enjoying the fun of fishing because tangled lines were abundant and no etiquette was followed. 

  • Respect the fellow angler
  • Allow for plenty of space between fellow anglers
  • If someone catches a fish don’t crowd them or cast into their space
  • Be diligent to work the fish around other lines whenever possible

Techniques For Pier and Break-wall Fishing

  • Fishing Crank Baits: Fish are looking for a meal, not a snack. Use large crank baits. Some of the best colors are blue/silver, green/silver, orange/gold, and fire tiger. 
  • Casting spoons like the Little Cleo, K.O. Wobbler, Moonshine, and Crocodile spoons are excellent for producing fish day and night. All of these spoons are available in glow patterns.
  • Tube Jigging for Trout and Salmon: Using tube jigs under a slip bobber or as a swim bait is a deadly fishing technique when used shore fishing in harbors. Best color is White/Pearl.
  • Swim Baits like a 4” Berkley Power Bait Minnow are excellent producers mimicking the alewife.
  • When fishing sandy bottoms, jerk baits can be used with success.
  • Floating Spawn Sacks and Eggs: Floating spawn sacks and eggs for Steelhead and Rainbow Trout is an effective technique. Best spawn to use is that of the brown trout.
  • When using slip bobbers frequently adjust the depth from the top of the water column down toward the bottom to determine the best strike zone. 
  • Power-lining is a right of passage for most anglers fishing from piers. There are several You Tube videos available on this technique. We’d recommend watching these to achieve the proper set-up as this can be a whole other topic of discussion. 
  • Landing the fish will require a long handle net from most piers and break walls. 

Surf Fishing - Many anglers do not realize that the spring coho, brown trout and lake trout often occupy water of 8” or less while moving along the shore. Because of this, surf fishing is a good way to access fish when a pier or harbor is not accessible. Salmon and trout will especially come in to skinny water at dusk and night to chase bait that is the warm near shore water. Access from municipal beaches, parks, or private property is ideal for surf fishing

Surf Fishing Tips And Techniques:

  • Waders and Boots: Since the depth is a very gradual grade in the southern basin of Lake Michigan a good pair of waders will allow the angler to gain depth by wading.
  • Tackle Storage and general tackle used surf fishing A five gallon bucket to prevent sand from entering. 
  • If you don’t have waders, you will need rod holders of some sort (PVC cut off at a 45 degree angle and drove into the sand works well)
  • Shallow running crank baits work wonders in the cold spring waters of Lake Michigan
  • Weighted bottom rigs with spawn sacks are excellent for achieving distance on a cast
  • Fixed bobber rigs with a tube jig, Powerbait, or spawn sacs can work well be will move significantly with the currents. Therefore, the rig may need to be reset often.  
  • Landing fish when Surf Fishing Landing fish when surf fishing can be done with or without a net.

Wether your fishing a pier or the shoreline near you, Lake Michigan offers plenty of fishing opportunity. Along with salmon and trout an angler might hook into some trophy small mouth or northern pike as well. In either setting many anglers pride themselves on the creativity of designing a cart or wagon for use of transporting their fishing equipment down the pier or shoreline. Give it a try and find an area to fish near you. 

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Welcome to Spendthrift Charters!

Frequently called the "Best Chicago Fishing Charters" in Chicagoland and proudly serving the Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois areas for over 40 years, Captain Jerry Nied has been chartering the finest of fishing trips. Spendthrift Charters is one of the largest fishing charter fishing vessels available on Lake Michigan today. We currently have three 39-ft Tiara ships to satisfy every fishing need, no matter the size of the group. Captain Jerry is a full time U.S. Coast Guard and licensed captain. Fishing charters are available 7 days a week. Call now for the next available Chicago fishing charter departure time!

Mail: 1091 West Dearborn Ln. Vernon Hills, IL. 60061

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