Now that we’re finally nearing the end of this hot Milwaukee summer, the Chinook Salmon (King Salmon) are returning to their spawning nests in record numbers. These salmon originally inhabited the Pacific Ocean but were introduced into Lake Michigan in the late 60s, which means they grow bigger and stronger than most standard lake fish. The return of these behemoths means one thing to charter fisherman—Trophy Fishing Season is in full swing!
You may be wondering, though:
What exactly is trophy fishing season?
First, trophy season refers to the time of year when the biggest of the big fish return to Lake Michigan. For King Salmon, this usually runs from July to September, though there is wiggle room on either end of this timeframe. Trophy fishing on a charter boat is different from your standard weekend fishing trip. Most of the differences come down to the time and effort spent reeling in a monster once you’ve hunted one down.
It’s fairly easy to drop a basic 6 foot rod with bright orange PowerBait into a lake or river and land a palm-sized perch without batting an eyelash—it’s entirely another thing to cast a 12-foot pole off a speeding charter boat and wrestle with a 30- to 40-inch king salmon. Most fishing enthusiasts in Wisconsin have caught panfish and bass (nothing is better than a do-it-yourself fish fry), but King Salmon are a different, larger beast. You’ll have to be prepared to wrestle with these kings, sometimes for a pretty long time, if you want to boat one. There are a few steps you can take to increase your odds of catching a lake monster, and it all starts with using the right technique.