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Charter fishing operations offer great options for anglers

For those who don’t have a fishing boat, may not have the correct fishing gear, don’t know how to fish, are new to an area, or are just looking for a day of fun, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources suggests considering a charter fishing trip. Charter fishing businesses are located throughout the state and offer a great way to experience Michigan’s world-class fisheries.

Licensed fishing charters make a full or half-day of fishing easy and enjoyable, as they provide the boat and all the equipment, plus the knowledge needed for a day on the water. Fishing charters are for anyone, children or adult, from the first-time angler to those who are experienced. Charter businesses in Michigan help anglers of all experience levels enjoy memorable experiences – whether it’s reeling in a fish for the first time or trying one’s hand at catching a new species.

In Michigan in 2016, more than 70,000 anglers participated in more than 17,000 charter fishing trips on Great Lakes and specific navigable waters. These anglers caught more than 244,000 fish of various species, with about half of the fish caught being trout and salmon.

Different waters and areas of the state will yield different fish species and fishing experiences. Whether the fishing charter is on the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair, a larger river or a smaller lake or stream, charter captains and inland fishing guides know the waters, where the fish are, and what kind of bait and tackle to use. Depending on waters fished and location, one can fish for salmon, trout, whitefish, walleye, perch, muskellunge, large or smallmouth bass, pike, various panfish, and even lake sturgeon.

When hiring a professional charter, customers need only to provide personal supplies and a fishing license. Fishing licenses can be purchased online (mdnr-elicense.com) or through a DNR customer service center or licensed agent.

Find a fishing charter for a specific location by doing a web search for fishing by port town or desired fish species, contacting the local area’s chamber of commerce or city tourism office, or visiting the Michigan Charter Boat Association website at michigancharterboats.com.

For an even more individual experience and enjoyable end of the fishing trip, customers can try a “Catch & Cook” charter. Upon returning from a trip, customers take their cleaned, fresh fish to a participating local restaurant that will prepare and serve the catch for the customer. Participating “Catch & Cook” charters can be viewed at michigancatchandcook.com.

Starting planning your next fishing trip at michigan.gov/fishing.