Author: Captain Neill

Lake Trout Everywhere!


We’re over halfway done with the Chicago fishing season, and one thing stands out. The lake trout fishing this year has been phenomenal!  Charters are limiting out almost every trip and catching some monster late trout. 10-15 lb lake trout are common, and 20 pounders are mixed in on most charters.  Skyline Fishing Charters has been coming back with 100-130 pounds of fish on every trip!  We are also are finding coho salmon and rainbow trout on most trips, which are usually tough to find this time of year.

Many times the fishing slows down from May-June levels when the temperature heats up in the middle of summer, but that hasn’t been the case this year. On a recent trip, we caught our limit on lake trout in an hour!

The mid-summer fishing has been great and there’s still time to book your August vacation fishing trip!

lake trout fishing   lake trout full catchlarge lake troutlarge steelhead trout

Fireworks Aren’t Just for the 4th


Chicago Fireworks

Thousands flock to Grant Park each year on on the 4th of July to view the wonderful fireworks display put on by Navy Pier. Fireworks against the backdrop of the lake is a uniquely Chicago experience. Seeing the fireworks reflect off the water adds another level of enjoyment and makes for some awesome photos. Whether it’s from a camp chair in Grant Park or a seat on the Terrance bar at Trump Tower, the fireworks are shared by everyone. It’s a great way to unify the city under one experience.

What many don’t know is that Navy Pier puts on fireworks shows regularly throughout the summer. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can see fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday nights just off Navy Pier. While shorter than the typical 4th of July presentation, they are still quite the spectacle.

Many Chicago boaters take advantage of the regular fireworks displays and watch them from a unique vantage point, the lake looking in.  From there, you can see the fireworks explode in front of the wonderfully-lit Chicago skyline. It’s an unforgettable sight that most never experience. There are still plenty of fireworks days left. You can book your tour here. Have a Happy 4th of July!

golden fireworks  rainbow fireworks

Chicago’s Year


We’re already two months into the fishing season, and it is really shaping up to be a great year for Chicago sport fishing. The fishing stocks appear to have recovered from the brutal winter we had several years ago that devastated the salmon population in Lake Michigan.  Chicago charter boats have been catching good numbers in all species including coho, king salmon, lake trout, and even huge brown trout!

It seems like every captain is limiting out lately.  On a recent trip in May, we limited out in lake trout and salmon in about 3 hours.  While excellent numbers like these won’t last as the waters warm up and fish move to deeper water, it does bode well for fishing going into June and July. All the more reason to book your charter now!

salmon fishing       brown trout

Set Up for the Season


The off-season brings the chance to purchase new fishing gear and lures for the upcoming year.  The February fishing and outdoor conventions are always enticing us to upgrade.  We purchased a new Lowrance HDS Gen3  chartplotter/fishfinder (now with tablet integration!) and a new Lowrance 4G braodband radar.

Another new purchase for this year is a custom trolling bar made by the wonderful guys at Traxstech.  Along with mounting our new Cannon Digi-Troll 5 downriggers the bar offers us easy storage space for our planer boards, 8 additional rod holders (allowing us to run 24 rods, when legal) and several always-needed plier and bait holders.

A valuable part of trolling is knowing the temperature and speed of the lure at depth, which can vary greatly from the surface temperature and boat speed. Wasting your time trolling at the wrong temperature or scatter shooting is no fun for anyone.  Our new FishHawk X4D gives us clear information by hooking on to the downrigger cable and giveing us accurate readings of the environment the bait. The new setup recently netted several spring coho and a few large brown trout.  It is making great returns already!


fishing boat   brown trout  chicago skyline



Early Season Fishing in the Shadow of the City


April brings fish right along the still-cold waters of the Chicago shore. This can make for some really good hauls in a short period of time. We took the boat out for a few hours last weekend to test out some of the new gear and to get a feel of where the fish are schooling.
We trolled along a sharp color change about mile east of Belmont Harbor. Running surface boards with dodger flies, a couple of body baits, 2 Dipsys, a lead core, and a drop weight with a spoon, they all took fish.

We ended up with 10 coho salmon and a lake trout in about 2 hours of fishing. One of the coho was 10+ pounds, a rarity this time of year around Chicago.

large coho salmon         fishing trip haul