The Captain

Captain Rick Bentley Independence Charters Windy City SalmonGrowing up just north of Chicago in Libertyville, Illinois and fishing the local ponds and streams since about the time he could barely walk, Captain Rick Bentley originally began fishing the Lake Michigan waters off Waukegan Harbor for salmon & trout when he was about 12 years old with his uncle (Captain) Ross Shellenberger. And in several years was being actively pursued to run the rods on the deck as a first mate for many different captains in Waukegan.

Rick left the fishing industry for a career in financial consulting after graduating college with a degree in finance & economics. He performed investigative stock trading intelligence for many large, publicly-traded companies and investment banks while living in Lincoln Park, Chicago until his mid-30’s.

Missing the excitement and enjoyment of charter fishing, Rick hung up his collared shirts, started Windycitysalmon from scratch in 2007 and returned to Waukegan Harbor as a full-time charter fishing guide.

Over the course of his life, Rick has fished in many places from the backcountry of Quetico Provincial Park in Canada, to sailfish in the Gulfstream off south Florida, to monster blue marlin off the U.S. Virgin Islands. With those fishing locales earning a special respect by Rick, he always held Lake Michigan salmon & trout fishing closest to his heart. So close that he made the career change that he did to return to his roots of the outdoors and the fishing that he loved so much as a teenager to make a new occupation of it. There is little doubt that you will experience his same passion for this kind of fishing which is reflected in the intense efforts and strategies he implements when he takes you fishing for salmon & trout on Lake Michigan i981803_10151473447127523_805741870_on Chicago’s own        backyard. It’s likely that if you’ve even been charter fishing before, you’ve probably never met a captain like Rick. His blend of business, professional, and financial savvy from his past when he advised high-levels of executive management at large, well-known Fortune 500 companies and investment banks, has fused nicely with his enthusiasm for salmon fishing to form a rare combination to beat when it comes to choosing a captain. Still, Captain Rick is also an easy going guy that is happy to satisfy your curiosities with intelligent and insightful answers about the lake, the behavior of the fish we catch, and the methods of fishing we employ.

Captain Rick is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain. 2017 will be Captain Rick’s 10th year as a Captain and he fished another seven years as a First Mate. He is a member of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO) and the Maritime Consortium. Captain Rick is also a contributor for and has written articles about salmon & trout fishing for Great Lakes Angler Magazine and He has also made television appearances for ABC News Chicago and Visit Lake County and has been featured in interviews for the Chicago Tribune and WBEZ-Chicago Public Radio. During the offseason when he is not thinking about new fishing strategies and tying coho flies (which he uses himself and sells to other fisherman across all the great lakes) you will likely find him hiking or skiing out west as he carries on his enthusiasm for the outdoors.

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