Some of Windycitysalmon’s customers are seasoned veterans. But because Capt Rick gets a steady flow of traffic from people that are new to salmon fishing on Lake Michigan, below is some information on what to bring and expect on his fishing charters.
Windycitysalmon is a full-time, professional charter fishing guide service and Capt Rick does not hold any other part or full-time jobs. In the off-season lots of time is spent maintaining and readying gear and building new and unique fishing strategies for each upcoming season.
Captain Rick has fished the waters around Chicago and Waukegan for many years and has caught thousands of these fish on his own. These days, Captain Rick gets just as big a kick out of taking customers out to catch fish as he does himself. For him, the thrill lies much more in the everyday hunt to find and get fish to bite. It is in this regard that he will give you an honest and hardworking effort towards your enjoyment in the hopes that you and your group have a successful catch.
This also means that he runs a clean boat and that all equipment is maintained in a professional and proper basis. Captain Rick doesn’t cut corners and has invested in the top of the line rods, reels, line, lures, and rigs available. Windycitysalmon features top-of-line gear and Captain Rick also hand-ties a lot of the trolling flies that are used on his charters and sold to other fisherman and captains across the Great Lakes.
You should bring the following in order to ensure your own comfort:
- Two coolers – One cooler to store your food and beverages on the boat while we are fishing. A second cooler to be kept in your car during the trip, will be needed to keep your catch on ice for your drive home. Captain Rick will have filleted, iced, and packed your catch in heavy duty plastic bags – free of charge – which you can place inside the cooler in your car. A large onboard cooler will keep the fish we catch on ice during the trip.
- Each passenger is responsible for obtaining their own Illinois fishing license & Salmon Stamp – 24-hour license/salmon stamp is usually available for purchase on the boat for $12/person for IL resident and $17 non-resident. But to save time, Captain Rick encourages you to purchase your season or 24-hour license and salmon stamp a day ahead of the trip, online at the Illinois DNR website here: il.wildlifelicense.com. Please text, call or email Capt Rick a day or two before you are scheduled fish to make sure the weather looks good, so you don’t waste money on a license you won’t use. You need a salmon stamp but not a trout stamp. A salmon stamp covers both salmon and trout caught in Lake Michigan. While a trout stamp is for inland pond, lake, and stream trout. There are several other licenses we can’t sell. These are stand alone salmon stamps or stand alone licenses. These you will be able to get at a retail store, online/on a cell phone if necessary. Also, if you are between 65 and 75, fishing licenses are $7.75. Further if you are 75 and older, licenses are $1.50 and salmon stamps are $0.50. I am not able to sell any of these discounted documents either but they can be purchased at a retail store, online/on a cell phone. No license or salmon stamp needed under 16 years old or if disabled. For disabled, must possess State disabled ID or Veterans disability card (State’s rules).
- Sunglasses, sunscreen, extra jacket or layers, and a knit hat especially in the spring months.
- Shoes – Soft soled shoes. Tennis/running/gym shoes or sandals are great. Avoid any shoes or boot with a hard heel/sole. No flip flops.
- Long pants instead of shorts – Capt Rick personally recommends and himself, usually wears jeans or lightweight, nylon long pants to protect against sunburn as well as biting flies that we sometimes encounter on low-wind days. Biting flies and other bugs are a part of lake’s ecosystem at times and lay their eggs on the water surface when there is no wind. There is little we can do to prevent them from coming onboard as we pass them by. Low-wind days do not occur very often but when they do and biting flies are present, you will regret wearing shorts.
- Raincoat – We will fish in the rain and the Independence has a large hardtop roof and cabin to keep you dry but fishing can be good when it rains.
A few other items:
- Please make Captain Rick aware of any medical conditions that anybody in your party may have. There will be times that it could take up to an hour to return to the dock from our fishing grounds. While Captain Rick is certified for CPR/First Aid, in the interest of safety he needs to be in the position to accommodate any potential emergency that could arise.
- Gratuity/Tip – A gratuity for the boat/captain is very appreciated. While some charters operations have a first mate who may work for tip only, Captain Rick handles the entire operation on his own and is performing all the duties a first mate would be doing. Capt Rick works very hard to maintain his operation at a premium-level offering in the industry. Any gratuity is therefore very appreciated for that extra fuel that was burned by traveling to where Capt Rick thinks the fish could be (boats use a lot of gas), the wear and tear on the boat, engine repairs and maintenance such as all the oil changes and filters over the course of the season (Capt Rick changes oil on both engines about 14-15) times a season, as well as of course lost tackle for fish breaking off for a variety of reasons.
- Please leave all illegal drugs on the shore. By order of the US Coast Guard, all charter boats are required to be drug-free at all times and we are highly regulated and monitored as such.
- Please make sure you have made arrangements for small children and infants ahead of time. Windycitysalmon welcomes aboard children at about the ages of 7-8 and over – as long as they don’t increase the party beyond 6 people – by way of Coast Guard regulation – but younger children and infants present unique safety concerns that Captain Rick unfortunately cannot accommodate.
- A word on motion sickness. If you feel you are at any risk of getting seasick, Captain Rick strongly urges you to take an OTC medication such as Bonine or Dramamine before we are scheduled to leave the docks, which are available at any drugstore. For full effectiveness, these are best taken the evening before as well as at least an hour before we are supposed to depart. This advice isn’t meant to scare you to think that it is common but rather better be safe as it is too late to take anything once you have already become sick. The most effective option for those of you that have been sick before is to call your doctor for a dime-sized prescription scopolamine ear patch. Captain Rick has seen very few people get sick while taking this latter precaution and has in fact, allowed passengers to again enjoy big lake fishing without that worry.