Frequently Asked Questions

Fishing

Questions about fishing

Are the fish we catch safe to eat?

We really get asked this question a lot.  Personally, it is our opinion that should you decide to eat your catch, it will be some of the best salmon you will ever have.  Many of our customers have fantastic recipes.   Some of them smoke their fish and others even prepare Sushi.

If you have any more questions or concerns about eating Lake Michigan Salmon and Trout, we urge you take a look at the Illinois DNR Fish Advisory.

Can we catch an release?

Unlike the Bass you may be used to catching, Salmon and Trout do not stand up well to being handled and unfortunately most of them will die shortly after being released.  It is our policy to keep every legally sized fish up to our daily limit.   Should we catch our limit, the trip will be concluded as the Illinois DNR will not permit us to fish any longer even if we were releasing fish.

Do I need a fishing license?

You will need to possess an Illinois Fishing License with a Lake Michigan Salmon Stamp.

Licenses are available for purchase on line from the Illinois DNR, or they can be purchased from various sporting goods stores such as Walmart or Bass Pro Shop.  24 hour licenses are also available for purchase on the boat.

Children under the age of 16 do not require a fishing license.

Do I need to bring along any fishing gear?

All rods, reels, nets, bait, and tackle are provided by the crew at no extra cost.

Do you clean the fish?

Fish cleaning and bagging is available for an additional charge and we will prepare them to your specifications.  Most customers like them filleted or steaked.

 

How far do you go off shore?

We go where the fish go!

The fish are constantly on the move, but we follow them wherever they go.  They are usually closer to shore in the early season and move out to deeper waters in the summer.  It is not typically necessary to go beyond 6 miles on most days, but if the fish move out, we will follow them.

How many fish can we catch?

The Illinois DNR limits the Salmon and Trout to 5 fish per angler.  Only 2 of those 5 may be Lake Trout.

What kind of fish do you target?

fish_speciesWe target the 5 main species of Lake Michigan Salmon and Trout, which are Coho Salmon, Chinook (King) Salmon, Steelhead (Rainbow) Trout, Brown Trout, and Lake Trout.

The fish move around during the season and your catch ratios may vary.  Coho Salmon is more abundant during the spring months and the King Salmon are more abundant near the end of summer.  You might catch more steelhead during the mid summer.  The Brown trout can be found very early and very late in the season the the Lake Trouts stay around all through the year.

We put baits out that target ALL of these fish on every trip.

 

General

General questions

Are there any age limits?

We can accommodate passengers of all ages, but we find that children from the age of 5 and up really enjoy the experience. Please keep in mind that any person, no matter their age, will count as 1 passenger. Children under the age of 16 do not require a fishing license.

Can I bring beer, wine, or liquor?

You may bring any alcoholic beverages of your choice.   Cans are preferred to glass bottles. Illegal drugs are prohibited.  Medical Marijuana, although legal in Illinois for licensed patients, is also prohibited aboard the vessel due to U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Government regulations.

Do I need any experience?

NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY!
The Captain and crew will start the day with setting up all the fishing gear and give you a run-down on how it all works.  They will coach you through reeling in and landing your fish.  For safety reasons, the crew will handle the fish to remove any hooks.  Fish cleaning is available for an additional fee at the end of the trip.

How many people can I bring?

The U.S. Coast Guard restricts all charter boats  to a maximum of 6 passengers of any age and we are licensed and insured to carry only that amount.

How should I dress?

The weather can be widely different on the lake than it is as home.   You can plan on it being noticeably cooler during the months of April. May, and June.  You will want to bring a jacket or sweatshirt along with some long pants (there are private areas on board if you need to change clothes).

If there is rain in the forecast, you might want to bring a rain jacket.  There is room inside the boat to keep you out of the rain.  Keep and eye on our Weather Page  before you head out.

Boat shoes and sneakers are the best footwear.  Sandals can be nice on land, but when fish are on there is allot of activity.  Also, if the waves get a little rough,  they can slip right off.  Work boots are good at protecting your feet, but they can get slippery.  Dress shoes and high-heels are dangerous and not allowed on the boat.

 

Is it safe?

The Captain and crew are certified and licences by the U.S. Coast Guard and are also enrolled in a random drug testing program.

The Vessel is inspected annually by the Illinois DNR and is fully insured.

We monitor the weather very closely and we will never venture out into dangerous weather.

What if someone gets sea-sick?

We do our best to ensure that the ride is as comfortable as possible for our passengers and we will never leave the dock in dangerous waves, but some people are more prone to sea-sickness than others.  It is sometimes possible to overcome mild sea-sickness symptoms but if it becomes unbearable we will end the trip at your request.

If you are prone to sea-sickness, or if you have never been on a boat before, it may be a good idea to take some dramamine before going to bed the night before.  The best defense is to visit your family doctor and request a prescription for Scopolamine ear patches in advance of your fishing trip.

What should I Bring?

To ensure and enjoyable fishing experience, you will want to bring along whatever food, drinks, and proper clothing you will need for 6 hours of fishing:

  • A cooler with some bottled water, soda,  sandwiches etc; is a good start.
  • You may also want to bring a long a jacket or wind-breaker as it is typically cooler out on the lake.  Add some rain gear if there is rain in the forecast.
  • A hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen to protect your from those dangerous rays.
  • Long pants or some bug spray to ward off the ankle biting flies we sometimes encounter on low-wind days.
  • Bring along an iPod with your favorite tunes!
  • A camera to capture those classic moments.
  • You can also bring an extra cooler with ice to leave in your car so you can bring home your catch of the day.

Reach out to our Contact Us page, or email us directly at popeyefishingcharters@gmail.com for more details.

What time should we arrive?

We run several trips a day, and the most popular times are 5:00am and 11:00am.  Your fishing trip will begin at the time you booked your trip.  To maximize your fun on the water, you will want to arrive approximately 30 minutes before your scheduled time for boarding and fishing license applications.

Weather

Questions about weather

How should I dress?

The weather can be widely different on the lake than it is as home.   You can plan on it being noticeably cooler during the months of April. May, and June.  You will want to bring a jacket or sweatshirt along with some long pants (there are private areas on board if you need to change clothes).

If there is rain in the forecast, you might want to bring a rain jacket.  There is room inside the boat to keep you out of the rain.  Keep and eye on our Weather Page  before you head out.

Boat shoes and sneakers are the best footwear.  Sandals can be nice on land, but when fish are on there is allot of activity.  Also, if the waves get a little rough,  they can slip right off.  Work boots are good at protecting your feet, but they can get slippery.  Dress shoes and high-heels are dangerous and not allowed on the boat.

 

What about bad weather?

Safety is our primary concern and we monitor the weather very closely.  We monitor several weather sources on land and on the water to ensure your safety.  The Captain makes the final call weather to go ahead, or reschedule the trip.

We always make a courtesy call 24-48 hours before your scheduled trip regardless of the weather conditions, however, we will give you a warning if the weather forecast is not looking good.  Weather can be very unpredictable and we will try to give you as much advanced warning as possible, but sometimes it may be a last minute decision.

One of our primary sources is the NOAA forecast.  If NOAA is reporting a “Small Craft Advisory” for the period of your scheduled trip, chances are that we will have to reschedule.