In spring through fall of my junior high and high school years, I would often wake to the sound of my father coming through the door at dawn. His tackle bag would be slung over his shoulder with his fishing hat perched atop his head. If it was a productive trip, in his hand would be the day’s catch. I never stayed to watch what happened next. For the subsequent hours he’d be cleaning the fish.
My father is among many urban anglers in Chicago and the suburbs. Belmont, Montrose, Burnham Harbors, and even Navy Pier are among the places people go to get their fish on.
April is the start of spring fishing season here in Chicago. Coho salmon, brown trout, and maybe even King Salmon are among the types of fish swimming our waters at this time of the year. As the warmer months progress, Chicago’s waters will be home to more variations of trout, perch and salmon. Shore fishing for these little (and sometimes big) guys can be done at least two ways: by regular ol’ rod and by power lining. Details about fishing with a pole probably aren’t necessary. Power lining, however, is something very few people do, but if you’re lucky you may see it in action while strolling along the lakefront. This is extreme fishing. The angler uses a CO2 blast (from a converted fire extinguisher) to launch a multi-hooked line into the water. Using this method, you can shoot the line very far into the lake and catch multiple fish on the same line.
To get started fishing on Lake Michigan and the surrounding bodies of water the best place to start is the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Purchasing a license is necessary and useful when it comes to stocking the lakes and ponds. Also, DNR officials are always trolling the shoreline and even the small ponds to check licenses and catch. Yep, that’s right they’ll be looking to see what you’ve caught to make sure you’re not over-fishing or fishing out of season. So be sure to check Illinois’ regulations for this information.
If you’d like to hone your skills, Midwest Angler offers three free fishing seminars in the spring where you’ll be fishing alongside first-timers and seasoned pros. All are welcome and you will be free to learn at your own pace and set your own goals. Once you feel prepared for a bigger challenge, you may want gather five or six friends and charter a boat together. Lake Michigan is home to a number to charter fishing companies. For a flat rate you and your pals can drink some beer, eat some food, and drop a line in the deep waters of the Lake. The company provides practically everything (even a one day license for purchase on the boat).
Pack a cooler and a rod and head over to Lake Michigan. Fishing is especially awesome when you’re doing it in the shadow of the Chicago skyline!