Sheboygan Fishing: The Complete Guide
Sheboygan offers a true Wisconsin vibe on the western shore of Lake Michigan. What’s more, it’s home to amazing angling opportunities: fishing in Sheboygan is first class. As a Great Lake city, it allows you to explore the mighty Lake Michigan and its beautiful tributaries, including the mouth of the Sheboygan River.
In fact, the fishing opportunities here are year-round. That’s right: you can explore the waters of Sheboygan any time you want. It’s the list of your potential catches that varies. And when you’re done with catching wherever’s in season and biting, you’ll have gorgeous beaches, a bustling downtown, rich history, and culture to explore.
This guide will show you all the advantages the lakefront location gives to Sheboygan. You’ll learn everything you need to know about the most exciting local species and how, where, and when to tackle them. So, without further ado…
What can I catch while fishing in Sheboygan?
It’s no secret that Lake Michigan and the Sheboygan River are home to all kinds of game species. If we were to name them one by one, this guide would need at least one more part. For now, let’s stick to the most popular catches you can expect in the area.
First and foremost, Sheboygan’s fishing scene is dominated by Chinook and Coho Salmon. These ferocious fighters are among the most sought-after fish in the area, challenging anglers of all skill levels. Oh, and they’re incredibly tasty.
Chinook are also known as “King” Salmon and are the largest of the two. They hang out in the deeper, cooler waters of Lake Michigan and its tributaries. Coho “Silver” Salmon are smaller than Kings, although they surely make up for it with their attitude and game qualities. Anglers can find Cohos in the same waters as Chinooks, although the peak season is different.
King Salmon bite best from July through September when they run up the river to spawn. Silver Salmon, on the other hand, are more active from March to early June and then again in late fall.
So, how can you fish for Salmon in Sheboygan? The most popular technique on Lake Michigan is trolling, while drift fishing produces good results in the rivers and streams.
Trout are another popular game fish in Sheboygan. And, of course, there’s a whole selection of Trout species available in the area: Lake, Brown, and Rainbow Trout, aka Steelhead.
Lakers live in deeper waters, reaching trophy sizes at over 40 pounds. These fish bite best from June to September, especially if you use heavy tackle with minnows and Salmon eggs. Elusive Brown Trout, on the other hand, are usually caught on light tackle in Sheboygan’s rivers and streams.
Acrobatic Steelhead patrol the waters of Lake Michigan, but anglers also fish for them in the rivers and streams. Rainbow Trout are especially active during their spring run which starts in March. Lake anglers often use trolling, while fly fishing is the method of choice in the rivers.
Yellow Perch fishing is a year-round pleasure in Sheboygan. You’ll usually find them in shallow, weedy areas of the local lakes and rivers. Perch aren’t among the biggest catch you can find in Sheboygan, but they’re feisty and very tasty.
Fishing for Perch is usually done by bottom fishing with live bait that resembles small fish or insects, including worms and minnows. Jigging and drifting can also entice the bite. As well as that, local anglers can use light tackle and small lures, such as jigs and small spinners.
When the conditions allow, you can also head to a frozen part of the lake during the winter months. Since Perch are available year-round, they’re among the popular ice fishing catches in the area.
Bass anglers won’t be disappointed when fishing in Sheboygan. Two species of Bass are available in local waters: Smallmouth and Largemouth. So, where can you find these monsters?
Bass bite best in the Sheboygan River and the smaller lakes and streams in the area. In general, local Bass enthusiasts look for them in shallow areas, as well as clear, rocky streams and rivers. Fishing can be good year-round, depending on where you’re fishing. In general, Bass bite best during the warmer months.
Pack light tackle and prepare to cast lures, such as worms, jigs, and crankbaits. Locals vary the retrieve speed and depth, it’s a good idea to experiment. Feel free to fish live bait on the bottom using a jighead or go fly fishing whenever the conditions allow.
Last but not least, this list wouldn’t be complete without Pike. Fishing for these freshwater creatures is a rewarding experience for everyone. Anglers look for Pike in Lake Michigan, the Sheboygan River, and in the smaller lakes and streams in the area. Locals usually fish in deeper and cooler waters, although you can find Pike in shallower areas, too.
You can fish with live bait, such as minnows when working the shallower water. If you’re fishing deeper, trolling with lures can help you get the fish to bite. Wherever technique you decide to try, it’s never a bad idea to consult with your guide first. They have their own honey holes and techniques that work best. In fact, that applies to whatever Sheboygan species you have in mind!
Where can I go fishing in Sheboygan?
Now that you know which species you can fish for, it’s time to take a look at where you can find them. Here’s a quick list of spots you might want to explore:
- Sheboygan Harbor. The main harbor is located right in the heart of downtown Sheboygan. From there, you can launch into the lake or check out what’s biting close to shore. Perch, Walleye, and Bass are all popular catches here.
- Sheboygan River. As a prime fly fishing destination in the area, the Sheboygan River is a generous tributary of Lake Michigan. It’s home to everything from Steelhead and Brown Trout to Smallmouth Bass.
- Lake Michigan. This Great Lake is the main angling spot in Sheboygan and it hardly needs an introduction. Its waters offer excellent opportunities for Salmon, Trout, and Perch fishing among many other species.
- Deland Park. If Salmon and Trout aren’t your main priorities, consider paying this park a visit. Deland Park is located in the north part of the city, where you can fish for Perch, Bass, and Panfish.
- Kohler-Andrae State Park. Based just south of Sheboygan, this beautiful state park is a popular spot among local anglers. There, you can target Bass, Panfish, and even Walleye.
- Pigeon River Fishery Area. This spot is known for its Trout fishing, with Brown, Brook, and Rainbow Trout all on the menu. The area is located east of Sheboygan.
- Old Plank Road Trail. This spot is perfect for those who’d like to spend some quality time with their fishing rod without too much fishing pressure. Here, you can fish for Bass, Panfish, and even Catfish.
- Sheboygan County Park. This is a beautiful park based just west of the city. Locals come here for some Bass and Perch fishing, although you can also fish for Panfish.
How can I go fishing in Sheboygan?
If you’re hoping to explore the best opportunities fishing in Sheboygan has to offer, booking a charter is a must. When fishing with a local guide, you’ll be able to get the most out of the waters, wherever you go. There are various captains that offer charter fishing trips on Lake Michigan, as well as experienced guides in the Sheboygan River.
Let’s take a look at the alternative methods to fish in this Wisconsin city.
The best part about fishing in Sheboygan is that you don’t always need a boat to have a productive trip. Both Lake Michigan and the Sheboygan River have several shore fishing locations. You can cast your line on Lake Michigan within minutes of downtown; all you have to do is just find a suitable pier or state park. The same goes for the Sheboygan River: there are excellent wading spots in the river.
Ice fishing can be a fun and rewarding way to fish for Perch, Walleye, and Panfish. There are several factors to consider, though. First of all, it’s always a good idea to head out with a local guide. Secondly, it’s important to take safety precautions when working the ice, as it can be pretty unpredictable.
Sheboygan Harbor and Kohler-Andrae State Park are good winter fishing spots for Perch and Walleye. If you’re more interested in Pike, consider checking out Quarry Lake. Or just visit both!
When should I go fishing in Sheboygan?
In the spring, as the waters warm up, anglers can start in the Sheboygan River and then gradually move to Lake Michigan. Starting in March, you can expect to find Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout, as well as Salmon at the end of your fishing line.
Summer is the prime time for fishing in Lake Michigan. You can practice fly fishing, trolling, drifting, spinning, casting, and other methods to land anything from Trout to Salmon. The Sheboygan River is also a good spot for a summer trip, where you can find Bass and Pike in low waters.
The fall months are great for Chinook and Coho Salmon fishing as they move up the river. You can also chase Brown Trout as they move to spawn. And finally, the winter season is all about ice fishing for species like Perch and Pike!
Fishing in Sheboygan FAQs
Do I need a license to go fishing in Sheboygan?
- Every angler aged 16 or older, whether a resident or visitor, needs a valid Michigan fishing license to explore Sheboygan’s waters. You’ll need to obtain such permit even if you’re fishing with a guide. In addition, you might need to get a certain stamp, such as Salmon or Trout.
Are there any fishing tournaments in Sheboygan?
- There are several existing fishing events in the Sheboygan Area. The city hosts the annual Sheboygan Salmon Derby in August, along with Sheboygan Walleye Club Tournament, Sheboygan River Smallmouth Bass Tournament, and Sheboygan River Steelhead Tournament.
Fishing in Sheboygan: Quiet Town, Loud Opportunities
It’s safe to say that fishing in Sheboygan has a lot going for it. You can start your day by casting a line into Lake Michigan aboard a charter boat, fish from shore in the afternoon, and plan something else in the evening. Now that you know what to expect, all that’s left to do is just book a trip and head out. Fish on!
Have you ever been fishing in Sheboygan? Do you prefer Lake Michigan or its tributaries? Share your fish stories with us in the comments below!
Featured on FishingBooker.com
Featured on FishingBooker.com