Charter Fishing

Guided fishing adventures

The charter industry is full of skilled sport anglers or commercial fishers who have created businesses serving as fishing guides. Charter fishing can be a great option for out-of-town visitors and anglers who may not have boats or specialized fishing equipment. Approximately 10 percent of Great Lakes anglers employ the services of charters each year, with trips for salmon and walleye being most popular.

The cost of a guided fishing tip is often in the range of $400-600 for a group of 4-6 anglers. A study on charter fishing released in 2011 by Michigan Sea Grant and Michigan State University’s Center for Economic Analysis found that charter fishing generated an average of 465,417 employment hours per year and brought in an average of $19.8 million each year over the course of the last 20 years.

The health of the Great Lakes charter industry has fluctuated in recent decades, due to economic shifts and changes in the regional fisheries. For example, Lake Huron experienced a 49 percent decline in charter fishing trips from 2002 to 2009 as the Chinook salmon fishery collapsed. This cost the region an estimated $1.46 million in economic activity in 2009 alone. However, over the same period, economic activity in Saginaw Bay ports, also located on Lake Huron, increased by $355,197 as walleye fishing improved.

Catch and Cook program

Through the Michigan Catch and Cook program, charter fishing clients can bring their freshly caught fish to a local restaurant and enjoy a seafood dinner straight from the lake. Visit the Catch and Cook website to find participating charter boats and restaurants.