If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience this winter, charter fishing could be just the thing.

The state of Michigan features world-class fishing all year round, and nowhere is the biting better than in the White Lake area. Winter is one of the best times to get out and fish near White Lake. We’ve got it all, from rivers and streams to inland lakes and of course, Lake Michigan.


What Does Charter Fishing Entail?

If you’re new to the experience of charter fishing, it’s an activity that allows individuals of all fishing skill levels to get out on the water with expert guides.

While there are many opportunities to fish on your own in West Michigan, there are numerous advantages to taking a charter. Notably, you won’t have to haul out your boat, prepare your gear and bait, or find the best fishing spots. Guides do all that for you. You also won’t have to worry about boat licensing (although it’s important to note that you will need an individual Michigan fishing license).

Generally speaking, the guides you work with will be as involved as you want them to be. Beginners will be able to learn how to bait their hooks and cast their lines, and experienced fishermen can benefit from guides’ knowledge of local waters.

Charter fishing is a great experience for individuals, couples, families and friend groups. It’s a great way to get kids outdoors and involved in nature as well.


Types of Charter Fishing in White Lake

The White Lake area is the perfect Michigan region for charter fishing because we have every type of body of water. Here, you can partake in any of the following types of fishing:

  • River and stream fishing
  • Inlet lake & pond fishing (on ice when conditions are safe)
  • Big water fishing—Lake Michigan

Every time you set out on a charter, the experience will be new and different. From what season it is and the current weather conditions to where you’re fishing and which fish are active, it’s a guaranteed fun time.


Fishing Charters in the White Lake Area

To help you plan your fishing trip, here are some local charters that offer winter outings in the White Lake area. Each charter heads out to different bodies of water, and they all offer various excursions and day packages. Simply click the links for more information.

Fishmas Charters
With a port in White Lake, Fishmas Charters takes anglers out to Lake Michigan and “Goes where the fish are!” They specialize in northern pike, bass, pan fish and walleye.

Muskegon River Fishing
Around since 1978, Muskegon River Fishing takes anglers out on—you guessed it—Muskegon River. Year round, you can catch salmon, trout and steelhead from their boat, and in the winter, there’s even a heated topper for added comfort on the water.

Great Lakes Guide Service
Great Lakes Guide Service sets out on both rivers and lakes in the area. Many anglers love catching steelhead, trout or salmon on the Muskegon, Grand or White Rivers. If conditions are safe, you can even head out onto Muskegon Lake with the guides and ice fish for the exceptionally good perch there.


Tips for Planning Your Charter Fishing Trip

The charter you choose to go with will have specific guidelines about when and where to show up, what to bring and what to expect when you get out on the water.

No matter which charter you choose, here are some things to think about beforehand to help you prepare for the excursion and make it as enjoyable as possible!

Decide what type of fish you want to catch.
The type of fish you’ll be able to catch on your outing will depend largely on where you fish and what season it is. In addition, ice fishing can only be done when conditions are safe. With that being said, species of fish that you may be able to catch in winter include:

  • Rivers: Steelhead, catfish, salmon, trout, smallmouth and walleye
  • Lakes: Panfish, walleye, perch, pike and steelhead

Decide how long you want to stay out.
Most charters last at least 5 or 6 hours. But as the expert guides will tell you, the longer you stay out, the more chances you’ll have to bring home a great catch. Still, if you’re bringing kids or heading out during the coldest months of winter, you may want to schedule a shorter charter.

Make sure you have your own fishing license.
You’ll need to have your own Michigan fishing license before heading out. Some charters sell licenses themselves while others will ask that you get your own ahead of time—this can be done online here.

You may need to bring a few things.
Even though your guides will provide the most important gear for your trip, you may be encouraged or required to bring a few things of your own as well. Examples include an ice chest to store your catch, appropriate clothing and shoes, sunglasses, food and beverages, and a camera to take photos. Keep in mind some charters will have breakfast or lunch included in your package. Again, always check with your charter for specifics.

Consider making it a group trip.
Many charters can accommodate up to 6 or more anglers, and the price per person tends to drop as you add more people to your party. In that way, it can be fun to book a charter with others. Schedule with friends or co-workers, or go with the kids or whole family.

Find lodging nearby.
Most charters have early morning starts, so if you’re coming from Holland, Kalamazoo, or Grand Rapids, it’s definitely recommended that you find nearby lodging. At the Weathervane Inn, we love welcoming fishermen from down south and all over Michigan to stay with us. Our location is close to all of the local bodies of water, and many of our fishing guests choose to make their charter trip into a vacation and stay a few nights.

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