st. joseph fishing, fishing charter boats, salmon, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon, lake michigan charters
st. joseph fishing, fishing charter boats, salmon, lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, coho salmon, lake michigan charters


  • When does your fishing season begin and end?

Generally, the Lake Michigan season starts in mid April and ends in September/October.  We have two daily time slots (6a.m. and 2p.m.).  Preferably we like to schedule 7 hour charters in the morning and 5 hour charters in the afternoon.  These times are not set in stone, but timing is imperative when running two trips a day.  We are flexible, so if you have any questions about availability to accommodate your needs, just ask!

  • Do you guarantee that we will catch fish?

As much as we would like to say yes, Mother Nature can be challenging, elusive, and just plain stubborn at times.  It is a rarity to come in with an empty cooler, but it is fishing and sometimes the fish are a slow bite.  We pride ourselves on thousands of successful trips and providing an unforgettable experience is our mission.

  • How long is the trip?

7 and 5 hour fishing charters are available.  Sunset and pleasure cruises are also available and Captain Jim can tailor the time frame to suit your needs.

  •  When should I make reservations?

Advance reservations are strongly recommended to ensure availability.  We welcome spontaneous bookings but cannot guarantee availability.  If we cannot accommodate your time frame, we will do everything possible to help facilitate your fishing adventure.  To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please inquire as soon as possible. 

  • Will I need a fishing license and how do I get one? 

Yes.  The Department of Natural Resources requires that every person fishing from age 17 and older obtain a Michigan issued fishing license for fishing in the state of MI.  We offer 1 day licenses for purchase on the boat for your convenience.  Cost of 1 day licenses are a total of $10.  If you are a non-resident an extra $1 for a Michigan DNR Sportscard will be required if you haven't purchased one in the past or have lost it.  If you would like to arrange your license ahead of time visit the DNR's web page There is no price difference by purchasing through us.

  • Are children allowed?

Yes, children are welcome aboard.  Most kids have an absolute blast with the experience of Lake Michigan fishing and it’s a great way to show them fishing in a different way.  We love taking the time to educate, help them learn the ropes, and engage them with the excitement of the whole experience!

  • What happens if it rains?

The trip runs rain or shine.  Some of our best trips have taken place in less than perfect weather, so plan your attire accordingly.  In the case of severe weather, we may cancel or delay the departure time.  If cancellation is pertinent, you may reschedule or receive credit for a future trip.

  • Can you make special arrangements for groups?

We are able to accommodate groups of 6.  For larger groups, we can arrange multiple boats to fulfill your fishing adventure. 

  • Can I bring my own food and/or beverages?

Absolutely, have to keep up the energy to catch the big one’s!

  • Can I bring alcohol onboard?

Yes, but please drink responsibly.  The Captain is directly responsible for everyone’s safety.  If a guest/guests exhibit unsafe actions, the Captain may cut the trip short at his discretion and the trip will remain at original rate. 

  • Is there a bathroom on the boat?

Yes, there is a private restroom on the boat.

  • What should I wear?

Warm layered clothing and soft soled shoes are best.  It is always cooler on the lake than on land, so it is better to be over dressed than under dressed.  Once you become comfortable you can always peel a layer off.  If rain is in the forecast, a poncho or raincoat may be necessary.  We have a limited supply of rain apparel on-board and may not be able to furnish a full 6 person group.  Not to worry, our enclosed cabin offers great protection to get out of the rain.

  • Will I get seasick?

We sure hope not.  Unfortunately, this is not something we can predict. While we can't recommend you take any medications, prevention might be a good idea if you are susceptible to motion sickness. 

  • Where does my trip end?

Your trip will end in the exact place that it starts from.

  • Where will we be going?

We navigate downstream of the St. Joseph River and into the great wide open, LAKE MICHIGAN!

  • Is the boat safe?

Absolutely.   In addition to modern safety equipment (Life Floats, Life Jackets, etc.) our vessels are constantly maintained and inspected by the United States Coast Guard and Department of Natural Resources.

  • Are there life jackets on the boat?

Yes, there are life jackets for every adult and child onboard.  The location of the jackets are clearly posted and verbally announced by the skipper.

  • Do I have to wear the life jacket?

No.  You may choose to wear a life jacket if you feel you need one.

  • Where does the boat depart from?

Trips depart from Harbor Isle Marina, 143 Anchors Way, in St. Joseph, MI. 49022.   Don't worry, exact meeting location details and directions will be provided upon reservation!

  • How early should I arrive to check in before my trip?

Please arrive AT LEAST 20 minutes before your trip begins.

  • Is there shade on the boat?

Yes. Indoor seating and awnings are available if you need to get out of the sunlight.

  • Will there be room on the boat to stow my belongings?

Yes, we like everyone to be comfortable and have what they want and need.  Please note that our boat can become limited in space due to “overpacking”.




Where to Find Us:

Big Bird Charters
143 Anchors Way Slip 94
Saint Joseph, MI 49085

Phone:  Capt. Eric 269-243-0633

                   Capt. Jim 269-470-4149

Make your charter request today!

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