Captain Rick Bentley – Bio

Windy City Salmon Charters


The Captain:

 Growing up just north of Chicago in Libertyville Illinois and fishing the local ponds and streams since about the time he could barely walk, Captain Rick Bentley originally began fishing the Lake Michigan waters off Waukegan Harbor for salmon & trout when he was about 12 years old with his uncle Ross Shellenberger and in only several years was being actively pursued to run the rods on the deck as a first mate for many different captains in Waukegan.

Over the course of his life, Rick has fished in many places from the backcountry of Quetico Provincial Park in Canada, to sailfish in the Gulfstream off south Florida, to monster blue marlin off the U.S. Virgin Islands. With those fishing locales earning a special respect by Rick, he will always hold Lake Michigan salmon & trout fishing closest to his heart.

Captain Rick is a licensed U.S. Coast Guard Captain and has fished the waters near Waukegan for twelve years. He is a member of the National Association of Charterboat Operators (NACO), the Maritime Consortium, and is a contributor for and has written articles about salmon & trout fishing for Great Lakes Angler Magazine.


 Independence-pic2The Boat:

The Independence is a 34' Tiara, a fast and stable twin inboard vessel that is 12' wide at the stern and is built, designed, & outfitted specifically for salmon & trout fishing on the Great Lakes. She comes completely equipped with a private bathroom, a large cabin to stow personal items, and most importantly plenty of fishing room in the stern cockpit to run a full spread of lines. A convenient washdown system is always available to get those scales off your hands after you pose with your trophy for the camera. Passenger also stay warm and dry beneath the large hardtop area if it rains.

The Independence featuers top-of-the-line gear:

Penn International 975, Shimano Tekota and  Daiwa Saltist reels placed on Shakespeare Ugly Stik  and Shimano Talora rods. We invested in the best, highest quality reels & rods you will find on any charter boat on Lake Michigan. All of the reels & rods were purchased within last four years or less and offer first-rate performance.


Home Waters:

Captain Rick Bentley is based out of the port of Waukegan, IL which is just north of the city of Chicago and runs trips from early April until October. During April and May, Rick is focused on the early season coho run; while the summer months are focused on adding Chinook (King) and Steelhead to the boat. Fishing for spawning Chinook can be had during the months of September and October.

For more information on fishing with Rick or to book a chartered trip, please visit his website at or contact him at (773) 791-7990.


Custom Coho Flies:

Captain Rick hand-ties all of the coho flies and primarily employs these flies when he fishes for coho salmon and steelhead during the spring months. Under most circumstances, an 18-inch leader from the tip of the loop to the back of the hook will perform the best when run behind 6" or similar size (red/orange) dodgers or flashers. But you should experiment with different lengths on your own home-waters to see what performs best. All coho flies are tied on #4 Gamakatsu and VMC hooks. We can tie on #2 or larger hooks upon request.

Minimum order is six flies with free shipping to your door. For more information, please visit:



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