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Surprise of a really big, really early Chinook: Royal Fish of the Week

Early Chinook caught by James Kelly out of Portage, Ind.

James Kelly knows how to take a royal study break.

On Saturday, on a break from studies at Valparaiso University, he fished with his uncles out of Burns Ditch in Portage, Ind. and caught a big king while trolling a copper Stinger Spoon with yellow and red polka dots.

“At first, I thought it was a steelhead, by the way it was fighting, but when it came to the boat, I realized it was a Chinook,” he emailed. “I was also very surprised to see such a big fish this early in April. It is not every day that people catch Chinook salmon in northwest Indiana at this time of the year.”

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories around Chicago outdoors, runs Wednesdays on the Sun-Times’ outdoors page. Submit nominations on Facebook (Dale Bowman), on Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or email (