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Really big brown trout: Audrey Morgan earns Fish of the Week on family outing

Audrey Morgan’s really big brown trout earned Fish of the Week honors.

Audrey Morgan and her big brown trout caught with Capt. Rick Bentley. Provided photo
Audrey Morgan and her big brown trout caught with Capt. Rick Bentley.
Provided

Audrey Morgan, 11, caught a 31.5-pound brown trout on July 6 that looked nearly as big as she was. The Glen Ellyn family—Audrey, her sister Emily and her father Bill— was fishing with WindyCitySalmon’s Capt. Rick Bentley out of Waukegan.

“It came on a rigger down 23 feet on a Stinger NBK on a gold blank,” Bentley explained. “Because of wind/wave potential offshore and wishing to avoid those conditions for a father and two 11-year-old daughters, I put together a shallow-water strategy for brown trout off Lake Forest, suspecting a cold water upwelling may have occurred over the previous 36 hours or so. Those fish are largely residents of that area but the colder water makes them more active.”

It worked with three other browns, including a 17-pounder caught by Emily, and a Chinook.

Capt. Rick Bentley holds the 17-pound brown trout caught by Emily Morgan, 11. Provided photo
Capt. Rick Bentley holds the 17-pound brown trout caught by Emily Morgan, 11.
Provided

Audrey’s brown came “about 9 a.m., right before I planned to pull lines,” Bentley emailed. “We were in 30 feet of water.”

Bill plans to mount the fish.

“This is the largest brown I’ve had on my boat,” Bentley emailed. “We did have a 24-pound brown back in May. And I’ve had a 28 1/2-pound brown, too, back about 11 years ago that is on my wall at home.”

Deva Vranek caught the Illinois-record brown (36 pounds, 11 1/2 ounces) n June 22, 1997 off Chicago.

Bentley is no stranger to significant fish. A Bentley customer, Kevin Deram, caught the Illinois-record whitefish (8 pounds, 4 ounces) on June 29, 2018. Click here for that story.

Audrey Morgan’s big brown trout on the scale. Provided photo
Audrey Morgan’s big brown trout on the scale.
Provided

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter, as this one shows) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the paper Sun-Times. The online posting here at https://chicago.suntimes.com/outdoors goes up at varied days of the week, depending on what is going on the wide world of the outdoors.

To make submissions, email (BowmanOutside@gmail.com) or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).