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Good timing: Illinois’ lake whitefish record falls again, for the sixth time

Capt. Rick Bentley of WindyCitySalmon.com on Independence with a customer-caught lake whitefish, before it was officially weighed and certified as the Illinois record.

[Updated twice.]

Well, the Illinois record for lake whitefish fell quicker than I thought it would.

Kevin Deram, fishing with Capt. Rick Bentley of WindyCitySalmon.com on Independence, caught an 8-pound, 4-ounce whitefish Friday morning to easily set the record.

Bentley texted that they were trolling a bit inside the Lake Bluff Reef in 110 feet of water.

Deram’s whitefish beats the 7.5-pound whitefish caught March 22, 2017 by Ken Maggiore at Montrose Harbor. That was the same day that Maggiore caught the Illinois-record burbot in one of the most remarkable feats in Illinois fishing history.

Deram’s whitefish was weighed and certified at the Salmon Stop in Waukegan. It was 27 inches in length with an 18-inch girth. Biologist Steve Robillard verified it at the weighing.


Capt. Rick Bentley with the Illinois-record lake whitefish caught by customer Kevin Deram June 29, 2018.

[ADD 2] The record will not be official until Illinois Department of Natural Resources chief Dan Stephenson received the paperwork and signs off on it. [Added]

It will the fourth Illinois record fish caught in 2018.

[ADD 1]

Bentley emailed this longer explanation, which I found wonderful, and also texted a better photo (the one at the top) from the water:

In further detail, we were on an 11 boat tournament charter trip for local bars in town. I think this was the sixth year.

Prize layout for the derby is heaviest fish and heaviest three fish total. I swept the prizes last year and fully intended to do so again so we went for lake trout in an area that’s usually good for them.
First fish on of the morning was a big king on the same rod as what caught the whitefish. My guy had the big king to the back of the boat, did everything very well, but it just came unbuttoned. That fish was a high teen low 20 lb fish and would have one biggest fish this morning. Then we had another fish on the same rod but it got away. I left the line out without checking the lure. Then after 20 minutes I thought I better check it and pulled it in to make sure it didn’t break the line. The line was fine but the snap swivel was broken and the spoon was gone. That previous king could have damaged it. But it was that next fish that broke it. So I tied a new snap on and put the same kind of spoon on (magnum carmel dolphin Mich Stinger) and let it out on the 300ft copper. A soon as the line was all out and I re-enmgaged the free spool, the whitefish was on. So, like a lot of things fish, timing was absolutely everything here.