Anglers line river at sunrise for Fishing Derby

Jeff Janssen, left, of Bourbonnais, and Brian Sopko, of St. Anne, fish early this morning during the opening hours of the Kankakee River Fishing Derby. The derby ends on July 8. “We take the whole week off,” Sopko said. “One of us usually ends up with something good."

Daily Journal staff report

In terms of tagged fish caught, the 2018 Kankakee River Fishing Derby stands to be the most successful in recent years.

Brett Burson, of Kankakee, hooked a fish dubbed Amish Bass on Monday, a fish sponsored by Panozzo’s Amish Furniture and worth a $500 gift certificate from the store.

Burson’s catch is the sixth among tagged fish in the derby, which began on Friday and entered its fifth day today. Five tagged fish were caught in the first weekend of the 34th annual event. One, Breaking News, caught by Shannon Richey, of Kankakee, and sponsored by the Daily Journal, carries a $1,000 prize.

To give some perspective, only six tagged fish were caught during the entire run of the derby in 2017, and only four were caught in 2016. Last year, no tagged fish were caught during the first five days of the derby.

The big board is filling up with a number of impressive catches as well. As of this morning, Robert Miller, of Chebanse, led the way among catfish with an 11-pound, 4-ounce catch. Darrell Powers, of Bradley, held the next three positions among catfish.

Matt Hoekstra, of Momence, had the top crappie (15 ounces); James Moore, of Kankakee, was tops in largemouth bass (3 pounds, 15 ounces); Jeff Dummer, of Kankakee, led among northern pike (10 pounds, 15 ounces); Steven Dickey, of Bourbonnais, was tops in rock bass (1 pound, 1 ounce); Melissa Knott, of Kankakee, had the best rough fish catch (17 pounds, 3 ounces); Mike Dickey, of Momence, was tops in smallmouth bass (3 pounds, 2 ounces); and Rick LaBuda, of Kankakee, led among walleye (1 pound, 3 ounces).

The derby continues through July 8. For more information, including how to register, visit kankakee fishingderby.com.

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