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28-Inch Catfish Is Biggest Beast In This Year's 'Big Fish' Contest

Photo for: 28-Inch Catfish Is Biggest Beast In This Year

The Forest Preserve's "Big Fish" contest at Monee Reservoir wrapped up August 30 with four winners reeling in prizes. 

This is the second year for the contest, which began on July 1, a month later than last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The results are in and the winners are:  

First Place Bass: Dwayne Dooley of Chicago, 19.25 inches, largemouth bass

First Place Catfish: Jack Keslin of Grant Park, 28 inches, channel catfish

First Place Panfish: Dwayne Dooley, 10.5 inches, bluegill

Grand Prize Winner (Drawn from All Entries): Dale Heining of Steger

Each winner will receive a $100 Forest Preserve gift card. The cards can be used to rent boats and motors, buy bait and snacks or reserve a shelter for a picnic. Photos of the winners are posted at Monee Reservoir Visitor Center on a video presentation in the multipurpose room.  

Dooley is a regular at Monee Reservoir, so it's no surprise that he did so well in the contest this year, said Bob Bryerton, an interpretive naturalist for the Forest Preserve. 

"This year he found some good spots and was pretty successful almost every time he came out," Bryerton said.  


While panfish entries were slower, bass and catfish categories were competitive throughout the contest. 

"The bass category winner ended up being one of the first entries and although we ended up with a bunch of entries, nobody was able to beat that early catch," Bryerton said. "However, it was one of the later bass entries that ended up winning the grand prize drawing this time around."

Overall, it was a good second year for the contest, Bryerton added.

"The anglers kept us busy updating the standings and some really nice fish were caught and recorded," he said. "It is always fun to interact with visitors with a big catch. The excitement of a big catch is contagious and makes us happy for them. We look forward to bringing this program back in the future and will review the process to make it even more enjoyable for those who participate."


Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.


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