Monster Fish: Connecticut Woman Ties State Northern Pike Record

A family kayak fishing trip to get out of the house nets huge pike.

Monster Fish: Connecticut Woman Ties State Northern Pike Record

Leslie Slater of Barkhamsted, Conn., caught this state record-tying northern pike. (Courtesy Connecticut Fish and Wildlife)

An escape from a hot house without power following Tropical Storm Isaias last month led to a spot in the state fishing record book for a Connecticut woman.

Leslie Slater of Barkhamsted said she and her husband decided they needed to "take the edge off" after another day without power—and air conditioning—so they took their children on an evening kayak fishing trip to the West Branch Reservoir.

"I was jigging a Rooster Tail for trout when all of a sudden I had a huge hit," she said, according to a news release from Connecticut Fish and Wildlife. "It pulled hard right to the bottom. It almost broke my pole in half. Then with all of the dead weight, I thought that I had lost the fish and snagged the bottom."

That "snag" ended up being a 46-inch, 29-pound northern pike. The weight tied a 40-year-old state record (Joseph Nett, 1980, Lake Lillinonah), and had it been released it would have been long enough to beat the state catch-and-release record (45.75 inches, Daniel Kornegay III, 2009, Housatonic River).


"Never in my life did I expect to see a freshwater fish of that size come out of Connecticut, the adrenaline rush pulling in a fish that size was awesome," Slater said. "I still can't believe I pulled it into my kayak without flipping over or having my toes bitten off."


Slater said she intended to release the fish, but wasn’t able to revive it. So, she decided to see if the fish would challenge the weight record. That became almost impossible, since finding a certified scale was difficult with power outages from the storm and already-in-place Covid-19 restrictions. A deli shop was willing to weigh the fish but it was too big for the scale. "The head and tail hit the counter," Slater said. "The reaction we received from the deli customers was priceless."

Biologist to the Rescue

State fisheries biologist Edward Machowski, who has 20-plus years of experience managing northern pike in the state, heard about Slater’s catch and difficulties getting it certified, and offered his help. The fish’s weight was eventually certified at the Berkshire Country Store in Norfolk.

"Thankfully, [store owner] Ryan Craig had equal enthusiasm in helping out and agreed to weigh the pike using his certified scale in the deli," Machowski said. "In the end it tied the state record, and was a very fitting end to such a memorable catch."

Connecticut has been tracking records since the establishment of the Trophy Fish Award program in the early 1960s. Initially, the program was to assist biologists with data on some of the state’s largest fish. Now, anyone catching a potential record can pursue state records in Harvest (weight) and Catch and Release (length) categories. Click here for freshwater state records in Connecticut.


"My favorite part of that fishing adventure, besides catching, was that my husband and kids were there to share the experience," she said. "That catch will forever be a positive memory of 2020 for me and my family."

Details about records and the angler recognition program are available on the DEEP Fisheries website as well as in the 2020 Connecticut Fishing Guide. If you have questions, contact the Fisheries Division by phone at 860-424-3474 or by email at deep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

How to Quickly Re-Spool a Fishing Reel

Stripping a reel and adding fresh line is a breeze if you know the drill—literally.

What

What's New with Abu Garcia Veritas Rods?

There are big changes to Abu Garcia's popular Veritas series of rods. Andrew Wheeler highlights the new features with In-Fisherman's Doug Stange as part of our 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

SPRO Madeye Diver 85 & Minnow 120

SPRO Madeye Diver 85 & Minnow 120

The Madeye Diver 85 & 120 feature sound chambers that imitate various batfish.

Lew

Lew's KVD Rods

As the king of bass fishing says, this new lineup of rods from Lew's—which features the distinctive KVD color scheme—is the most comprehensive lineup of rods ever produced by a single company.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Quick look at common, easy-to-catch fish species (video). Other Freshwater

Get On Board: Species 101 for Beginning Anglers

Game & Fish Staff

Quick look at common, easy-to-catch fish species (video).

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start. Hunting How-To

Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help?

Adam Heggenstaller - August 19, 2020

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes. Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Shad are a big part of the catfish angler's arsenal, as long as you can catch a few that is. Fishing How-To

How to Use Electronics to Catch Baitfish

Game & Fish Staff

Shad are a big part of the catfish angler's arsenal, as long as you can catch a few that is.

See More Trending Articles

More Records

A family kayak fishing trip to get out of the house nets huge pike. Records

Monster Fish: Connecticut Woman Ties State Northern Pike Record

Game & Fish Staff - September 03, 2020

A family kayak fishing trip to get out of the house nets huge pike.

Heartbreaker: Record-sized fish caught, released on Valentine's Day doesn't count. Other Freshwater

Right Fish, Wrong Day for 'Record' Paddlefish

Lynn Burkhead - February 21, 2020

Heartbreaker: Record-sized fish caught, released on Valentine's Day doesn't count.

The new Oklahoma record measured 76 inches long and weighed 143 pounds. Records

Man-Sized Paddlefish Almost a World Record

Game & Fish Staff - May 28, 2020

The new Oklahoma record measured 76 inches long and weighed 143 pounds.

Also reported: Atlantic Salmon records set at Lake Oahe. Bass

New Largemouth Bass Record in South Dakota

Game & Fish Online Staff - May 01, 2020

Also reported: Atlantic Salmon records set at Lake Oahe.

See More Records

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now