Skip to main content

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

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Action and Power Ratings- How to Choose the Right Bass Rod

Most fishing rods feature both an action and a power rating, but what do those ratings mean and how do you use them to select the right rod for different scenarios? In this video, outdoor writer and tackle specialist Shane Beilue breaks down the difference between a rod blank’s action and power and discusses what the various ratings of each mean.

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Hunting Elk with the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter in 6.5 PRC

Michael Cassidy and Paul Pluff talk about their elk hunt in New Mexico using the Ruger Hawkeye Long Range Hunter.

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Understanding Reel Retrieve Ratios and How it Affects Lure Presentations

Increase a lure’s effectiveness by pairing it with the ideal reel speed.

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

Catch More Bass on a Jerkbait in the Cooler Months

This one simple trick will trigger more bass strikes on a jerkbait during the fall months.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

With the Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system, anglers have ultimate kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and the ability to move their boat in any direction desiredAmazing Kayak Power and Control: Hobie's MirageDrive 360 Propulsion System Other Fishing

Amazing Kayak Power and Control: Hobie's MirageDrive 360 Propulsion System

OSG Editorial Staff - November 01, 2020

With the Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system, anglers have ultimate kayak control...

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews of smelly ingredients often used to catch catfish. How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait Catfish

How To Make Your Own Catfish Dough Bait

Keith Sutton - August 04, 2015

When it comes to fishing baits, you won't find a more unusual variety than the strange brews...

Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe.Southwestern Venison Chorizo Quiche Recipe Wild Game

Southwestern Venison Chorizo Quiche Recipe

Allie Doran - October 30, 2020

Simplify breakfast or brunch for a crowd by making this savory venison chorizo quiche recipe.

See More Trending Articles

More Records

Caught while ice-fishing in January, the fish had characteristics of two species.DNA Needed to Determine N.Y. State-Record Pumpkinseed Records

DNA Needed to Determine N.Y. State-Record Pumpkinseed

Game & Fish Staff - November 16, 2020

Caught while ice-fishing in January, the fish had characteristics of two species.

Missouri's state record lasts only three days before set again at Bull Shoals Lake.Yellow Perch Record Broken for Second Time in 2020 Panfish

Yellow Perch Record Broken for Second Time in 2020

Game & Fish Digital Staff - March 03, 2020

Missouri's state record lasts only three days before set again at Bull Shoals Lake.

A family kayak fishing trip to get out of the house nets huge pike.Monster Fish: Connecticut Woman Ties State Northern Pike Record 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.

See More Records

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

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