A woman out for a day of fishing reeled in a massive Northern Pike in Colebrook earlier this month to tie a 40-year-old state record, according to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Leslie Slater, of Barkhamsted, was fishing with her husband and children at West Branch Reservoir to relax on a hot day after Tropical Storm Isaias when she snagged the huge fish.
“I was jigging a Rooster Tail for trout when all of a sudden I had a huge hit,” Slater said. “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.”
It turns out she had a 46-inch long, 29.0-pound Northern Pike on her line.
“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 hoped to release the fish, but they couldn't revive it back in the water.
She decided to have it weighed to see if it might be a state record. Slater's problem was finding a certified scale, necessary to officially determine the fish's weight.
With the help of the DEEP, Slater found a certified scale at the Berkshire County Store in Norfolk which confirmed the fish tied a state record set back in 1980.
“My favorite part of that fishing adventure, besides catching, was that my husband and kids were there to share the experience,” Slater said. “That catch will forever be a positive memory of 2020 for me and my family.”
Connecticut has been tracking records for fish caught in the state with the Trophy Fish Award program since the 1960s, according to the DEEP. It was set up to assist biologists with gathering data of some of the state's largest fish.