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Barkhamsted woman ties state record with massive northern pike catch

“I still can't believe I pulled it into my kayak without flipping over or having my toes bitten off.”
Credit: DEEP
Leslie Slater ties record for largest northern pike in state

COLEBROOK, Conn. — This fish story is about the one that didn't get away. 

Leslie Slater has tied a 40 year old state record for the largest Northern Pike with a whopper that tipped the scales at 29 lbs.

Slater and her husband were trying to relax by getting their family out on the lake in the days after Tropical Storm Isaias came through the state causing damage and power outages. They were out in Colebrook in the West Branch Reservoir. 

“I was jigging a Rooster Tail for trout when all of a sudden I had a huge hit,” Slater recalls. “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 turned out to be a 46 inch-long, 29.0-pound Northern Pike. Slater reeled it in and got it into her kayak.

“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 intended to let the fish go, but was unable to revive it. 

She had to search for a certified scale, since many were not working due to the power outage. DEEP Fisheries Division biologist Edward Machowski came in for the assist and they were able to enlist Ryan Craig, the owner of the Berkshire Country Store in Norfolk and his deli scale. 

Connecticut has been tracking records since the establishment of the Trophy Fish Award program in the early 1960s.