I am a sucker for big pike stories, and this is one of the best. Although not an old article (it is from the 23 March 1999 Calgary Sun), it is still a great story. A 70 inch northern is a true monster.
It was probably the biggest northern pike ever caught in Manitoba.
And they ate the evidence.
The estimated 70-inch fish was caught in Cedar Lake by a resident of Easterville, a small aboriginal community about 100 kilometers southeast of The Pas.
News of the catch surfaced when a photo was dropped off at the office of Doug Leroux, Natural Resources regional fisheries manager in The Pas.
"This is the biggest pike I've ever seen," Leroux said. "Anything over 40 inches is a good size. The current Manitoba record is 59 inches. This surpasses that by a good 10 inches."
He estimated the length of the fish by computer scanning the image and using a 2x4 foot brace on a bookshelf in the photo's background for comparison.
The size was later verified by co-workers who digitally enhanced the picture.
The impressive catch has led fishing enthusiasts from U.S. sports magazines and as far away as England to contact Leroux's office.
"They just want to know if the story is true. We've seen the picture and we believe it to be true."
But there's not much of a fish story to tell, at this point. Leroux has tried in vain to contact the fisherman for details of the capture. He doesn't even know if it was caught the past winter or the year before.
From what Leroux understands, the fisherman was simply out to stock the family fridge when he made the catch.
"He was fishing for food for his family and from what I understand, gave it to his grandmother. It would definitely feed a family for a while."
Landing a record setter can command thousands of dollars from fishing lodges wanting it for their walls.
The Manitoba record for northern pike is 42.42 pounds, set in 1977. The Cedar Lake catch is estimated to have weighed more than 50 pounds.
-- Dr. Todd