Idaho fisherman lands record-setting northern pike on Hayden Lake
An Idaho fisherman has broken the state record for northern pike with a massive catch on Hayden Lake in the Idaho Panhandle. Thomas Francis of Rathdrum caught a 40-pound, 13.76-ounce northern pike on March 24, beating the previous record by more than two pounds.
Francis was fishing with his friend John Hocking when he hooked the giant fish using a Rapala lure. He said he knew it was a big fish when it pulled his rod down and started peeling line off his reel. He fought the fish for about 10 minutes before bringing it to the boat.
“It was unbelievable. It was like a dream come true,” Francis said.
Francis and Hocking took the fish to Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop in Coeur d’Alene, where they had to find a bigger scale to weigh it. The fish measured 45.25 inches long and had a girth of 27 inches. It was verified by Idaho Fish and Game officials as the new state record for northern pike.
The previous record was 38 pounds, 7 ounces and 44 inches long, caught by Kevin Lakey on Lower Twin Lake in 2014. Northern pike are not native to Idaho and are considered an invasive species that can harm native fish populations. Idaho Fish and Game encourages anglers to keep any northern pike they catch.
Francis said he plans to mount his record-breaking fish and display it in his home. He also said he was thankful for his friend’s help and for the opportunity to catch such a rare fish.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,” Francis said.
Featured image (Thomas Francis via Idaho Fish and Game)