‘A true monster of a fish’: Idaho angler breaks state pike record with 40-pound catch

Last week, a fisherman broke a 13-year-old state record after landing a northern pike that Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials called “a true monster of a fish” in a news release.

According to the agency, Thomas Francis was fishing on Hayden Lake, a popular pike spot north of Coeur d’Alene, on March 21 when he hooked the massive fish.

Francis told Fish and Game officials he knew the fish was a big one as soon as it bit and took off across the bottom of the lake, taking his line with it.

“I knew that wasn’t normal, and I could tell it was something special,” Francis said in the news release. “Suddenly I got slack line, as she was coming straight up from the bottom. She came flying out of the water, and it was obvious she was a huge fish.”

Francis said that after he reeled the fish in, he found a boat at the dock that had scales. But the fish maxed out the scale’s 30-pound limit, so he began the search to find a scale that could accurately weigh his catch.

The angler found a certified scale and finally learned how huge his pike was — 40.76 pounds. That’s more than half a pound heavier than the previous record pike, which was caught in Twin Lakes, just a short drive from where Francis caught his fish.

The previous record fish was nearly 2 inches longer than this one, which measured 49 inches from end to end. However, the fish Francis caught was significantly bulkier, with a girth measuring 26.5 inches. The previous record fish was 22.75 inches around.

Francis told Fish and Game that he fishes for pike nearly every day. The fish, which are carnivorous and have a reputation for aggression, are common in North Idaho.