Local anglers looking to hook the big one should consider fishing Bower Ponds.
Dave Sutherland of Innisfail wrestled in a huge northern pike — nine kg and one-metre long (20 pounds and 43 inches) — on June 3 at about 4:30 p.m.
“Pretty much as soon as I cast it out and as soon as it hit the water, he hit it like a ton of bricks. I fought him for about 15 minutes,” said the avid angler, who attracted a crowd during his struggle at the pond.
“I ended up wading into the water up to my knees to grab him because I had no net. I wasn’t letting him get away,” he said with a laugh.
The biggest fish he has ever caught was a 85-kg (185 pound) halibut in British Columbia. But Sutherland, 31, said this pike was even more fun because it was so unexpected. His fishing rod only had a 3.6-kg (eight-pound) line with no steel leader to keep pike from biting through the line.
“That’s pretty much a fish of a lifetime that one, especially out of a pond like that.”
“I got really lucky,” he said about the fish that will be stuffed and mounted.
It was the fourth time he’s fished at the pond this season. Until last week, he’s only pulled out a few small pike.
Sutherland, who has been fishing since he was three years old, said he’ll go after any kind of fish, but likes the fight of a big, mean pike.
“They’re a very vicious fish. They’ll eat just about anything you throw in front of them.”
He plans to return to Bower Ponds, where he suspects there is another big pike waiting for a patient angler.
Not many anglers still fish at Bower Ponds, because Alberta Sustainable Resource Development no longer stocks it with rainbow trout, he said.
Stocking stopped after a flood in 2005 deposited more fish species in the pond that are not friendly to trout — like pike.