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Ice fisher's patience and skill rewarded with colossal catch on Hayden Lake

Hayden Lake is just one spot in North Idaho that's popular for ice fishing in the winter.
Credit: Idaho Fish and Game
Northern pike catch on Hayden Lake

HAYDEN, Idaho — One ice fisherman's patience and skill during a day spent on Hayden Lake rewarded him with the largest pike he's ever caught.

Zach Nunemacher and a few other avid anglers were wrapping up their day of ice fishing on Feb. 12 when one of their flags popped up, according to a press release from Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG). Nunemacher then proceeded to reel in a 31-pound, 46.5-inch northern pike. While the fish didn't break Idaho's current record, it's still an impressive catch.

"The fish made several good runs, which made Zach realize the power and size of the fish he had hooked. Once the fish reached the ice hole he knew it was a big fish. Our first attempt to get the fish on ice failed and the fish swam off for another run," Nunemacher's dad, Mike, said about the experience.

"Zach patiently brought the fish back to the ice hole for the second time and we landed the fish. We high-fived and enjoyed the moment. What a perfect day on the ice," he continued. 

IDFG reminded people to be careful when venturing out on the ice during late winter. Conditions can change quickly, so it's important to check them before an excursion. 

Fernan Lake near Coeur d'Alene, Cocolalla Lake south of Sandpoint, and Upper Twin Lake and Lower Twin Lake in Kootenai County are other popular spots for ice fishing in North Idaho.

More information about ice fishing, including tips and rules, is available on the IDFG website.