Young Craig fisherman hopes to hook ‘monster’ pike — again |

Young Craig fisherman hopes to hook ‘monster’ pike — again

Josh Turner displays a 40-inch northern pike he caught Sept. 30 at Elkhead Reservoir. Turner released the fish but is hoping to catch it again, measure its girth and recreate it in a mount.
Courtesy Photo

CRAIG — Captain Ahab had his white whale, but one Craig teenager has his own creature of the deep he’s hoping to see again, though he probably won’t be using the harpoon that the antagonist of “Moby Dick” did.

Josh Turner recently had the catch of a lifetime when, on Sept. 30, he hooked a pike at Elkhead Reservoir he could only describe as “a monster.”

It was nearing sunset when Turner and friend Grant Wade, both seniors at Moffat County High School, made their way to the body of water and quickly got their lines in for a quick angling session.

Turner said it was all of 20 seconds after he set up his gear that he saw something unexpected.

“My whole pole bent over at what looked like almost a full 90 degrees, and my drag started screaming,” he said.

Turner worked on reeling in his catch for several minutes, though it took considerable effort. He remembered thinking that his new lure, a Headbanger shad he had ordered online, might be too big for most fish in the lake, but he was nonetheless glad he got his money’s worth.

After measuring and weighing the northern pike — 40 inches, 14 pounds — Turner sent it back into the water still wriggling.

While the fish was a long way from a record catch in weight — the world record for the species, according to International Game Fish Association, is 56 pounds, one ounce, caught in Germany — its above-average dimensions are less than one foot from the Colorado record, a 48-incher caught by Dennis Bruce at Navajo Lake, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

In terms of weight, CPW shows the biggest northern pike recorded in the state — 30 pounds, 11 ounces and 46.5 inches — was reeled in by Tim Bone in 2006 at Northwest Colorado’s Stagecoach Reservoir.

While he’s a believer of the catch and release philosophy, Turner still wanted more than a post on Instagram to commemorate and has since been back to Elkhead to try and hook the same fish to better measure its girth for an artificial mount.

He said he has come close to catching what he believes is the same pike, though it has continued to elude him, causing him to lose two lures and a grip and break a pole in the process.

Even if he never again looks the fish in the eyes, Turner said he doesn’t regret his initial decision.

“I didn’t want to keep that fish, because, if it’s survived that long in that lake, it must be doing something right,” he said. “I got the privilege to catch it, take some pictures and release it back into its kingdom.”

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