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Pike’s eyes were bigger than its stomach in Northland lake

Jessica Collman of Grand Marais, Minn., holds a northern pike that had apparently died trying to ingest a 3-pound sucker at Saganaga Lake north of Grand Marais. Looking on is Mark Welinski of Duluth, Minn. The fish was spotted by Jessica's mother, Julie Collman, of Grand Marais. Photo by Julie Collman

As Julie Collman tells it, this northern pike literally bit off more than it could chew.

Collman, of Grand Marais, was returning from fishing on Saganaga Lake with her daughter, Jessica, and friend Mark Welinski of Duluth last Friday.

They were motoring down the Sag Corridor toward the public landing when Collman saw a gull on the water — and something else.

“I saw some fins sticking up,” said Collman, who’s been fishing Saganaga since 1991. “Out of curiosity, I slowed down, turned around and went to look. What we saw was mind-boggling.”

What they saw was a 37-inch-long northern pike lying dead in the water with about a 3-pound sucker stuck headfirst in its jaws. The pike apparently had choked while trying to ingest the fish.

“I was like, ‘Holy cow!’ ” Collman said.

She pulled the northern pike into the boat and measured it. Only the back third of the sucker was protruding from the jaws of the pike. The head had already entered the pike’s stomach. It wasn’t clear whether the sucker had been alive when the northern tried to eat it, Collman said.

“I couldn’t pull it out or push it in,” Collman said.

Collman has the two fish — the sucker still stuck in the pike — in her freezer, she said. She plans to have the pair mounted as they were found.

Article written by Sam Cook of the Forum News Service

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