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Wednesday, April 07, 2010


The Milwaukee Journal of May 26th 1983:


Wilmington, Ill The ‘Millrace Monster’, a mysterious canal dweller blamed for devouring ducks, has been caught with a hook and line. Some residents thought they had their own Loch Ness monster after two people reported seeing ducks snatched from below the surface of the Millrace, a canal off the Kankakee River where a mill wheel once turned.

Arnold Chipusa of the Illinois Department of Conservation said the so-called ‘monster’ could be a snapping turtle, but more likely was a huge northern pike. And then angler Jim Pecoraro of Chicago landed such a fish, a 41-inch specimen weighing 20 pounds, 2 ounces. The largest pike ever caught in the state was 22 pounds, 12 ounces.

On February 21st 1984 The Argus Press stated: ‘Monster Fish’ Makes Life Rough For Migrating Fowl – Kankakee, Ill :- A monster fish with a taste for duck is making life rough for migrating fowl seeking a place to rest on the Kankakee River near here, fishermen say.

Several fishermen told bait shop owner Howard Curtis that a large northern pike was “taking swipes” at ducks on the water.

“This fellow, a good customer of mine, came in yesterday and he says, ‘Howard, I couldn’t tell what kind of fish he was, but he was really after them ducks’, said Curtis.

Later, an angler said he saw a duck-chasing fish jump out of the water, and he thought it was a northern pike, according to Curtis.

“I told him I was going to work on some duck decoys with a chain and big hooks and give it a try myself”, Curtis said.

Many fishermen think the big fish might be a cousin of an upstream northern, dubbed the ‘Mill Race Monster’, which lurked in Kankakee River holes near Wilmington last spring. That fish was credited with plucking several ducks off the surface of the Mill Race pond last April.

Chicagoan Jim Pecoraro may have caught the monster on April 23, when he bagged a 41-inch, 22-pound, 2-ounce northern pike there, using a 6-inch fist for bait. Ducks are now being harassed upstream and some folks think the monster itself – not a relative – may be the culprit.

“You think maybe he jumped the dam and came this way ?”, Curtis asked jokingly.

Kankakee may have to prepare for the notoriety of another monster fish story in the region. The tale of the Mill Race Monster appeared in newspapers and on broadcast stations all over the country. Two major national sportsman’s magazines also carried the story. Soon after the story got out, Wilmington business owners began getting calls and letters of inquiry from across the continent.

“They got a lot of publicity out of that big northern in Wilmington”, said Curtis.

Curtis said he might have to stock up on big, fat minnows, a northern’ favourite food.

1 comment:

Paddy said...

To give some balance -

British Record Pike - 46lb13oz
USA Record Pike - 46lb2oz
Largest Pike Recorded (Netted in Germany in 1983) - 30.5Kg (67.1lb)