A day ice fishing pays off with a trophy ‘gator’

Mark Kawa caught a big northern pike (“gator”) at Mazonia on his only day ice fishing this season to earn Fish of the Week.

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Mark Kawa with his big northern pike caught ice fishing at Mazonia.

Mark Kawa with his big northern pike caught ice fishing at Mazonia.

Provided photo

On his only day ice fishing this season on Saturday, Mark Kawa caught 37.25-inch northern pike (“gator”) from Mazonia.

“Came on a large shiner setup on a Finicky Fooler,” he emailed. “Ice was 3.5 to 4.5 inches, but some areas much thinner due to geese. One day on the ice and a trophy pike for Illinois, can’t beat it! Couldn’t have done it without my buddy [Mark “Ike” Eichelkraut] and his daughter Jilly.”

Mazonia is a pike spot. The Illinois-record (26 pounds, 15 ounces) was caught Nov. 9, 1989, by Walter Klenzak from a Kankakee County strip pit, now called Monster Lake at Mazonia South.

FOTW, the celebration of big fish and their stories (the stories matter, as this one shows) around Chicago fishing, runs Wednesdays in the paper Sun-Times. The online posting here at chicago.suntimes.com/outdoors goes up at varied days of the week, depending on what is going on in the wide world of the outdoors.

To make submissions, email (BowmanOutside@gmail.comor contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

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