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Close, but no cigar at the 2014 Spring Mack Days

Austin Shima displays his impressive lake trout catch last weekend during the 2014 Spring Mack Days. (courtesy photos) Austin Shima displays his impressive lake trout catch last weekend during the 2014 Spring Mack Days. (courtesy photos)

POLSON — The bucket almost wasn’t big enough for the four fish entries of Bob Christensen of Missoula. Friday March 28 was the first of the three-day competition for the largest Bucket of Fish during 2014 Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake. Anglers mark or pick out what they believe is the four heaviest fish to be put in a bucket and have them weighed. Coming in at 28 lbs., 13 ozs (7 lb. 3 oz. average per fish), Christensen easily won the $200 prize and 10 points. The bucket lake trout have to measure in under 30 inches to qualify-that is the requirement for any of the lake trout that get entered for tickets unless it is an entry for the largest fish which has to measure over 36 inches and weigh over 24 lbs. There have been no large fish entries. One lake trout of the winning bucket fish measured in at 29 3/4”- good day to catch one of that size. Second place and winning only points (8) went to Russ Hadley of Kalispell with another heavy weight of 23 lbs., 9 oz. and third place (6 points) went to the team of Dave Hobeck and T.J. Haynes of Arlee with bucket weight of 19 lbs., 1 oz. Team Bryan Long and Darren Borgen of Columbia Falls came in fourth (4 points) with 18 lbs. 11 oz. and fifth place went to Kevin Burns of Kalispell with 16 lbs. 7 oz. (2 points). The next Bucket of Fish Day will be April 12 Saturday and the third day is Sunday May 11. Top winner wins $200 on each of those days. Overall winners 1st-3rd at the end of the three specific days will be decided by highest number of points. A tie would be broken by total weight. First place overall wins $300, 2nd $200 and third $100.

Danner Shima displays his impressive lake trout catch last weekend during the 2014 Spring Mack Days. (courtesy photos) Danner Shima displays his impressive lake trout catch last weekend during the 2014 Spring Mack Days. (courtesy photos)

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sponsor the 34 day event with Up to $150,000 in Cash and Prizes awarded at the conclusion of the event which is also sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Slowly reducing non-native lake trout and seeing an increase in the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout which once were the dominant fish of Flathead Lake is the goal of the fishing events. Entry in the fishing event is free and continues to be taken until the last day of the event.

Anglers have turned in a total of 7,589 lake trout entries in the first nine days of the event. Fridays total was 848, Saturday-678, and Sunday-959. Stormy spring weather that included wind, rain, snow, and sleet, swept across the water hampering the fishermen and ladies most of the weekend.

Jason Mahlen of Kalispell leads the top 10 anglers with a total of 481, 2nd-Scott Bombard-Missoula with 403, 3rd-Mike Benson-Lonepine-388, 4th-Kevin Burns-Kalispell-346, 5th-Terry Krogstad-Kalispell-338, 6th-Steven Benson-Four Lakes, WA.-304, 7th-Jerry Benson-Plains-299, 8th-Robert Turner-Kalispell-244, 9th-Larry Karper-Florence-217, and 10th-Danny Smith-Hot Springs-200.

Mike Shima displays his impressive lake trout catch last weekend during the 2014 Spring Mack Days. (courtesy photos) Mike Shima displays his impressive lake trout catch last weekend during the 2014 Spring Mack Days. (courtesy photos)

Other category leaders: Julie Vacca-Florence-Ladies-39 and 2nd-Connie Jones-Kalispell with 7. Youth 13-17 leader is Danner Shima-Kalispell-117, Garett Vaughan-Charlo-94, Roger Guillory-Kalispell-75, Kobe Cox-Charlo-65, and Keaton Turner-Kalispell-47. The 12 & under category leader is Matthew Guckenberg of Kalispell with 50 and Abby Hodgson-Kalispell comes in second. Over 70 leader is Larry Karper with 217. Second is Conn Hodgson of Kalispell with 68 and third is Roger Smart of Ronan with 36.

Tagged fish with values of $100 were turned in by Conn Hodgson, Steven Benson X 3, Scott Bombard, Kevin Guillory, Bob Turner X 2, Jerry Devinney and Bret Bundrick of Kalispell, Danner Shima, Bryan Long, and Weston Turner-Kalispell. The high dollar $10,000 lake trout along with two-$5,000, and five-$1,000 fish are still out there along with over 5,000 with values from $100-$500.

Go to www.mackdays.com for more information or telephone 406-883-2888, ext. 7294.

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