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Big fish caught at 2014 Spring Mack Days

Danner Shima's lake trout entry is the largest so far, measuring 24 lbs. and 40 inches long. (courtesy photo) Danner Shima's lake trout entry is the largest so far, measuring 24 lbs. and 40 inches long. (courtesy photo)

POLSON ó Almost half way through the 34 day 2014 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event there is a large fish entry. Fourteen year old Danner Shima of Kalispell was fishing with his brother Austin and Grandfather Mike Shima of Polson on Friday. Danner caught a fish and immediately knew it was a big one. Dannerís line began screaming as the big fish went to the bottom of the lake and Austin and Mike began giving advice. Austin told Danner this one is it and is going to be a winner. It took Danner 45 minutes to get the big guy in. They were pretty excited when they realized how large the lake trout actually was. The Shimaís put the big fish in a large cooler with water and headed in to enter it. A large lake trout entry has to be alive to be entered in the event. The large lake trout made the qualifying weight of 24lbs exactly and measured in at 40 inches. Danner and his brother took the big fish down to the shore and released it back into the water making sure it swam away into deeper water. Big fish like the one Danner caught are slow growing and can reach 30-40 years of age.

The large fish category closes on May 17. Winner of the large fish category receives $500. The last winner of a large fish was Dannerís father who was working on Friday and didnít get to see the action but was getting reports by telephone. Ryan Shima turned in a 24.5lb 42.5 inch lake trout in the 2012 Spring Event.

Sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks the Mack Days Fishing Event has Up to $150,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Mack Days are used as a tool to slowly reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Remember all it takes is one fish to win. Entries are taken until the last day of the event.

Weekend weather was once again a mixture of sun, snow, rain, and freezing temperatures. Friday was the best day of the weekend for fishing with a total of 1,034 entries. Saturday wind drove almost all anglers into shore to wait out a storm that brought huge waves with the strong wind gusts. Total fish count for Saturday was 405. Sunday morning temps caused boats to ice over as the anglers were going out in the choppy waters. Spray froze onto boats and equipment making the bottom of the boat like ice rinks. Equipment and lines froze solid. Several boats still had ice when coming back in in the evening. Sundays total came to 850.

Jason Mahlen of Kalispell increased his numbers to 777 with entries over the weekend of 91, 3, and 39. Scott Bombard of Missoula moved to second with 635 and weekend numbers of 45, 27,and 60. Mike Benson of Lonepine-583-38 and 34 for the weekend, Kevin Burns-Kalispell has 576 with weekend days of 41,43,and 43 and Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 526 and 30,27, and 57. Ladies leader is Julie Vacca of Florence. The 70 and Over category has another Florence angler leading-Larry Karper has entered 275 lake trout. Conn Hodgson of Kalispell is second with 134, and Roger Smart third with 54. The 10 and under group is led by Matthew Guckenberg of Kalispell with 79. There are some very strong anglers in the 13-17 group. Danner Shima is in 1st with 271, 2nd Garett Vaughan of Charlo with 198, 3rd-Roger Guillory of Kalispell with 172, 4th Kobe Cox of Charlo with 119, and 5th Keaten Turner of Kalispell with 92.

There are over 5,000 tagged lake trout with values from $100 to $10,000. You cannot see the tags they are imbedded into the fish. They have a fin clip and are scanned when brought in for entry. Craig Morigeau-Polson, Stan Ross, Nick Bennett, Bob Stewart, and Ryan Shima, -Kalispell, Brandon Gilleard-Charlo, Danny Smith-Hot Springs, and Scott Bombard-Missoula turned in $100 tagged lake trout and Bryan Long of Columbia Falls turned in a $200 tagged fish.

Mack Days continues until May 18. Go to www.mackdays.com for information about the event.

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