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Benson takes the lead in Mack Days

 

March 29, 2018



Anglers are reeling in the lake trout on Flathead Lake during the 2018 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event. After two weekends of competitions, 9,528 lake trout have been entered in the competitions. That is about a thousand less than the same time last year. The 2017 spring total after the same number of days was at 10,577. Saturday was a blustery spring day for the anglers, with cold wind, rain, snow, rough water, and fish that quit biting.

The high-dollar fish (one tagged for $10,000, three at $5,000 and five at $1,000) have not yet been caught, but several anglers turned in $100 tagged fish, including Mike Benson of Lonepine, Brian Hodgson, Matt Guckenberg, Scott Mahlen, Ken Varga, Kolton Turner and Tim Iverson of Kalispell, Sam Cusker of Bigfork and Felix Gauci of Stevensville. The $10,000 tagged lake trout has not been caught-neither has the 3-$5,000 or 5-$1,000 tagged lake trout-they are still out there. There’s also over 6,000 with tags valued from $500-$100. The tagged fish are caught in all areas of the lake. The adipose fin on the tagged lake trout has been clipped-you cannot see the tags.

Last weekend also brought in an entry for largest fish, which must be more than 36 inches and 24 pounds to qualify. Guckenberg caught a 40.25-inch, 24.925-pound lake trout. Smallest lake trout entries are held by David McDaniel of Polson with a 146mm fish and a 182mm entry from Roger Olson Jr. of Butte.

The Top Ten Angler Category has Benson holding the lead with 564. Benson had a triple 100 fish weekend, catching the daily limit of 100 each day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Second is Steve Benson of Spokane Valley, Washington, with 508. Cusker is third with 442, Mahlen fourth with 441, Gauci fifth with 419, sixth is Scott Bombard of Missoula with 354, sevenths is Larry Karper of Florence with 336, Tyler Varga of Kalispell is eighth with 237, Kevn Varga is ninth with 224 and Bryan Long of Kalispell is tenth with 221.

Brandy Hilde of Bigfork continues to lead the ladies with 211. She is followed by Julie Woolley with 54, Julie Vacca (28), Connie Jones (16) and Julie Perkins (16).

Matt Guckenberg Jr. leads the 12 and under group with 100 entries, Tripp Bick has 13, Brodie Smith 8, and Emmett Ludahl 3.

Tyler Varga is first in the 17 & Under group with 237, Rylan Koch has 20, Abby Hodgson 13, Leah Banyai 10 and Aaron Lang 10.

The first of the three Bucket of Fish Days is Friday, March 30. Anglers pick out four of their largest fish under 30 inches to be weighed in a bucket. The heaviest bucket of fish wins $200.

Up to $225,000 in cash and prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event on May 13. Mack Days are sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The events are used to reduce non-native lake trout on Flathead Lake. Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. For more information, go to http://www.mackdays.com or call 406-270-3386. All it takes is one fish to be entered in the lottery style drawing on the last day of the event.

 

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