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Benson reels in sixth Mack Days win


November 21, 2019

The 2019 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event concluded November 10 with Mike Benson of Lonepine finishing first in the Flathead Lake contest for the sixth time. Benson tallied 1,203 lake trout entries and finished with a 15-day average of 68.47 fish.

Mack days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and are used to reduce the non-native lake trout and increase native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout in Flathead Lake. This year, 157 anglers turned in 18,014 lake trout entries, the third highest total since the events began in fall 2002.

Second place in the Top 10 category went to Felix Gauci of Stevensville (1,029 entries, 63.13 average), third was Scott Bombard of Missoula (1,009, 58.6), fourth was Larry Karper of Florence (807, 51.93), fifth went to Sam Cusker of Bigfork (739, 49.27), sixth was Larry Ashwell of Missoula (716, 3893), seventh was Terry Krogstad of Kalispell (642, 34.93), Julie Perkins of Kalispell finished eighth (605, 33.87), Jack Kirkland of Missoula was ninth (451, 28.47) and David McDaniel of Polson rounded out the top 10 (415, 27.67).

The $10,000 lake trout “Marie Laveau” evaded all anglers. David McDaniel of Polson turned in a $200 tagged lake trout on Sunday. Marty Herak of Polson, Bombard, Ashwell, Kenny Garrett, Tom Moua, Bob Christensen and Shannon Brownlee of Missoula, Karper, Sam Sacchi and Debbie Sacchi of Thompson Falls and Richard Kreis of Huson all turned in $100 tagged lake trout. There were 95 tagged lake trout turned in during the event.

Laurie Kreis of Huson moved as in the Ladies Category with 123, Golden Angler (70 and over) winner was John Gauci of Florence with 395 and Matthew Kreis fo Huson won the youth 17 and under category. HD of Arlee won the 12 and under category with 28 entries

Heaviest lake trout under 30 inches on the last day were turned in by Debbie Sacchi of Thompson Falls (5.14 pounds) and Bobbi Hereford (5.7 pounds).

The 2020 Spring Mack Days will begin on March 20 and end on May 17. For more information and updates, go to


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