Lonepine’s Benson wins 2019 Fall Mack Days

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The 2019 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event concluded Nov. 10 with a total of 18,014 lake trout entries turned in by 157 anglers.

Mike Benson of Lonepine with 1,203 lake trout entries finished first in the top 10 Angler category. He finished with a 15-day average of 68.47. Second place was Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 1,029 and 63.13, third Scott Bombard of Missoula-1,009 and 58.6, fourth Larry Karper-Florence with 807 and 51.93, fifth Sam Cusker-Bigfork with 739 and 49.27, sixth Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 716 and 38.93, seventh Terry Krogstad-Kalispell with 642 and 34.93, Julie Perkins of Kalispell finished in eighth with 605 and 33.87, ninth Jack Kirkland of Missoula with 451 and 28.47, and 10th David McDaniel of Polson with 415 and 27.67.

Laurie Kreis of Huson moved into first in the Ladies Category with 123, second Bobbi Hereford of Missoula with 90, third Gina Schiff-Whitefish with 67, fourth Jeanee Mooney-Missoula with 49, and Kim Mack of Helena was fifth with 48.

Golden Angler (70-and-over) winner was John Gauci of Florence with 395 and second-place winner was Bob Christensen of Missoula with 207.

Youth Angler 17 and Under winners: Matthew Kreis-Huson-17, Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell-8, and a four-way tie of Tayven Moua-Missoula, John Ross Jr.- Stevensville, Mike Ross, and Justin Line-Missoula each had 3 entries.

12-and-over was won by HD of Arlee with 28, second Alison Putzler of Huson with 13, and Darien Moua of Missoula was third with 7.

Felix Gauci of Florence won both of the smallest fish awards with two lake trout (5).

There were no large lake trout over 36 inches and 20 pounds turned in.

Spirit of the Event Awards went to Marty Herak of Polson and Bob Hereford of Missoula.

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

It was the 18th Fall Event and the third highest in total since the events began in fall of 2002. The 2002 event had a total of 888 lake trout entries. Fall 2015 there was a total of 19,540 entries turned in by 195 anglers. Fall 2011 there were 18,357 entries by 240 anglers.

The $10,000 lake trout Marie Laveau evaded all anglers. The lovely fish that could have made someone rich will be given a different value from $500-$100 for the next event along with her eight counterparts that were worth $5,000 to $1,000.

New fish will be tagged with those dollar amounts before the next event begins in the spring. David McDaniel of Polson turned in a $200 tagged lake trout on Sunday. Marty Herak-Polson, Scott Bombard, Larry Ashwell, Kenny Garrett, Tom Moua, Bob Christensen, and Shannon Brownlee-Missoula, Larry Karper- Florence, Sam Sacchi and Debbie Sacchi-Thompson Falls, and Richard Kreis of Huson (2) all turned in $100 tagged lake trout. There were a total of 95 tagged lake trout turned in during the event.

The lottery drawing began at $1,000 and went to $400. There were 34 cash drawings given out to the anglers.

Event organizers thanked everyone who helped to make the event a success from the anglers who put in the time and effort to catch the fish to the staff working the fish and especially to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes for their commitment to the management of the lake for future generations.

2020 Spring Mack Days will begin March 20 and end May 17. The Spring Event will be nine weeks long. Check the website for updates as time moves closer to the event-www.mackdays.com.

Mack Days Fishing Events 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.

There were up to $150,000 in cash and prizes available to anglers fishing this event. The efforts to reduce the lake trout will continue for several years to have the effect needed to make a difference in the native fish populations.

It is a commitment made by the managers and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes that is important for the future of the fish and the history of the lake.

Mack Days is sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks.

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