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Winds slow down Mack Days anglers

Nearly 12,000 lake trout have been entered through four weekends of the 11-week 2010 Spring Mack Days.

Pablo’s Stephen Naethe, 17, has caught 530 of those mackinaw and leads all anglers. Naethe has also caught the largest of the entries, pulling in a monster weighing just more than 30 pounds.

Columbia Falls’ Steven Benson and Arlee’s Charles Forgey were the only two anglers to reach the 50-fish limit on a 994-fish day Friday. Benson (411) sits in second and Forgey (353) is in third. Hot Springs’ Mike Benson (348) and Don Peters (312) round out the top five.

With the winds whipping up the lake Saturday, only 235 fish were turned in. Easter Sunday was a little calmer and 774 fish were turned in, with Naethe and David McDaniels turning in the 50-fish limit.

The 2,003 fish turned in the fourth weekend was the least of the four weekends.

Six lucky anglers found their equivalent of an Easter egg Sunday, reeling in a tagged fish. Scott Bombard and Charlo’s Tyson Cottet caught tagged fish worth $200. Charlo’s Brady Weible, the second-placed youth angler, Justin Shockley, Jason Kowalski and Charlo’s Tyson Atkinson all caught $100 tagged fish.

Nicole Peters has a commanding 153-fish lead in the women’s division and also leads the smallest fish category with a 221 millimeter (8.8 inches).

Mack Days is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks as part of the Flathead Lake Co-Management Plan to balance the fishery of Flathead Lake by slowly reducing non-native lake trout and increasing numbers of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Anglers are competing for $100,000 in cash and prizes to be given away at the conclusion of the event.

As their totals go up anglers receive more in bonus amounts at the end of the event but all it takes is one ticket in the drawing to win one of the cash prizes that will be drawn for. The cash prizes begin at $1,000 and go to $200. There are several ways to win – smallest fish, largest fish, most fish. The event ends May 23 with a fish fry and the awards.

Check the Web site at www.mackdays.com for more information on entries, totals, and anglers standings. For questions or comments call 883-2888, ext. 7294.

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