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Benson wraps up Mack Days championship

Hot Springs angler Mike Benson has taken all the suspense out of the 2010 Fall Mack Days.

With only two days of fishing left to determine the 2010 Fall Mack Days top angler, Mike Benson’s best 12-day average is 47.75 fish. His closest competitor is Scott Bombard, who’s averaged 37.25. He is followed by Stephen Naethe (36.58) and David McDaniels (35.33).

The final day of the seven-weekend event is Sunday and is a separate day than the rest of the tournament with prizes given for the heaviest fish under 30 inches and drawings for cash prizes. Fish caught on Sunday will still go toward the anglers total bonus amounts. There will be a fish fry and awards at 4 p.m. at the Blue Bay Campground

Though his run as Mack Days’ top angler will end, Naethe still leads the youth division with 487 mackinaw. He is followed by Polson’s Eric Sams (171), Dalton Meredith (90). Charlo Garett Vaughan leads the 12 and under division with 41 fish so far. Benton Adams follows with 20.

Nicole Peters has a 40-fish lead in the lady angler division. Peters has caught 168 fish through six weekends. She is followed by Susan Albrecht (128), Cindy Upwell (102) and Debbie Martz (87).

A total of 2,733 fish were turned in last weekend, Benson, Wes Shockley, Naethe, Terry Krogstad and Max Martz all caught the 50-fish limit. A total of 11,688 lake trout have been caught, which is 700 more than the 2009 fall event.

Benson, Phil Meredith, Max Martz, Jerry Devinney, Krogstad, Tyson Cottet and Jeanee Mooney each caught a tagged fish worth $100, with Martz catching two of them. There were more the 2,000 lake trout with tags with values ranging from $100-$500 were released in the lake the week before the event. A lake trout worth $5,000 is still swimming in the lake and there are five worth $1,000 on the loose.

More than $100,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the hard working anglers at the end of the event which is used by a tool by fisheries managers to bring a balance to the fishery of the lake by increasing numbers of native westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout and slowly decreasing the numbers of the non-native lake trout. 

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