Mack Days anglers land a wild kitty

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BOB AND Bobbi Hereford and their son, Brett, were fishing Sunday on Flathead Lake in the Mack Days Tournament when they saw a young bobcat struggling in the water. They netted it and released it safely on shore. (Photo courtesy Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribe)

There’s little question that anglers on Flathead Lake have landed some interesting things that weren’t fish — but a bobcat?

According to information from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Bob and Bobbi Hereford of Missoula were on the water Sunday fishing in the 2019 Mack Days Tournament when they saw something struggling in the water quite a ways from shore.

Further investigating the strange sight, they realized it was a bobcat who seemed disoriented and very tired. They netted the small cat and took it to shore.

Their son Brett released the cat very carefully while the rest of the family watched from a distance.

The young bobcat was last seen by anglers in a different boat and it was walking along the shore out by the Narrows and moving like it knew where it was going.

It was undoubtedly an experience the Hereford family won’t soon forget.

For the rest of the tournament, 103 anglers, out of 416 entered, have turned in a total of 6,289 lake trout entries.

The $10,000 tagged lady lake trout Marie Laveau has not been caught. There are 3-$5000, 5-$$1,000

and over 9000 tagged lake trout with values from $500 to $100.

There were several $100 tagged fish caught during the third week. Paul Gyles-Stevensvile, Bill Violette, Jeanee Mooney, Egil Estvold, Marty Noyd, Jackie Wood, and Bob Christensen of Missoula, Sam Sacchi-Thompson Falls, Paul Soukup-Polson, Julie Perkins-Kalispell, and Doug McGill-Big Arm each had $100 tags.

The winds of Flathead Lake were moving across the lake most of the weekend making fishing difficult.

Anglers struggled to keep on their fishing spots with many having to move to calmer sheltered waters

or just come in off the rocking lake.

Friday was the calmest day of the weekend with a total of 966 entries. Saturday was breezy with 545 lake trout entered and Sunday’s total was 695. The total of 6,289 compares with 5,344 for the three weeks in 2018.

Felix Gauci of Stevensville and Larry Karper of Florence both turned in perfect 100 limits on Friday. Gauci had two previous 100s during the weekday fishing.

Weekday fishing (Tuesday-Thursday) counts for tagged fish, 8-$50 drawings, and bonus totals at the end of the event.

Mike Benson of Lonepine is leading the anglers with a total of 549, turning in 85 Friday, 45 Saturday, and 58 Sunday. Gauci was second with 405, incuding 100 Friday, 48 Saturday, and 36 Sunday. Scott Bombard of Missoula is third with 392-63, 46, and 61.

Sam Cusker of Bigfork is fourth with 316-73, 36, and 47. Larry Karper, of Florence, is fifth with 302-100, 16, and 42. Larry Ashwell, of Missoula, is sixth with 293-78, 29, and 31.

In seventh is Terry Karper of Kalispell with totals of 281-18, 40, and 40, Julie Perkins of Kalispell

is eighth with 250-18, 25, and 36. Jack Kirkland is ninth with 213-31, 16, and 24, and Bob Stewart is 10th with 169-36, 5, and 0.

Lady angler Julie Perkins has 250, Laurie Kreis of Huson is second with 45, Gina Schiff of Whitefish is third with 29, Kim McMillie of Polson is fourth with 26, and Lisa Cloo of Clinton has 9 and is fifth.

Darien Moua of Missoula is leading in the 12-and-under group with 5 and HD of Arlee has 3. Matt

Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell has 8 in the 13-17 category.

Larry Karper leads the 70-and-over with 302, Larry Ashwell is second with 293, John Gauci of Florence is third wit 143 entries, in fourth is Mike Cosby of Thompson Falls with 51, and in fifth is Bob Christensen of Missoula with 37.

Weekend drawings (5-$100) were won by Randy Collins-Kalispell, Brad Ivanoff-Arlee, Jack Kirkland-

Missoula, Mike Benson, and Terry Krogstad.

Larry Ashwell turned in a 7-inch lake trout for the smallest lake trout entry so far. The other spot is

held by Bob Stewart with a 7.2-inch lake trout. No large lake trout entry has been entered. Mark

McMillin had one that was close at 18.25 pounds and 36.5 inches.

The large lake trout entry has to be over 36 inches and 20 pounds. Fall Mack Days continues until Nov. 10.

There is up to $150,000 in cash and prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event

Nov. 10. Anglers turn in lake trout entries and receive one ticket for each fish to be entered in the drawing. There are five weeks left in the event. Tickets are put into a lottery drawing that begins at $1,000 and goes to $400.

All it takes is one fish to be entered. The event is used as a tool to reduce the numbers of the non-native lake trout and increase the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout in Flathead Lake.

For more information, go to or call 406-270-3386.

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