Whitefish angler reels in $5,000 fish at Mack Days

2013-10-30T05:30:00Z 2013-11-11T17:21:34Z Whitefish angler reels in $5,000 fish at Mack Days missoulian.com
October 30, 2013 5:30 am  • 

POLSON – Two friends fishing from the same boat during Fall Mack Days on Saturday caught tagged fish, meaning each had won some cash.

When they turned them in, Phil Meredith, who is in sixth place at the halfway point of the tournament, learned he had won $100.

Roger Schiff’s was worth a bit more.

Schiff, of Whitefish, became the first angler ever to catch a $5,000 lake trout during Mack Days.

The tourneys begin each spring and fall with one fish tagged for a worth of $10,000, and five worth $5,000, but the odds of landing one of the high-dollar mackinaw are long. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes estimate the lake trout population in Flathead Lake – which they want to reduce to help native species survive – at 1.35 million.

Ten more lake trout are tagged for $1,000 values, and 4,000 are tagged for prizes between $100 and $500.

“He couldn’t believe it,” said Cindy Benson, who helps run Mack Days for the tribes. “He was stunned. Sometimes people think we’re faking it” because no one has ever caught one of the big-money fish, “so we’re really happy one finally came in.”

It was the first weekend Schiff, who has entered previous Mack Days events, had fished in the tournament this fall.

His $5,000 lake trout, caught near Bird Island, was one of 17 he landed Saturday.

***

Mike Benson of Lonepine continues to lead the tournament.

He’s caught 585 lake trout, and leads Roger Dilts of Polson in the totals by 46 fish.

Eventually, the championship and top 10 will be determined by anglers’ 15 best days on the water out of a possible 25. The rule allows participants to take days off during the tournament, which started Oct. 4 and goes through Nov. 17, and still compete for the title.

Scott Bombard of Missoula is in third place at 503, followed by Tim Mooney of Missoula (455), Terry Krogstad of Kalispell (442), Meredith (414), Steven Benson of Four Lakes, Wash. (405), Danny Smith of Hot Springs (334), Max Martz of Corvallis (321) and Larry Ashwell of Missoula (251).

Jeanee Mooney of Missoula is first in the women’s division at 158, followed by Deana Knipe of Polson at 92.

***

The day after Schiff, who Cindy Benson said is a deputy with the Flathead County Sheriff’s Department, caught his $5,000 lake trout, high winds cut into this fall’s harvest.

Benson said many anglers opted not to fish at all Sunday because of the winds forecast, and most others got off the water before it got bad. One angler who didn’t return in time spent the night on Bird Island waiting out the storm, which uprooted or snapped off trees as old as 300 years along Flathead’s east shore.

After registering catches of 784 on Friday and 595 on Saturday, Sunday’s total dipped to 263.

Total harvest this fall is at 8,449, still almost 2,000 lake trout ahead of last year’s total at this point, but 753 shy of the 2011 numbers.

Anglers can register for Mack Days at any point during its run, at mackdays.com. Tournament officials like to point out it only takes one fish to win.

They’re referring to the fact that each fish turned in gets an angler’s named entered in a lottery-style drawing for thousands of dollars in cash awards when the event wraps up on Nov. 17.

But as Roger Schiff figured out, a single lake trout can also become a $5,000 surprise.

The other four $5,000 fish, and one worth $10,000, are still in the lake.

Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or by email at [email protected]

(1) Comments

  1. johnny Dollar
    Report Abuse
    johnny Dollar - October 30, 2013 12:18 am
    doesn't look like a $5000 fish......doesn't look like much at all.
Missoulian Civil Dialogue Policy

Civil Dialogue Policy for Commenting on Missoulian.com

We provide this community forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the news of the day. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Comments can only be submitted by registered users. By posting comments on our site, you are agreeing to the following terms:

Commentary and photos submitted to the Missoulian (Missoulian.com) may be published or distributed in print, electronically or other forms. Opinions expressed in Missoulian.com's comments reflect the opinions of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of the Missoulian or its parent company. See the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy for more information.

Our guidelines prohibit the solicitation of products or services, the impersonation of another site user, threatening or harassing postings and the use of vulgar, abusive, obscene or sexually oriented language, defamatory or illegal material. You may not post content that degrades others on the basis of gender, race, class, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or other classification. It's fine to criticize ideas, but ad hominem attacks on other site users are prohibited. Users who violate those standards may lose their privileges on missoulian.com.

You may not post copyrighted material from another publication. (Link to it instead, using a headline or very brief excerpt.)

No short policy such as this can spell out all possible instances of material or behavior that we might deem to be a violation of our publishing standards, and we reserve the right to remove any material posted to the site.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Copyright 2013 missoulian.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Veterans Day Ceremony 2013

The annual Veterans Day Ceremony took place Monday morning on the courthouse lawn bringing a number of spea…

Traditional Games Clinic

Traditional Games Clinic

The International Traditional Games Society holds a clinic in Browning, Mont., to train and …

Team Up Montana Cancer Walk

Team Up Montana Cancer Walk

Team Up Montana cancer survivors and supporters march around the UM campus.

Fall Colors in Missoula

Fall Colors in Missoula

The changing of the seasons in Missoula

Motorcycle chased down Highway 200 by elk

Motorcycle chased down Highway 200 by elk

On Sunday, October 3rd, my boyfriend Glen and I decided to take a ride from Missoula, MT to …

Missoula enforces cellphone ban

Missoula enforces cellphone ban

Police write 1,241 tickets from Feb. to Oct. 2013 to drivers using cellphones.

Wyoming Bison vs. Government Shutdown

Wyoming Bison vs. Government Shutdown

This barricade was sitting on a turn out next to the Gros Ventre Road about a mile north of …

Team Up Montana: Cristy Grayson

Team Up Montana: Cristy Grayson

Cristy Grayson talks about her battle against cancer and the things that keep her going every day.

University of Montana Homecoming Parade 2013

University of Montana Homecoming Parade 2013

Missoula Montana's 2013 University of Montana Homecoming Parade

Navy Seals Jump into Washington Grizzly Stadium

Navy Seals Jump into Washington Grizzly Stadium

Helmet cam view of the Navy Seals parachuting into Washington-Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, M…

Deals & Offers

Search our events calendar