Mack Days off to a roaring start
By Hookemharry

Posted: October 31, 2002

The 2002 Fall Mack days got off to a roaring start last Saturday, despite beginning just a day before the Montana general deer and elk opener.

Nearly 100 anglers had already entered the 15-day tourney, which will conclude Nov. 9.

Wayne Knudson and I helped kick off the day with a on-location broadcast of our Montana Outdoor Radio show. We were joined by a number of local anglers on board KERR Radio’s 40-foot “Radio Wave” houseboat.

In terms of luxury, this is the way to fish. The boat was very accommodating to its passengers, but Dick Zimmer, of Pablo, our local expert from Zimmer’s Tackle had a hard time anchoring over the spots on the lake he felt were holding most of the lake trout.

We fished from 10 a.m. until about 1:30 p.m. with Zimmer catching the only mack of the day and it was a small one.

If you want to see some photos of our trip log on to

Anglers can still enter the Mack Days tourney. Tickets are available at that web site or you can stop into the marina or Ronan Sports and Western in Ronan.

I don’t know how many times I have driven past the big boat that sits on the right side of the road just before you enter Polson, but I know I never gave it a second thought until last Friday afternoon.

Knudson and I were driving up Highway 93 to meet the KERR folks and decided to stop in and check out the Miracle of America Museum, just south of Polson.

As it turns out the boat is one of hundreds of items on display for the public to take a look at. We were greeted by Joanne Mangels, who along with her husband Gil, founded the museum.

She told us that Gil was in the machine shop they own and he would join us in the fishing tackle part of the museum. Once there we found at least 20 outboard motors about 60 years old on display — some propped up on a stand and others simply laying on the floor. There was also a old Lee-Craft wooden boat that was manufactured on the north end of the lake about 60 years ago.

There was even a 1954 issue of Sports Illustrated with a picture of Mallard Green Head on the front cover. I don’t think they produced a swim suit issue back in those days.

After meeting Gil and getting the background of the museum first hand, we headed out to look at the rest of place. What we found was just short of amazing to us.

The following is just a small list of items that you will encounter when you visit the museum:

A rare 1943-snow toboggan powered by an Indian motorcycle engine and numerous other tools and toys for winter use. An early day cutter sleigh with buffalo robe. An Allis-Chalmers Snow Tractor WW II rescue vehicle for arctic use. The museum houses a great collection of motorcycles from the 1912 Harley Davidson “Silent Gray Fellow” to 1920 opposed twin and 1 and 1000 Haley Davidson Shaft-Drive WW II to the 1954 Harley Davidson Pan-Head with sidecar “50th Anniversary Model. Hunters will see a great antique collection of rifles and shotguns, too.

I would recommend that you stop the next time you are in the area. The museum is open year-round and the price of admission is a bargain at $3 for adults and $1 for kids. Last year the museum had over 14,000 visitors.

Steelhead fishing on the Clearwater and Snake rivers is excellent, according to Stu Kestner.

Many of the anglers and guides are predicting this year will be a a great one for steelhead in Idaho. The water level is low so be careful with larger boats. Fishing will continue to improve into November.