The Great Montana Mack Attack came off as billed by derby organizer Gene Fincher. It was a huge success based on the number of anglers that competed, nearly 800.
The weather on Flathead Lake was smoky and windy early in the morning last Saturday. In the afternoon, the smoke stayed but the wind died down.
The lake trout fishing was a little tougher than most anglers would have preferred, but the Lake Superior whitefish was nothing short of spectacular. In fact, the first day according to Fincher, anglers entered nearly two tons of whitefish.
You read that correctly, that’s 4,000 pounds of whitefish in one day!
Most of them were donated to the local Veterans Food Bank so you know they will be put to good use.
On Sunday, anglers brought in so many fish that fish-cleaners had to tell some of the fisherman they had to keep the fish that they caught rather than donate them to the fish fry or a local food bank. They didn’t seem to mind.
I am sorry to report that none of the eight lake trout that that FWP regional fisheries manager Jim Vashro tagged with a monitor showed up, so they didn’t have a $25,000 cash winner.
Doug Frandsen, from Missoula, caught the largest fish. Frandsen, who was fishing with Dick Zimmer “The MacMan” from Pablo, caught a 38.25-inch lake trout that weighed 21.56 pounds.
He edged out a number of other anglers for the top honors including Mark Whitehead of Kalispell who was in the lead for a while with a 20.61-pound lake trout.
Frandsen, who is pictured with his fish on www.montanaoutdoor.com, caught his lake trout in about 200 feet of water in Woods Bay fishing a whole bait set-up from Zimmer.
“I think I was very lucky,” Frandsen told the huge crowd as he accepted a $1,000 check for his efforts.
I learned from Zimmer that maybe part of the reason that he might of thought of him as lucky is because he was using 6 pound test Spyderwire Stealth line.
“The fish probably didn’t know he was hooked for a while because Doug really was careful reeling him in,” said Zimmer. The fish was caught late Saturday afternoon and Frandsen took his time to enter it into the derby.
“I really didn’t think that size of a lake trout would win the derby but on Sunday morning, I decided to make the trip in to Somers at Dels Bar, the tournament headquarters to enter it,” said Frandsen.
In fact, when I saw Frandsen out on the water about noon Sunday, he still didn’t think the fish would still be largest lake trout by the 3pm cut-off time. I guess you never know.
Zimmer also had quite a day on Saturday. He caught the largest lake superior whitefish for the tourney it weighed 8.68 pounds and when you looked at the fish in person, it looked even bigger.
“We decided to fish the narrows on south end of the lake Saturday morning,” added Zimmer. “We were in 45-50 feet of water by the water hazard on the east side.”
Zimmer, who loves the jig method of fishing for lake trout, also uses the same method when fishing for whitefish with his famous locally-produced Rattle-D-Zastor.
Martin Fronappel caught the largest lake trout under 28 inches. It weighed 9.38 pounds and won $1000. Tony Lawrence caught the largest pike minnow at 3.12 pounds.
“It was a great couple of days I think people had a lot of fun,” said Bob Lincoln, owner of Dels Bar in Somers, “I can’t wait to hold it again next year. We are already thinking of ways to improve it and have more fun â€“ if that is possible.”