Teenager Wins Spring Mack Days

By Beacon Staff

Congratulations to Stephen Naethe, a 16-year-old angler from Pablo who won this year’s Spring Mack Days event with an impressive 714 lake trout. His 12-day average was 43.16 fish.

I had the opportunity to chat with Naethe before the derby started. I had heard about him and was curious to learn a little bit more about a 16-year-old who goes out by himself in all weather conditions to satisfy his love of fishing. When I wrote the story, I had the sneaking suspicion he would win. He was certainly one of the favorites. As it turned out, nobody even came close to him. The second-place finisher reeled in 556 mackinaws.

Here’s the full press release from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes:

A total of 12,651 lake trout were turned in over the 21 days of Spring Mack Days, making it the second largest event in the seven-year history of Mack Days. Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana FWP as part of the Flathead Lake Co-Management Plan. The plan was developed and implemented by the state and tribes to slowly reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. The process to develop this plan began in June 1999 with then Governor Marc Racicot and then CSKT Chairman Mickey Pablo. They urged the public to “work together to develop and implement” a plan for the lake and the river system upstream of the lake. Montana FWP, CSKT Fisheries, and a public citizen advisory committee spent months meeting, developing ideas, and getting public comment. Mack Days are a result of part of the plan that was developed by fisheries managers.

Taking top angler honors was Stephen Naethe of Pablo with a total of 714 lake trout entries and a 12-day average of 43.16 fish per day. Second place goes to Paul Haines of Ronan with a total of 556 lake trout and a 12-day average of 39.33; 3rd place-Mike Benson-Hot Springs-381 lake trout and 12 day avg. of 30.25, 4th place-Dean Vaughan-Charlo-432 lake trout and 12 day avg. of 29.75, 5th-Dan Smith-Hot Springs-384 and 12 day avg. of 26.58, 6th David McDaniel-Polson-306 and 12 day avg. of 24.08, 7th Roger Smart-Ronan-346 and 12 day avg. of 23.83, 8th Greg Karlson-Missoula-309 and 12 day avg. of 21.25, 9th Don Peters-Florence-Polson-284 and 12 day avg. of 21.25, and 10th Dan Long-Columbia Falls-297 and 12 day avg. of 20.

The top lady angler was Nicole Peters of Florence/Polson with 252 lake trout entries. Second place was Debbie O’Hara-St. Ignatius with 121 entries; 3rd-Susanne Albrecht-Polson-120, 4th-Cindy Howe-Kalispell-103, 5th-Deana Knipe-Polson-61 and Terry Biere-Butte-61.

Youth anglers in 2009 Spring Mack Days turned in a total of 1,248 lake trout. The top youth angler was Stephen Naethe with 714, followed by: Garett Vaughan-Charlo-75, Terry Biere-Butte-61, Tanner Murry-Columbia Falls-50, Alexander Brown-Lakeside-36, Daniel Hunt-St. Ignatius-33, Brady Weible-St. Ignatius-28, Keegan Noyd-Missoula-24, Tamarah Ivanoff-Arlee-24, Austin Ross-Missoula-23.

Largest and smallest lake trout winners were: Captain Bob Orsua-Mo Fisch Charters-Lakeside-largest with his 31.1 lb. lake trout and smallest went to Stephen Naethe-110mm and Joe O’Hara-173mm lake trout. Last day largest lake trout under 30” went to Doug Bolender of Kalispell.

We would like to thank everyone who participated and helped to make this event a success. Fall Mack Days for 2009 will begin Oct. 2 and end on Nov. 15. We invite all anglers to join us – all it takes is one fish to win.

Check out our Web site www.mackdays.com for more information.

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