14-Year-Old Angler Lands Massive Lake Trout at Mack Days

By Beacon Staff

Like father, like son.

Approaching the midway point of the annual Spring Mack Days fishing tournament on Flathead Lake, 14-year-old Danner Shima of Kalispell landed an unforgettable catch, similar to his father two years ago.

Last weekend, Shima was fishing with his brother Austin and grandfather Mike when a massive lake trout took a bite of his line. After 45 minutes, Shima successfully reeled in the 24-pound, 40-inch fish. He kept it alive, as the tournament rules require, and entered it as a “large lake trout” entry at Mack Days before opting to release the massive trout back into Flathead.

As it happens, Shima’s father Ryan was the last winner of the “large lake trout” prize in 2012. His catch — a 24.5-pound, 42.5-inch trout — was the last one to meet qualifying standards.

Big fish like the one Shima caught are slow growing and can reach 30-40 years of age, according to fisheries officials.

With 271 fish entries, Shima is the leader in his 13-17 age division at this spring’s Mack Days.

Sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the Mack Days fishing event is a popular one that attracts hundreds of anglers seeking $150,000 in cash and prizes. The biannual event is used as a tool to slowly reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake, according to organizers.

Last weekend saw 1,034 entries and Jason Mahlen of Kalispell increased his lead and now sits with 777 entries since the tournament began last month. Scott Bombard of Missoula moved to second with 635. Mike Benson of Lonepine is third with 583, Kevin Burns of Kalispell is fourth with 526 and Terry Krogstand of Kalispell is fifth with 526. Conn Hodgson of Kalispell is second in the 70 and over division with 134 entries. In the 10 and under age division, Matthew Guckenberg of Kalispell leads with 79.

There are over 5,000 tagged lake trout with values from $100 to $10,000 swimming in Flathead during Mack Days.

Mack Days began March 14 and ends May 18. For more information visit www.mackdays.com.

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