Mack Days anglers land a wild bobcat

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BOB AND Bobbi Hereford and their son Brett were fishing Sunday on Flathead Lake in the Mack Days Tournament when they saw a young bobcat struggling in the water. They netted it and released it safely on shore. (Photo courtesy Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes)

There’s little question that anglers on Flathead Lake have landed some interesting things that weren’t fish — but a bobcat?

According to information from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Bob and Bobbi Hereford of Missoula were on the water Sunday fishing in the 2019 Mack Days Tournament when they saw something struggling in the water quite a ways from shore.

Further investigating the strange sight, they realized it was a bobcat that seemed disoriented and very tired. They netted the small cat and took it to shore.

Their son Brett released the cat very carefully while the rest of the family watched from a distance.

The young bobcat was last seen by anglers in a different boat when it was walking along the shore by the Narrows and moving like it knew where it was going.

It was undoubtedly an experience the Hereford family won’t soon forget.

For the rest of the tournament, 103 anglers out of 416 entered have turned in a total of 6,289 lake trout entries.

The $10,000 tagged lady lake trout Marie Laveau has not been caught. There are three $5000, five $1,000 and over 9,000 tagged lake trout with values from $500 to $100.

There were several $100 tagged fish caught during the third week. Paul Gyles of Stevensvile; Bill Violette, Jeanee Mooney, Egil Estvold, Marty Noyd, Jackie Wood, and Bob Christensen, all of Missoula; Sam Sacchi of Thompson Falls; Paul Soukup of Polson; Julie Perkins of Kalispell; and Doug McGill of Big Arm each had $100 tags.

The winds of Flathead Lake were moving across the lake most of the weekend making fishing difficult. Anglers struggled to keep on their fishing spots, with many having to move to calmer sheltered waters or retreat from the rocking lake.

Friday was the calmest day of the weekend with a total of 966 entries. Saturday was breezy with 545 lake trout entered and Sunday’s total was 695. The total of 6,289 compares with 5,344 for the three weeks in 2018.

Fall Mack Days continues until Nov. 10. There is up to $150,000 in cash and prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event on Nov. 10. Anglers turn in lake trout entries and receive one ticket for each fish to be entered in the drawing. There are five weeks left in the event. Tickets are put into a lottery drawing that begins at $1,000 and goes to $400.

All it takes is one fish to be entered. The event is used as a tool to reduce the numbers of the non-native lake trout and increase the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout in Flathead Lake. For more information, go to or call 406-270-3386.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or

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