Missoula anglers lost a friend last Saturday morning. Doug Persico from Rock Creek passed away early Saturday morning due to heart failure. Persico had been battling cancer for more than a year and was 70 years old. I got to know Doug through the radio show that we did together from Ruby's Café called "Catching the Big Ones." The seasonal fishing show airs March through August from 8 to

9 a.m. every Friday on KGVO 1290AM.

Doug and his wife Carolyn Persico own Rock Creek Fisherman's Mercantile, otherwise known simply as the Merc. It was through that business' marketing partnership that Doug became involved in the radio show.

Through the 15-plus years of the Merc's sponsorship with the radio show, it was always interesting to hear from Doug every week on the latest developments happening on the blue-ribbon trout stream east of Missoula. Most of the news was, of course, about fishing, but sometimes Doug's weekly report would focus on the activities that had taken place at the Merc. Since the store is the only fly-fishing shop on Rock Creek, it was certainly a natural for anglers to stop in and get the vital information of where the fish were biting and what flies they were biting on.

Doug will certainly be missed by all, but I am sure that his wife Carolyn and grandson John will carry on the Merc tradition.

The Great Montana Mac Attack is this weekend on Flathead Lake. I have heard of reports of whitefish being caught by a few anglers. "They have been catching a few whitefish in 80 feet of water by Deadman's Point using a white rattle-d-zastor," said Bob Culp from Frenchtown. Culp was fishing between Big Arm Bay and Elmo Bay, an area known as Deadman's Point, on the west side of Flathead Lake.

The lake trout fishing continues to be good. At this year's Great Montana Mac Attack, the largest lake trout over 36 inches will be worth $1,000; that same amount goes for largest lake trout that is entered under 29 inches.

There is also $500 for the largest lake trout entered under 25 inches. The derby also includes a whitefish division and a pike minnow category. Registration is $25 and you can register at Del's Bar in Somers (857-3351), by calling Fincher at 261-6445, or online at montanamackattack.com. Anglers who participate in this year's derby need to call Fincher if they catch a fish over 36 inches in length before they bring the fish to enter in the derby. "We want to help sustain Flathead Lake as a trophy lake trout fishery," said Fincher. "By having to call in right after they catch a big fish, I will be able tell them if we already have one entered that is bigger so they can release their fish back into the lake."

You may also listen to hourly updates on the Great Montana Mac Attack leader board that will air on KERR 750AM in Polson and KJJR 880AM in Kalispell on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

Mark Ward's statewide Montana Outdoor Radio Show airs Saturdays from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. in Missoula on KGVO 1290 AM. E-mail Ward at captain@montanaoutdoor.com.


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