Beloved former Plains resident perishes in fishing accident

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Scott Shindledecker, Clark Fork Valley Press & Mineral Independent, Plains, Mont.
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Apr. 7—A beloved former Plains resident drowned in Lower Thompson Lake in a fishing accident Monday.

According to the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, the man was identified as Michael Larson, 71, of Missoula.

At about 12:41 p.m. Monday, the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office received a report of ice fishing gear sitting on the ice near a large hole on Lower Thompson Lake, south of Libby, off U.S. 2.

Several citizens reported seeing someone ice fishing at that location earlier in the morning. It was determined that a person possibly had fallen through the ice.

Rescuers from Fisher River Valley Fire and Rescue were dispatched along with the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office and David Thompson Search and Rescue.

Rescuers arrived and were able to approach the area using ice rescue equipment. Rescuers located Larson in the lake and were able to remove him from the water.

Larson lived and worked in Plains for many years as the owner and pharmacist of Plains Drug Store.

Jim Newman, who still works at Plains Drug and Andi's Gifts in Plains, had fond memories of Larson.

"I worked for Mike for many years and he was a good boss and person and very kind man," Newman said. "I really enjoyed working for him."

Newman shared Larson had sold the store to Justin and Andi Holmes in 2011 and moved to Missoula with his wife, Carol.

But Larson still spent a lot of time in Northwest Montana fishing.

"Mike really loved to fish," Newman said.

Chris Mount, who also works at Plains Drug, worked for Larson for 20 years.

"He was one of the finest men I ever knew," Mount said.

Larson also coached youth sports.