Spring Mack Days scheduled for Flathead Lake

Starting May 31, the first annual Spring Mack Days is scheduled to begin on Flathead Lake. This two week tournament is schedule to run through Saturday June 14.

Last year, a fall edition of the tournament was held on the lake and was won by Chester Rollins who landed 106 mackinaw in a nine-day effort. It was received well enough that the organizers wanted to test the waters with a spring event.

“It is a great opportunity for families that like to fish together to spend some time on the water,” said Tracy Burland, from S-K Marina, the tournament headquarters located on the south end of the lake in Polson.

Spring Mack Days offers, at the minimum, cash awards of $3,000. The more fish you catch, the better chance you have at winning. Anglers will receive one ticket for each mackinaw that they submit 28 inches or under. For example, last year 130 anglers registered and 888 mackinaw were caught. In addition, 790 were donated and distributed through food bank outlets.

The entry fee is $15 for adults and $5 for youth ages 17 and under. You can get more information by calling 406-883-1902 or by stopping by Ronan Sports and Western or dockside at S-K Marina.

Dick Zimmer, the Macman out of Pablo, will hold a seminar at 6 p.m. on June 7 at S-K Marina. Zimmer is arguably the top authority on lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake.

Salish-Kootenai tribal biologist Barry Hansen said the events held in the spring and fall are designed to help the fishery, the anglers’ knowledge of the lake and help them how to fish for lake torut. “The event succeeded last fall in stimulating the harvest of lake trout and in educating people about the Flathead Lake Fisheries Management Plan,” added Hansen. “The public is responding positively to our call for anglers to participate in lake management by harvesting the overabundant lake trout.”

The 14-day tourney is focusing on the 28-inch length lake trout class so as not to affect the trophy mackinaw that the lake offers. Flathead Lake still owns the state record for lake trout. It was caught by Dave Larson and it weighed 42 pounds way back in 1979.

PHEASANT CHANGE: Season date changes for the 2003 pheasant hunting season are being proposed by the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission.. This year’s tentative season changes include setting the pheasant season opener to Saturday October 11. A second alternative would be to establish a one-day youth-only hunt for youngsters ages 12-14 on October 11, prior to the general season. The general season would then open on Sunday October 12. In that change they are also looking at eliminating the two-day delay for non-residents so they to would be able to hunt starting October 12 as well.

Originally the department had scheduled the opener for residents on October 18 with the non-residents opener on October 20 with no youth hunt day.

As for me, I would like to see the season open for a special youth hunt on Saturday October 11. Then I would delay the opening day for residents and non-residents till the next Saturday, October 18. Currently, the general rifle antelope opener begins October 12. By moving the opener for the general pheasant opener to the next week you will place it on a weekend that doesn’t have any season openers scheduled.

The general deer and elk season in Montana opens the following Sunday on October 26. You have until May 21 to comment on this by e-mailing fwpwld@state.mt.us or by writing to FWP Wildlife Divisiion, PO Box 200701 Helena, MT 59620-0701.