2013 Spring Mack Days continues with the third weekend of the event just being completed. Up to $150,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded to anglers at the conclusion of the event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The events are used as a tool to slowly reduce non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Lake trout were introduced into the lake in 1905. Numbers of lake trout exploded after the introduction of Mysis shrimp into the system in the early 1980’s. Lake trout currently dominate the fishery of the lake. Native bull trout and westslope cutthroat populations are just a fraction of what they once were. The tribes began Mack Days Fishing Events in 2002 when the Flathead Lake Co-Management Plan of 2001-2010 began. The events continued on through this Spring Event. The future of the events will be decided after the completion of the EIS process.
A total of 8,595 lake trout entries have been turned in so far by lake trout anglers in the 2013 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event. Daily totals of 1,393-Friday, 1,394-Saturday, and 644-Sunday made this the most successful weekend for the anglers so far in this event. Several of the anglers have put in nine days of fishing so far. Kalispell angler Jason Mahlen continues to expand his lead in the event turning in 528 lake trout entries. Mahlen ‘s daily entries for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were 87, 59, and 51 for a total of 197 giving him a daily average of 59. Other anglers who have watched Jason catching fish marvel at his intensity and what they call the dead eye stare while he watches his line for the slightest twitch. Mike Benson is in second place with a total of 327 entries-34, 52, & 34 for the weekend. His daily average is 36. Benson is closing in on reaching a high of 10,000 lake trout entries since he began fishing the event s in 2006. Ninety seven more fish and he will reach that number. His entries in the Spring Event of “06 were 158 and in the Fall Event it was 104. He made the comment at that time that he needed to figure out to catch lake trout or he was going to be done with the events. Spring 2012 he turned in 1,280 entries. Following Mike Benson is Scott Bombard with 5,565 total entries in the events and Steven Benson with 5,407 lake trout entries over the years. Craig Morigeau of Polson has a total of 312-46 & 61-with a daily average of 45. Morigeaus total may be lower than others but his average makes up for it. Top anglers are placed by their best eighteen day average. Steven Benson-Four Lakes, WA. is third with a total of 309-57, 31, & 32-and a daily average of 34. Steve can come in with high numbers so is someone to watch. Scott Mahlen-Kalispell-257 is in fifth place with a 29 daily average. Scott fishes with his brother Jason. His numbers are improving and could make this event interesting. Sixth place-Bryan Long-Columbia Falls-average of 39 moves him up In the placing by average. Seventh place-Dean Vaughan-Charlo-36 average, 8th-Jerry Benson-Plains, 9th-Darren Borgen-Columbia Falls, and 10th-Garett Vaughan-Charlo-177.
Youth anglers entered in the event are fishing hard, putting in lots of hours, and doing very well. Leading the 13-17 category is Danner Shima-Kalispell with 119, 2nd place is Tanner Murry-Columbia Falls with 82, 3rd-Connor Kowalski with 80, 4th-Kobe Cox-Charlo-78, and 5th-Brady Weible-Charlo-51. 12 and Under category-1st place Garett Vaughan-Charlo with 177, 2nd-Matt Guckenberg Jr. Kalispell-with 20, 3rd-Cole Gilleard-St. Ignatius-14, Abby Hodgson-Kalispell-6, and Dylan Hodgson-3.
Susan Martin-Polson-leads the ladies with 63, 2nd-Tracy Powers-Missoula-55, 3rd-Julie Vacca-Florence-53, 4th-Nicole Peters-Missoula-43, and 5th place-Alyssa Hadley-Kalispell-7 lake trout entries.
A $10,000 tagged lake trout is still out there. He is accompanied by five $5,000 and ten-$1,000 along with over 4,000 with values from $100-$500. Catching tagged fish with $100 tags were-Kevin Burns-Kalispell, Bob Turner-Kalispell X2, Mike Jacob-Missoula, Darren Borgen-Columbia Falls, Jim Bilodeau-Kalispell, Doug Bolendar-Kalispell, Danner Shima-Kalispell, Tanner Murry and Willie Murry-Columbia Falls, Bill Violette-Missoula, Larry Karper,, and Jason Kowalski-Florence. Deana Knipe-Polson, Tim Vacca-Florence, and Ryan Shima-Kalispell turned in $200 tagged fish, and with a $500 fish was Tim Iverson of Bigfork.
Educational videos with fishing tips and techniques are now available on the Mack Days website www.mackdays.com. The videos were developed by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and will soon be available in DVD form. Several anglers donated their time to help develop the videos.
Entries continue to be taken up until the last day of the Mack Days Events. All it takes is one fish to win so come out and enjoy fishing Flathead Lake. For more information go to the website (www.mackdays.com) or telephone 406-883-2888 ex. 7294.