The second weekend of the Fall Mack Days Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes ended with one thousand seven hundred twenty lake trout entries-bringing the total to two thousand six hundred seventeen entries over the first two weekends. Three hundred thirty four anglers are registered-entries continue to be accepted at any time through the last day of the event. Anglers turned in 597 on Friday, 573-Saturday, and 550 on Sunday. Weekend fishing weather was warm and calm.
Up to $125,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded on the last day of the event. Prizes will be awarded in several ways from top anglers to youth anglers, lottery drawings (30)-all it takes is one fish to win-$1,000 to $200, captain’s prizes, weekend prizes, smallest and largest entries, ladies, golden oldies (70 & over), etc. To see the list of prizes go to the website. There are also entry forms, rules, fish ID, management information, recipes, etc. @ www.mackdays.com.
October 3rd was the first of three days of the Bucket of Fish category. Winning with the heaviest bucket of their four heaviest lake trout entries was the team of Richard and Laurie Kreis of Huson with a bucket weight of 23lbs.6ozs., second place went to the team of Phil Meredith and GW Schneider of Kalispell with a weight of 20lbs., third place went to Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 17lbs.11ozs., fourth place was a tie between the team of Denny, Hoffman, and Lewis of Missoula and team Bombard of Missoula with 17lbs.3ozs. The next Bucket Day will be Saturday October 25th and the last day of Buckets will be Sunday November 9th. Daily points are given for the first five places-heaviest daily bucket wins $200 and the all-around winners after the three designated days win 1st– $300, 2nd-$200, and 3rd-$100 decided by total points at the conclusion of the three days.
The smallest fish category has been changing every day with several anglers holding the title for a day. Sunday John Gauci of Florence turned in a 142mm (5 ½”) entry that will be hard to beat. The other small lake trout entry is held by Paul Olson of Polson measuring 198mm (7 3/4”). Two anglers with the smallest entries will win $200 each.
There is no large fish entry in the Fall Fishing Event. The largest fish has to be over 36” and weigh 24 pounds or more to be entered. Winner of the largest lake trout entry receives $500.
Anglers are using trolling and jigging methods. They change from one to the other depending on the fish. Trolling in depths of 50-80 feet is reported to be working well. The fish are said to be moving in to the shallower areas. Jigging depths are varied depending on the area. Some are jigging in 180’ and others 230’.
Leading the Fall Mack Days anglers is Mike Benson of Lonepine with 232 lake trout entries, 2nd place is a tie between Terry Krogstad of Kalispell and Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 173, 4th place-Larry Karper of Florence with 164, 5th-Craig Morigeau of Polson with 158, 6th-Scott Bombard of Missoula-155, John Gauci is 7th with 137, Phil Meredith-Kalispell-8th with 134, 9th and 10th place is a tie between GW Schneider of Kalispell and Richard Kreis-Huson each with 87.-
Laurie Kreis of Huson is leading the ladies with 69, 2nd is Debra Pike of Kalispell with 29, 3rd-Jeanee Mooney-Missoula with 24, 4th-Julie Vacca-Florence-18, and 5th-Gina Schiff of Kalispell with 15.
Youth angler leader is Kobe Cox of Charlo with 7 followed by Myles Tripp of Stevensville with 2.The Under 12 age group leader is Aaron Haynes of Arlee with 7 and Ayden and Elly Tripp each have entered one.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have lake trout fishing information booklets, maps, and DVD’s available to help anglers learn about fishing on Flathead Lake. You can pick them up from the NRD Fish, Wildlife, and Recreation office or telephone 406-883-2888 ex. 7200 or 7294.
The $10,000, $5,000, and $1,000 tagged lake trout are out there and still available. Turning in $100 tagged lake trout have been Missoula anglers: Larry Ashwell, Larry Karper, Scott Bombard X 2, Hoffman/Deny/Lewis, and Kevin Illig, Huson anglers: Laurie Kreis X2, and Richard Kreis, Kalispell anglers: GW Schneider, Terry Krogstad, Phil Meredith, and Roger Schiff, Kim McMillie-Ronan, and Craig Morigeau-Polson X 2.Terry Krogstad of Kalispell and Chad Cottet of Polson have each turned in $200 tagged lake trout.
We remind everyone to think safety first. Have the proper equipment on board, tell someone when you plan to return, keep a cell phone in a dry place (zip lock bag), and be aware of changing weather conditions.
For more information telephone 406-270-3386 or 406-883-2888 ex. 7294 or go to the www.mackdays.com website.
(Report by Cynthia Bras-Benson; Feature photo via montananewsnow.com)