The 2014 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event concluded Sunday November 16th after twenty four days of lake trout fishing. A total of 12,888 lake trout were entered in the event by one hundred eighty successful anglers. Four hundred twenty seven anglers were signed up to fish the event.
Mack Days Fishing Events are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and are used as a management tool to reduce numbers of lake trout in Flathead Lake. Lake trout are not native to the lake and have contributed to the decline of native bull trout and weststlope cutthroat trout in the lake. For information on the management of Flathead Lake @www.mackdays.com.
Mack Days are successful because of the hard work, time, and dedication of the many anglers who participate in it. The events are weather dependent-this event had several days of wind, rain, cold temps., and more wind making it difficult for them to stay over fish once they found them. Lines froze and once you caught a fish you had to get it in with a frozen reel and line. Friday was the worst day many have ever seen on the lake. The wind was not too strong but the swells in the lake were huge. Some said they were like ocean swells. Boaters reported losing sight of everything when down in the swell. Ice covered windshields, anglers, and equipment. Fridays total was 117. Saturday was a better day though still bitter cold but the lake was much calmer and the total was 370. Cold continued on Sunday which was the last day with a total of 315.
Mike Benson of Lonepine was 1st in the Top Ten angler category with a total of one thousand thirty seven lake trout and a 15 day average of 58.27. Second place went to Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 910 and 53.47 average, 3rd-Terry Krogstad of Kalispell-702-44.0, 4th-David McDaniel-Polson-702-40.87, 5th-Richard Kreis-Huson-583-33.6, 6th-Craig Morigeau-Polson-510-33.0, 7th-Scott Bombard-Missoula-605-32.8, 8th-Phil Meredith-Kalispell-562-30.33, 9th-Tim Mooney-Missoula-562 and 27.4, and 10th-Larry Karper of Missoula with 436 and 27.0.
Laurie Kreis of Huson won the ladies division with 320 lake trout entries, 2nd-Jeanee Mooney of Missoula-204, 3rd-Bobbi Hereford-Missoula-165, 4th-Kim McMillie-Ronan-80, and 5th-Julie Vacca-Missoula-76.
The 70 and Over Category leader was Larry Karper of Florence with 436, 2nd place-Glenn Hoffman-Missoula-177, 3rd-Jim Hoover-Whitefish-136, 4th-Leonard Lewis-Missoula-86, and 5th-Ralph Johnson of Columbia Falls-77.
The 12 and under category was won by up and coming youth angler Aaron Haynes of Arlee with 46 entries, 2nd-Tripp Bick of Arlee-24, 3rd-Dusty Haynes of Arlee-12, 4th-Ayden Tripp-Missoula-6, and 5th-Carson Erickson of Missoula-5. The 13-17 group was won by Myles Tripp-Missoula-24, 2nd-Griffin Line of Missoula with 10, Addison Mueller of Hot Springs added to his total after placing and was 3rd with a Saturday total of 9 but had an ending total after Sunday of 14. Fourth place went to Garett Vaughan of Charlo with 8 and Kobe Cox of Charlo was fifth with 7.
Thank you to all who participated and helped in the effort of 2014 Fall Mack Days. Check out more on the prizes and awards @www.mackdays.com.
(Report by Cynthia Bras-Benson)