The total of lake trout entries for the sixth weekend in the 2014 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks was 2,175. So far over the six weekends of the event there have been 9,923 entries turned in by the hard working anglers entered. Friday was the highest entry day with 968-Saturday-826-and Sunday with rain, sleet, and chilly winds taking a toll 381 entries turned in. Fingers refused to work and clothing becoming soaked after being in the wind and rain made it a long day for many of the men and women out on the water.
There are still two weekends-six days-left for fishing the event. All it takes is one fish to be entered in the lottery drawing with cash prizes that begin at $1,000 and go down to $100 and several merchandise prizes that will be drawn for. The last day is a separate day that has its own prizes. There is no entry fee. Go out and fish and enter when you come in or go to the Mack Days email@example.com and find the entry page under events. There is information on the website with fishing tips, fish ID-very important, management, safety, etc. Bull trout and westslope cutthroat are fish that are native to Flathead Lake. They are the reason for the events. Mack Days are used as a tool to bring non-native lake trout numbers down and increase the numbers of the native fish. Be sure and check out the fish ID page before going out if you are not familiar with those fish. Know what to look for to properly ID them.
Trolling, jigging, and casting and jigging, are all working and the fish are moving in closer to shore making the shore angling more successful. Be prepared and switch techniques if needed. Some days jigging may be the way to go and others trolling may work. Anglers are reporting that the fish change what they are looking for and you have to change with them.
Top ten anglers in the event are placed by their best fifteen day average and are limited on ticket numbers. To receive tickets after they have reached fifteen days they have to turn in more fish than their lowest number. After that number is used they go to the next lowest number. Bonuses continue to go up as an angler’s total goes up. Leading the event is Mike Benson of Lonepine with 805 lake trout entries and a 51.3 avg. Benson’s numbers were 52, 70,& 75 over the weekend. 2nd-Felix Gauci-Stevensville-aka $10,000 tagged fish winner-683 and 45.0 avg.-his numbers were 88, 53, and 15. 3rdplace is held by Terry Krogstad-Kalispell-512 and 34.1 (12 day avg.)-58,32, & 31, 4th– Richard Kreis-Huson-512-34.1-52,32,& 26, 5th-Scott Bombard-Missoula-500-31.4-46,18,& 26, 6th– David McDaniel-Polson-480-31.6-53,14, & 19, 7th-Craig Morigeau-Polson-433-28.8-38 & 41, 8th-Phil Meredith-Kalispell-422-26.9-33, 36, & 17, 9th-Larry Karper-Florence-372-24.6-23 & 37, 10th-Tim Mooney-Missoula-317-21.0-66, 19, & 14.
Lady angler Laurie Kreis of Huson has 287 entries followed by Jeanee Mooney of Missoula-153, Julie Vacca-Florence-76, Bobbie Hereford-Missoula-73, and Kim McMillie-Ronan-63.
The 70 and Over category has Larry Karper-372 leading, Glenn Hoffman-Missoula-144, Jim Hoover-Whitefish-110, Leonard Lewis-Missoula-66, and Bernd Albrecht-Polson-63.
Youth angler numbers are 12 & Under-Tripp Bick-Arlee-19, Aaron Haynes-Arlee-18, Dusty Haynes-6, Ayden Tripp-Stevensiville-6, and Carson Erickson-Missoula-5. 13-17 group-Myles Tripp-24, Griffin Line-Missoula-10, Garret Vaughan-Charlo-8, Kobe Cox-Charlo-7, and AJ Weller-1.
Tagged fish with $100 values were turned in by GW Schneider, Terry Krogstad x 2, Connie Jones-Kalispell, Bill Swaney, Bob Hereford, and Tim Mooney, -Missoula, Richard Kreis-Huson, Larry Karper-Florence, Steve Mack-Helena, Don Young-Polson, and Felix Gauci-Stevensville. Jeff Cox-Rollins turned in a fish with a $200 tag.
Lake trout entered in the event may be taken home by anglers or may be donated if they have been put on ice. If donated they are processed and frozen by staff and donated to area food banks.
Anglers need to prepare for all kinds of weather conditions while fishing on Flathead Lake and have proper safety equipment on board. For more information call 406-883-2888 ex. 7294 or 406-270-3386.
Tight lines everyone!
(Report by Cynthia Bras-Benson; Feature photo via mackdays.com)