FISH ON! Record breaking numbers were the name of the game the first weekend of the 2016 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. A total of 5,898 lake trout were turned in breaking the highest previous weekend record of 4,314 during the 2012 Spring Event. Eight anglers caught their limits on Friday of this year’s event. The Shima boat with three generations of anglers turned in a perfect score of 300. Danner and Ryan of Kalispell, and Mike of Polson each had 100. Felix Gauci-Stevensville, Mike Benson-Lonepine, Jason Mahlen and Travis Banyai of Kalispell, and Steven Benson of Four Lakes, WA each had perfect 100 lake trout limits. Friday’s lake trout entries totaled 2,384 which was also a new record. The previous high day was also in the 2012 event and was 1,898. Saturday’s total was 1,866 and the Sunday total was 1,648.
Anglers continued having good counts throughout the weekend. Mike Benson leads the anglers with 300 lake trout entries and a new record of 3 days with 100 limits. Jason Mahlen is a close second with 293, Felix Gauci-3rd with 262, Danner Shima-4th -215, Ryan Shima-5th with 211, Travis Banyai-6th 208, Steve Benson-7th 201, Scott Mahlen of Kalispell 8th with 195, Scott Bombard-Missoula 9th with 182, and Larry Karper of Florence 10th with 174.
Leading lady angler is Brandy Hilde of Missoula with 42, Julie Vacca of Florence 2nd with 30, Andrea Banyai of Kalispell 3rd with 28, 4th-Connie Jones of Kalispell with 23, and 5th Nicole Peters of Missoula with 21.
Danner Shima leads the 13-17 category with 215 and is followed by Tyler Varga of Kalispell with 37, Dylan Hodgson of Kalispell is in a tie for third with Aaron Lang of Kalispell each with 31, and 5th Garett Vaughan of Charlo with 26.
Matt Guckenberg Jr. and Leah Banyai both of Kalispell are tied for first in the 12 & Under group with 33 each, 3rd-Abby Hodgson-Kalispell, 4th-Logan Lang of Kalispell with 18, and 5th Sophia Hodgson of Kalispell with 17.
Larry Karper leads the 70 & Over group with 174, 2nd-Bob Christensen of Missoula with 95, 3rd-Bernd Albrecht-Polson with 44, Jim Hoover of Whitefish is 4th with 33, and Roger Smart of Ronan is 5th with 26.
There is a $10,000 tagged lake trout, 3-$5,000 tagged fish, and 5-$1,000 tagged lake trout and over 6,000 with values from $100-$500 in the lake. A $200 tagged lake trout was turned in by Bob Turner of Kalispell. Bernd Albrecht-Polson, Bob Zabel, Tyler Varga, Scott Mahlen, Kolton Turner, and Danner Shima-Kalispell, Chris Demmons and Larry Ashwell-Missoula X2, Roger Smart-Polson, Mike Benson, and Shannon Brownlee of Lolo all turned in $100 tagged fish.
Smallest lake trout entries so far have been turned in by RT Bosworth of Kalispell with a 189mm (7 1/2”) laker and Leonard Dudley of West Yellowstone with a 198mm (7 7/8”) lake trout.
Mack Days Fishing Events are used as a management tool to slowly reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the numbers of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Entries are taken up until the last day of the event. Go to www.mackdays.com for more information or telephone 406-883-2888 ex. 7294 or 406-270-3386.
(Feature photo via Mack Days)