FISH ON! A total of fifteen thousand eight hundred sixty five lake trout have been turned in over the first three weeks of the Flathead Lake Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Anglers are competing for Up To $225,000 in Cash and Prizes in the eight week long competition. Entries continue to be taken up until the last day. The events are used as a management tool to slowly reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Every lake trout entry counts in the Event and all it takes is one fish to win. There are several ways to win-Lottery Style Drawing that includes tickets from the lake trout entries, Top Ten Angler prizes, Over 70 age category, Ladies, Youth 13-17, Youth 12 & Under, Smallest Lake Trout, Largest Lake Trout, Captains Prizes, and Weekend Drawings. Anglers can also win by catching a tagged lake trout with values from $10,000 to $100. Bonus amounts are also included for anglers who catch 10 or more lake trout entries. For information about ways to win or fisheries management on Flathead Lake go to www.mackdays.com.
One hundred lake trout a day is the limit on Flathead Lake. That continues to be a popular number in this event. Seventeen perfect scores so far. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell leads the anglers with 809 and has had five perfect days of 100 setting a new record of four in a row. Ryan Shima of Kalispell is in second with 709 and two perfect scores, seventeen year old Danner Shima of Kalispell places in third with 697 and three perfect 100’s-one of them during the week, Mike Benson of Lonepine is fourth with 599 and three perfect days, and in fifth is Scott Mahlen with 592 and a close 98 entry day and the thrill or agony of fishing with a brother who has a daily average of 90 fish. Following in 6th is Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 486 and 1(100), 7th Mike Shima of Polson with 471 and 1(100), 8th Travis Banyai of Kalispell with 458 and 2(100’s), 9th-Scott Bombard of Missoula with 443, and 10th Bob Turner of Kalispell with 427.
The ladies are competing with the lead changing frequently. Brandy Hilde of Missoula is leading with 130, Julie Vacca of Florence 2nd with 110, Connie Jones of Kalispell 3rd with 62, Nicole Peters-Missoula 4th with 46, and Andrea Banyai of Kalispell is fifth with 28.
Larry Karper of Florence is leading the Golden Anglers with 374, 2nd Bob Christensen of Missoula with 194, 3rd-Jim Hoover of Whitefish with 77, 4th-Ralph Johnson of Columbia Falls-64, and Roger Smart of Polson with 46. It is reported that one of the above is a young 81 years of age. They are truly a great group of experienced anglers.
Danner Shima will forfeit his 1st place in the 13-17 division if he continues winning in the top ten angler group but still leads the 13-17 year olds with 697, Tyler Varga of Kalispell is second with 141, Garett Vaughan of Charlo 3rd-51, Christopher Shae of Kalispell 4th-44, Aaron Lang of Kalispell 5th-36.
Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell is in first in the 12 & Under group with 59, 2nd is Leah Banyai of Kalispell with 58, 3rd-Abby Hodgson of Kalispell with 36, 4th Sophie Hodgson with 23, and 5th is Logan Lang of Kaispell with 20.
RT Bosworth of Kalispell has a 189mm lake trout entry qualifying for a small lake trout award along with the smallest entry of Paul Soukup from Ronan at 182mm. This category is very competitive and fun for the anglers. Fishing in 180-220 ft. of water and reeling up one of these small fish is a surprise for them.
There is still no large lake trout entry in the event.
Turning in $100 tagged lake trout over the past week were David McDaniel-Polson, Travis Banyai, Tyler Varga, Ken Varga-Kalispell, Tom Shanholtzer-Helena, Felix Gauci-Stevensville, Matt Clark-Columbia Falls, Shannon Brownlee-Lolo X 2, Jerry Benson-Plains X 2, and Tyson Cottet-Charlo and Scott Bombard-Missoula-$200 tagged lake trout.
Fishing the event anglers can turn in their fish at the check in stations or keep what they catch. Fish that are turned in are processed and donated to area food banks.
Spring Mack Days continues until May 15th with a fish fry and awards at 3:00. Anglers can fish Tuesdays-Sundays. For information go to the website or telephone 406-883-2888 ex. 7294 or 7282 or 406-270-3386.
(Feature photo via MackDays.com)