Three weeks is all that is remaining in the 2016 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake. Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be awarded to many hard fishing anglers. Some are old, some are young, some are experienced, some are new, some have over a thousand entries while others may have only one entry but that one is all it takes to win in the lottery style drawing that begins at $1,000 and goes down to $200. There are many ways to win. Weekend drawings, captains, smallest fish, largest fish, etc.-check out all of the ways to win at www.mackdays.com. This event total after six weeks is 24,628 for Friday-Sunday, 4,098 Tuesday-Thursday for a final total of 28,726. The 2012 Spring Event has had the highest entry total since the events began. After six weeks in that event the total was 19,066. The sixth weekend total of 2,536 is the lowest weekend fish total so far this spring. The first weekend total of 5,897 was the highest so far. Cloudy rainy weather kept many anglers off the water and gave most of the fish lock jaw. Fishing humor and a little frustration over the lower numbers and was evident Sunday afternoon and evening as anglers were checking in. The fishing was fun but the catching wasn’t.
The $10,000 elusive tagged lake trout is still out there. So are three $5,000 and five $1,000 tagged lake trout. These fish were tagged a week before the event began. There are over 6,000 with tags that have values from $100-$500.
Winning the second day of the Bucket of Fish competition was Bob Christensen of Missoula. His bucket of 4 lake trout weighed in at 28.3 pounds. Bob also won the first day of the bucket competition. Larry Karper of Florence was second with 15.75, and third was Mike Shae of Kalispell with 14.6. The last day of the Bucket Days is Sunday May 8th.
Many anglers now have eighteen days into the competition. Top ten anglers are placed based on their best eighteen day average. With nine days left in the Friday-Sunday part of event they have to bring in a total over their lowest day to receive tickets for that day. The lowest day is then dropped or not used again and the next lowest number used for the next days total. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell continues leading with 1,524 and a 84.6 average, 2nd Danner Shima of Kalispell-1,215 and 67.5, 3rd Ryan Shima 1,182 and 65.6, 4th Mike Benson Lonepine 999 and 55.5, Travis Banyai and Scott Mahlen both of Kalispell 5th and 6th 877 and 48.7, Bob Turner Kalispell 7th 852 and 50.0 for seventeen days, Mike Shima Polson 8th 808 and 44.8, Steven Benson Four Lakes, WA 9th 795 and 44.0, and Felix Gauci of Stevensville 10th with 776 and 45.6 also with seventeen days.
Over 70 Category leader is Larry Karper of Florence with 613, Bob Christensen of Missoula is 2nd with 257, and Jim Hoover of Whitefish is 3rd with 143.
Brandy Hilde of Missoula is leading the Ladies Category with 223, Julie Vacca-Florence 2nd with 185, Nicole Peters-Missoula 133, Connie Jones Kalispell 79, and Jane Ramey of Stevensville 51.
Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell is first in the 12 & Under group with 174, Leah Banyai Kalispell 2nd with 109, and Abby Hodgson of Kalispell is third with 42.
Danner Shima leads the 17-13 group with 1,215, Tyler Varga of Kalispell is 2nd with 175, and Garett Vaughan of Charlo is 3rd with 110.
Entries are taken until the last day. There are seven hundred twenty two anglers entered with two hundred twenty two of them that have turned in lake trout entries during the event.
Anglers can keep their catch or donate the lake trout. If donated fisheries fillet staff process and freeze the fish for delivery to area food banks from Whitefish to Missoula. Over four tons of fish fillets have been delivered to food banks so far in the event with more to go.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have a special $13 yearly Flathead Lake Combined Use Fishing Permit for the south half of Flathead Lake available to any angler at area license venders. If you haven’t been a part of the event and want more information go to www.mackdays.com for fishing tips, boat safety information, fish ID, etc. and become involved in the effort to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the numbers of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. The events are used as a tool for the anglers to be a part of fisheries management on Flathead Lake.
We remind anglers to always check weather before going out on the lake and take all boating safety precautions.
Good luck and tight lines everyone.