2016 Fall Mack Days sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes began September 23rd with three days of good fall fishing weather. Anglers young and old, male and female, novice or experienced, boat or shore fishermen compete for Up to $150,000 in cash and prizes in the forty five day event which does not end until November 13th. Fish every Tuesday-Sunday for as many days as you can or fish one day. Mack Days Fishing Events are used as a fisheries management tool to reduce numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout were historically for hundreds of years the dominant fish of Flathead Lake. Populations of native fish have dramatically declined in Flathead Lake and are struggling in several areas in the Pacific Northwest. For every non-native lake trout turned in during the Mack Days Fishing Event anglers receive a ticket for the lottery style drawing for cash and merchandise prizes the last day of the event. All it takes is one lake trout entry ticket to win.
There are several other ways to win during the event. There are categories available for ladies, youth under 12, youth 13-17, anglers over 70 years young, and top ten anglers which are based on their best 15 days of fishing by average. Weekend drawings are held for two cash prizes. There are also captain’s prizes, largest fish, and smallest fish and merchandise prizes. Special Bucket Fish Days are Friday 10/9, Saturday 10/24, and Sunday 11/8. Anglers compete for the heaviest bucket of fish. Their four largest fish fewer than 30 inches are placed in a bucket and a weight taken. Heaviest bucket wins $200. As angler’s fish totals go up during the event-once they get 10 or more lake trout-they earn bonus dollars that accumulate until the end of the event.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have available a combined use fishing permit for the south half of Flathead Lake available to anglers from anywhere for $13 a year. The permit is not applicable for any other use except for the south half of Flathead Lake.
Thursday, the day before the event, several anglers were anxiously waiting for the wind to calm down so they could get out on the water for some scouting time. Not to be. The water was rolling with huge waves and the boats were all tied the dock area or on trailers. Much relief was felt when Friday morning the water was calm and the boats were out at the crack of dawn. The first weekend total of lake trout came to 2,099 with Fridays total at 762, Saturday-754, and Sunday-583.
Veteran lake trout angler Terry Krogstad of Kalispell is in first place after weekend one. Krogstad turned in 93 on Friday, 72 for Saturday, and 68 Sunday for a total of 233 lake, Felix Gauci of Stevensville is in second with 205-Friday-72, Saturday-69, and Sunday-64. Mike Benson of Lonepine holds onto third with 100-Friday, 57-Saturday, and 37-on Sunday. 4th place-Scott Bombard-Missoula with 107, 5th-Larry Ashwell-Missoula with105, 6th-John Gauci-of Florence with 93, 7th and 8th -Larry Karper-Florence 92 and-Sam Cusker of Whitefish, Morgan Amdahl of Kalispell is 9th with 67, and 10th Scott Mahlen of Kalispell with 54.
Tied in first for the ladies is Laurie Kries of Huson and Julie Vacca of Florence with 16, Brandy Hilde of Whitefish has 15, Gina Schiff of Whitefish 14, and Katie Anderson of Kalispell 13.
Larry Karper of Florence leads the 70 and Over group with 92, Glenn Hoffman-Missoula-50, Leonard Lewis-Missoula-34, Bob Christensen-23, and Gail Parsons Kalsipell has 3.
Terry Krogstad turned in the smallest laker so far at 176mm-7”, second place in that coveted category is Bill Swaney of Missoula and Jack Morris of Oregon City, Oregon with lake trout at 212mm-8 ½”.
Weekend drawing winners were Terry Krogstad-$300 and Morgan Amdahl-$200.
No large lake trout over 36” and 24 #’s have been turned in over the first three days.
Tagged lake trout valued at $100 were turned in by Bill Swaney, Glenn Hoffman X 2, and Phil Meredith of Kalispell. A $200 tagged lake trout was turned in by Morgan Amdahl of Kalispell.
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. Go to www.mackdays.com for more information or telephone 406-270-3386.