The 2017 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event does not end until May 14th for the four hundred and fifty six anglers who have entered the nine week-long event. The hard fishing anglers have just completed the second weekend with 10,557 lake trout caught by one hundred thirty six anglers. Anglers are trying to land as many lake trout as possible using all the fishing finesse, knowledge, and tricks they have in their tackle boxes to reel in as many as they can. The second weekend total was 3,221 with Friday at 1,224, Saturday-1,041, and Sundays total at 956. Finding a lake trout at the end of the line with a clipped adipose fin is a bonus and thirty lucky anglers have caught tagged fish with values of $100-$200. There is a $10,000 tagged fish out there any angler would like to hook onto, plus three $5,000, and five $1,000 tagged lake trout and over 6,000 with values from $100-$500.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sponsor Mack Days with Up To $225,000 in Cash and Prizes awarded on the final day. Mack Days Events are used as a management tool to reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in the lake and increase the numbers of the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout that were once the dominant fish in the waters of the Flathead. The native fish were a part of the history and culture of the area and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
After having the great first weekend with record numbers of lake trout caught-6,127- anglers had a tougher time catching high numbers during the second weekend. Weather changed and the fish seemed to change with it. It was rain, wind, sleet, sun, and varying temperatures all weekend long. Top lady angler Julie returns to California knowing what a surprise dip in Flathead Lake, while pushing out the boat from the dock, feels like in mid-March and if anyone hooks onto a high dollar rod and reel we know who the owner is. It was reported overboard on Saturday.
There are many different ways to win in the event. All it takes is one fish entry to get a ticket in the lottery style drawing where the awards will begin at $1,000 and go down to $400. Different categories are available for youth, ladies, 70 and over, weekend drawing, etc. For more information on the rules, awards, fish ID, and many other fishing items go to the website at www.mackdays.com or telephone 406-270-3386.
One of the many ways to win an award during the event is to be a Top Ten Angler at the end of Mack Days. These anglers fish as many days and hours as they can going out at daylight and staying until dark trying to keep their numbers high enough to earn them a spot in the Top Ten category. The first weekend ended with Scott Bombard of Missoula and Michael Benson of Lonepine tied with 300 entries each. Leading the top ten anglers after the second weekend is Scott Bombard with 465. His total on Sunday put him ahead of Benson by seven fish-his catches were Friday 65, Saturday-44, and Sunday 56, 2nd Michael Benson of Lonepine with 458-Friday 79, Saturday 48, and Sunday 31, tied for 3rd and 4th are Sam Cusker of Whitefish and Felix Gauci of Stevensville-402, 5th Steven Benson of Four Lakes, Wa.-363, 6th Larry Karper of Florence-323, 7th Ryan Shima of Kalispell-305, 8th Jason Mahlen of Kalispell-300, 9th Danner Shima of Kalispell-293, and 10th Travis Banyai of Kalispell with 238.
The 70 and Over Category leader is Larry Karper with 323, Bob Christensen of Missoula 2nd with 129, Gary Perleberg of Bigfork 3rd with 77, Bill Violette of Missoula 4th -52, and Bernd Albrecht of Polson is 5th with 46.
Lady angler Julie Woolley of Manteca, Ca is in first with 120 entries, 2nd Julie Vacca of Florence with 94, Brandy Hilde of Whitefish has 91, and Janine Kowalski of Florence has 33. The ladies are working hard to keep their numbers going up. They spend all day on the water filling the coolers.
Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell in the 12 and Under Category has 48, 2nd is Rylan Koch of Butte with 33, Kayne Kirwan of Polson has 11, and Logan Lang of Kalispell totaled 3. Entering one fish each is Aaron Haynes of Arlee, Zachariah Apsey of Kalispell, and Bailey Randall of Missoula.
Tyler Varga of Kalispell tops the 13 to 17 Category with 158, 2nd Jack Paul of Kalispell with 65, 3rd Leah Banyai Kalispell with 30, Abby Hodgson Kalispell-13, and Dylan Hodgson and Myles Tripp of Missoula tied with 12 each.
Tagged lake trout with a value of $100 were caught by Gary Perleberg, Larry Karper x 2, Felix Gauci, Terry Krogstad, Kolton Turner, and Devinney/Bundrick of Kalispell, Cliff Herbert-Columbia Falls, Sou Thao-Florence, David McDaniel-Polson, Jerry Benson-Plains, and Larry Ashwell-Missoula. A $200 tagged fish was also turned in by Michael Benson.
Spring weather is very unpredictable. We remind anglers to think safety first and be aware of changing weather patterns.
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. You can enter on line or enter when you turn in fish at the fish check in stations.