2017 Spring Mack Days sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes began on March 17th and will end May 14th. Two weeks remain in the nine week-long event with the Top Ten anglers scrambling to hold onto their positions. Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded on the last day of the event. All entries are to be turned in by 3:00 and a fish fry for friends and families will begin. The awards will begin at 4:00. Lottery prizes are drawn from tickets anglers receive for lake trout entries in the event. Anglers have five more weekend days to increase their numbers. The last day of the event Sunday May 14th is a separate day for prizes. Last day totals will count for bonus amounts.
Two hundred anglers of the five hundred eighty nine entered have turned in a total of 29,195 lake trout entries. Total for the seventh weekend which was second highest of the event came to 3,975 with Friday’s total being the second highest day of the event with 1,737, Saturday 1,356, and Sunday 882. Four thousand eight hundred of the fish total are lake trout entries from Tuesday-Thursday fishing.
Danner Shima of Kalispell has been unstoppable and is leading the top ten anglers with 1,292 entries and a 68.11 eighteen day average, 2nd place is Ryan Shima with 1,135 and a 59.6 average, 3rd Jason Mahlen of Kalispell has been moving up and has a total of 1,107 and 59.5 avg., 4th Mike Benson of Lonepine with 1,065 and 56.78, 5th Steven Benson of Four Lakes, WA 1,031 and 54.4, 6th Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 930 and 49.56, 7th Scott Bombard of Missoula with 886 and 47.17, 8th David McDaniel of Polson with 876 and 47.33, 9th Sam Cusker Whitefish with 867 and 47.56, and 10th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 758 and 40.5. Placing is done by their best eighteen day average on the last day of the event. With just the five days of the weekend competition left these anglers will be fishing as hard as they can to keep their positions or to move up in the standings.
Larry Karper of Florence is the leading “Golden Angler-70 & Over” with 661, 2nd Bob Christensen of Missoula-318, 3rd-Gary Perleberg of Bigfork with 107,, 4th Bill Violette of Missoula with 52, and 5th Ralph Johnson of Columbia Falls with 50.
Julie Vacca of Florence holds onto her lead in the Ladies Category with 275 entries. The ladies are in a tight competition for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th-Brandy Hilde of Whitefish has 137, Janine Kowalski of Missoula is in at 135, and Connie Jones of Kalispell has 134. There is also a tight race for 5th and 6th with Julie Woolley from California with 101, and Nicole Peters of Missoula with 100. Good luck ladies over the next five weekend days of the competition.
Youth Category leaders are Tyler Varga of Kalispell in the 13-19 group with 437, Leah Banyai of Kalispell has 91, and Abby Hodgson of Kalispell with 75. Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell is leading in the 12 & under group with 77, Rylan Koch of Butte has 33, and Kayne Kirwan Polson has 18.
The $10,000 tagged lake trout is still out there. There are also 3-$5,000, 4-$1,000, and over 6000 tagged lake trout with values from $100-$500. One $1,000 tagged lake trout was turned in. One hundred dollar tagged lake trout were turned in by Ryan Shima, Mike Shima and Dewey Kruse of Polson, Danner Shima, Mike Shae and Chris Shae of Kalispell, David McDaniel of Polson, Felix Gauci of Stevensville, Sam Cusker of Whitefish. The tagged fish category will end on May 14th at 3:00 when the last fish will be entered.
There is still no entry in the largest lake trout category. A $500 award goes to the largest lake trout 36” and over and weighing 24#’s or more.
The third day of the Heaviest Bucket of Fish Competition will be Sunday May 7th. Anglers place their four largest lake trout in a bucket and a weight is taken. Heaviest bucket wins $200. There will be overall prizes given for the boat with the most points.
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. There is no entry fee. Go to www.mackdays.com for more information.
(Report by Cynthia Benson)