2017 Fall Mack Days will begin on Friday September 22nd on all of Flathead Lake and will not end until Sunday November 12th. Anglers can choose to fish one day or every day (Tuesday-Sunday) during the forty five days of lake trout fishing. Up to $150,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be awarded at the conclusion of Fall Mack Days. Anglers receive a ticket for every lake trout entered. All it takes is one ticket to win in the lottery cash drawing that begins at $1,000. The events are used as a management tool to reduce the number of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the populations of bull trout and weststlope cutthroat trout that were the dominant fish of the lake for thousands of years. The native fish of the lake are an important piece of the history of the tribes and the State of Montana.
There are several ways for anglers to win in the fishing event. Separate categories for youth anglers 12 & under, 13-17, ladies, the golden oldies(70 & over) and top ten anglers. Prizes for smallest lake trout, largest lake trout, captain’s prizes, weekend prizes, etc. are available. Check out the website www.mackdays.com for information about the rules, prizes, entering, fish identification, check-in stations and times, Flathead Lake management information, plus a lot more. Entries are taken until the last day of the event and there is no entry fee. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have a special Flathead Lake Combined Use Fishing Permit for the south half of Flathead Lake available at license vendors for anglers for $13 per year.
There is a $10,000 tagged lake trout somewhere in Flathead Lake, three-$5,000, five-$1,000 and over six thousand with values from $500-$100. The tagged lake trout have the adipose fin clipped. You cannot see the tag. When the lake trout are entered at Blue Bay the fin clipped lake trout are scanned to see if there is a tag present. The $10,000 tagged lake trout was caught in the 2014 Fall Event. Nice surprise at the end of a long day of fishing to have a tagged fish especially that one.
Lake trout spawn in the fall so they do come in closer to steep rocky shorelines and shore anglers have better luck catching them. Boat anglers will be trolling and jigging for them during this event. Some days one method will work and other days you might have to switch and try another method-it depends on temperature, wind, sunlight-a lot of different things. Success seems to come to the anglers who adapt to the fish and go after them trying different methods, baits, and colors. Some days one thing will work and the next day it doesn’t any angler will tell you-just keep trying.
Anglers turn in their fish at check in stations on Friday-Sunday at the list times-see the rules- or before dark at Blue Bay headquarters. They can keep their fish or donate them to be processed. Tuesday-Thursday fish are to be turned in by 6:00 at Blue Bay only. More information is available on the website rules page.
Check out the website for boat safety information. Have the proper PFD’s on board, keep your cell phone dry, and obey all FWP and CSKT regulations.
November 12th will be the last day of the event with all fish being turned in by 3:00 when the fish fry for friends and families begins. The awards will begin at 4:00. Join in the fun-come out Tuesday-Sunday beginning September 22nd.