Up to $150,000 in Cash and Prizes are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in the 2017 Fall Fishing Event on Flathead Lake which is used as a management tool to slowly reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout and increase the numbers of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout which were the dominant fish of the lake for thousands of years. The 2017 Fall Event is the beginning of the sixteenth year of using the events for that purpose. There are three hundred fifteen anglers registered in the event so far with seventy three anglers turning in a total of 2,033 lake trout the first weekend. That compares with the 2016 first weekend total of 2,099 and 2015 with 2,395 lake trout entries. All it takes is one fish to be entered and win in the lottery style drawing at the conclusion of the event. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have available a special Flathead Lake Combined Use and Fishing Permit for the south half of the lake for anyone for $13 per year.
Fall came in with a fury the first day of the 2017 Fall Mack Days. Strong swirling winds made for rough water on Flathead Lake most of the day on Friday September 22nd. The anglers were anxious to hit the water and many rode it out the choppy waves. The afternoon wind calmed down making the fishing much easier for the anglers the rest of the day. A total of 514 lake trout entries were turned in with Terry Krogstad of Kalispell top angler of the day with eighty lake trout entries. Felix Gauci of Stevensville came in with forty four entries for second highest of the day, and Sam Cusker of Whitefish had a fifty six total. Saturdays total came to 832 entries with Mike Benson of Lonepine turning the high number for the day with eighty five lake trout entries, Felix was second highest with seventy seven and Terry came in with fifty six. Saturday and Sunday were much calmer, warmer, sunny fishing days. Sundays total was 687 bringing the weekend total to 2,033 with Benson turning in seventy, Krogstad had sixty eight, and Gauci with sixty.
There is a $10,000 tagged lake trout, three $5,000, and five $1,000 plus over 6000 with values from $500-$100. You cannot see the tags but you can see if the adipose fin is clipped. If it is it could possibly be a tagged lake trout that will be scanned for a tag when entered. There were three $100 tags turned in the first weekend by John Gauci and Mike Benson turned in one on Saturday and another on Sunday.
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. There are several ways to win. Go to www.mackdays.com for information. Click the events tab for entry, rules, fish ID, etc. or telephone 406-2770-3386. We encourage anglers to know how to identify bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. The native fish cannot be harvested from Flathead Lake. For information go to the website or pickup fish ID information at the CSKT Natural Resources Office, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, or at Blue Bay headquarters.
Leading the anglers in totals is: Terry Krogstad with 204, 2nd Mike Benson-185, 3rd Felix Gauci-181, 4th Sam Cusker-127, 5th Larry Ashwell of Missoula-126, 6th Larry Karper of Florence-96, 7th John Gauci of Florence with 71, 8th Dan Seman of Missoula-61, 9th George Thompson of Missoula-57, and 10th Morgan Amdahl of Kalispell with 53.
The Ladies Category leader is Laurie Kreis of Huson with 44, Bobbi Hereford of Missoula is second with 23, 3rd Julie Wooley of Manteca, Ca. with 15, 4th and 5th Gina Schiff of Whitefish and Julie Vacca of Missoula-14.
Larry Ashwell a new comer to the 70 and Over category is leading with 126 lake trout entries, Larry Karper has 96, Bob Christensen of Missoula-26, Dan Olsen of Helena-25, and Dennis Grapp of Florence has 12.
Tyler Varga of Kalispell turned in 48 entries to lead the 13-17 age category over Abby Hodgson of Kalispell who has 5 entries.
The first weekend drawing winners-which were drawn by staff with observers present were Mike Benson and Terry Krogstad. Two winners are drawn each weekend out of the weekend tickets. First name drawn is a $300 winner and second is $200. Anglers are limited to winning twice in the weekend drawings. Having just one ticket in the weekend ticket bin makes any angler eligible to win.
Anglers can fish all of Flathead Lake for lake trout Tuesday through Sunday during the event. Tuesday-Thursday fish are to be turned in at Blue Bay before 6:00 in the evening. Friday through Sunday there are fish pickup sites at the Big Arm State Park boat ramp from 4:00 to 4:30 and Salish Point 5:00 to 5:30 only if you call and let us know you are bringing in fish. We are also picking up at Somers 3:30 to 4:30 and Wayfarers 5:00 to 5:30.