Two weekends left to go in 2018 Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake. It is not too late to enter and get your name in the lottery drawing that begins at $1,000 and goes to $450. All it takes is one fish entry for your name to go on a winning ticket or maybe the fish will be one of the tagged lake trout that have values from $10,000 to $100. There is one-$10,000, three-$5,000, five-$1,000 and over 6,000 with values from $500-$100. Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be awarded on the last day of the event.
The water on the north end of the lake is showing the effects of the spring runoff. The murky water is pushing many anglers to the more southern parts of the lake. Anglers may have to move from some of their favorite fishing holes to areas that have clearer water. Debris from the runoff is reported to be moving into the middle parts of the lake and anglers are having to move carefully through it. A total of one hundred ninety eight anglers have turned in 29,636 lake trout entries. Friday the total was 1,673, Saturday 1,161, and Sunday 1,017. Total in 2017 at this time in the competition was 29,156.
Mack Days are used as a tool to reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the numbers of native bull trout and native westslope cutthroat trout.
Kalispell angler Jason Mahlen- is still leading the Top Ten Angler category. Anglers have discussed his fishing technique and all agree-there is no one who fishes like him. He has the touch and the finesse that is hard to replicate according to second place angler Mike Benson. He can catch fish when no one else is getting a bite. He uses the same bait, lures, etc. as everyone else. Jason has turned in eight perfect 100 days out of twenty one days of fishing. His total with five days left in the competition is 1,617 and his average is 86.61 which is better than his record of 85.8 set in 2016 with a total catch of 1,818. Mike Benson is 2nd with 1,450 and an eighteen day average of 77.83, 3rd Steve Benson of Spokane Valley WA with 1,066 and 58.67, 4th Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 959 and 53.28, Kolton Turner of Kalispell is 5th with 934 and 50.89, 6th David McDaniel of Polson with 930 and 51.11, 7th Sam Cusker of Bigfork with 904 and 50.22, Ken Varga of Kalispell is 8th with 788 and 43.78, 9th Matt Guckenberg of Kalispell with 772 and 42.56, and 10th is Tyler Varga of Kalispell with 756-no average.
Reminder to anglers: 100 on a counter might not be the same when fish are actually counted in at the end of the day. Tough lesson to learn after 13 hours of hard fishing and thinking it was a 100 fish day, but to the two anglers who laughed at each other’s 99 it was a good and funny lesson. Next time they will not rely only on the counter. It was still a good day of fishing.
Brandy Hilde of Bigfork is holding onto her led in the Ladies Category with 239, 2nd Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 217, 3rd Julie Woolley of Mantera CA with 209, Debbie Paine of Polson has 56, and Connie Jones of Kalispell has 49.
Tyler Varga of Kalispell has a total of 756 in the 17-13 category. Leah Banyai of Kalispell is in second with 58, Abby Hodgson-Kalispell-22, Rylan Koch-Butte-20, and Logan Lang-Kalispell-15. Matt Guckenberg Jr.-Kalispell is 1st in the 12 and Under group with 292, 2nd Brodie Smith of Kalispell with 49, Tripp Bick-Arlee-31, Emmett Ludahl-Kalispell-25, and Fjord Borgan-Columbia Falls-15.
The 70 and Over anglers 1st place holder is Larry Karper with 716, 2nd Gary Perleberg of Bigfork with 320, 3rd John Gauci of Florence with 251, Larry Ashwell of Missoula is 4th with 235, and 5th Conn Hodgson of Kalispell with 76.
There are twelve days left for anglers to fish Tuesday-Sunday. The event ends on May 13th with awards and a fish fry that begin at 3:00. All entries are to be in by that time. The last day is a separate day from the competitive days of the event with its own prizes but tagged fish and bonus totals still will add up.
Catching $100 tags the past week were: Felix Gauci X 2, Steve Benson, Bob Turner-Kalispell, Hank McLeod-Kalispell, Mike Benson, Sam Cusker, Chris Kirwan of Polson, Richard Kreis-Huson, Travis Banyai-Kalispell, Randy Hovet-Charlo, Matt Guckenberg, Jerry Benson-Plains. Tags with $200 values were turned in by Mike Benson, Larry Ashwell, Felix Gauci, and Ken Varga.
Weekend winners of $100 were Gene Corne, Jason Mahlen, Larry Ashwell, David McDaniel, and Conn Hodgson.
For more information go to www.mackdays.com or telephone 406-270-3386.