2019 Spring Mack Days Update: Week 6
By angelamontana

Posted: April 29, 2019

Only 110 lake trout separate the Top Ten Anglers Jason Mahlen and Kolten Turner in the 2019 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event. Limits of lake trout on Flathead Lake are one hundred per day so totals could change in a hurry!  This year anglers have turned in thirty-one perfect one hundred fish days. There are 564 anglers registered for this year’s event, and 181 of those anglers have turned in one or more lake trout entries.

Always be weather conscious.  We remind anglers that no fish is worth risking your safety-make good decisions always. This year, windy springtime weather, along with boat motor issues have caused problems for anglers, both affecting the top three angler’s total entries over the weekend.  The Turner boat had motor and wind issues on Saturday limiting their totals for Saturday.  Kolten caught eleven and his Dad Bob caught one when their boat motor issue ended their fishing for the weekend.  The Mahlen boat ran into big wind issues on Sunday along with other anglers that ventured or tried to venture out into the white capping water.  Jason and Scott each caught two when they decided there would be better days on the lake.  Friday there was thunder and lightning, wind, and cold rain that anglers dealt with. They still were reeling in the lake trout when many made the decision to come off the water a little early when the bad weather intensified including lady angler Julie Perkins who had a total of 97, so close to the daily limit.  Her fishing partner Terry Krogstad already had 100 in the cooler. We hope that Julie will have another chance for the one hundred fish limit day!

A total of 1,728 lake trout entries were turned in on Friday. Saturday’s windy total came to 597 and Sunday with snow, wind, and white capping waves the total was eighty-eight. Seventy-one of the eighty-eight came from third place angler David McDaniel of Polson who was able to stay anchored and totaled seventy-one fish for that wild rough day on the water.  McDaniel had water in the gas tank on his boat Friday and choose to stay off the water Saturday to work on the boat. Being safe on the water is most important and keeping boats in good working condition keeps anglers out on the water and gets them back safely at the end of the day.

Total entries for the weekend was 2,413 lake trout and for the first six weeks, the overall total is 27,069, which is 2,266 more lake trout than is time last year.  There are three weekends left in the event, which ends on May 19th. It is not too late to enter and get tickets in the lottery drawing.

Top lady angler Julie Perkins of Kalispell has a total of 466 fish. She turned in 97 on Friday, 20 on Saturday, and one on Sunday.  In second place, Leah Banyai of Kalispell has 284 fish, 3rd is Debbie Paine of Polson with 88 fish, 4th is Connie Jones of Kalispell with 70 fish, and 5th is Lisa Cloo of Clinton with 47 lake trout entries.

Jason Mahlen is leading the Top Ten Anglers with 1,379 lake trout entries, with a 87.8 average. In 2nd place is Kolton Turner with 1,278 fish and 84.4 average.  In 3rd place is David McDaniel with 1,099 fish and 69.8 average.  In 4th place is Bob Turner with 1,020 fish and 68 average.  In 5th place is Mike Benson of Lonepine with 910 fish and 59.9 average.  In 6th place is Ken Varga of Kalispell with 827 fish and 55.1 average.  In 7th place is Jerry Benson of Plains with 803 fish and 53.2 average. In 8th place is Scott Mahlen with 774 fish and 51.4 average. In 9th place is Tyler Varga-742 fish and 49.4 average, and in 10th place is Matt Guckenberg of Kalispell has 676 fish and no fifteen day average yet. Top ten anglers are placed on their best fifteen-day average at the end of the last Saturday of the event. The last day of the event-Sunday-has separate prizes but totals do count on the final total.

Larry Karper of Florence is in the lead in the 70 & Over group with 361 lake trout entries, In 2nd place is Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 310 fish.  In 3rd place is Gary Perleberg of Bigfork with 237 fish.  In 4th place is John Gauci of Florence with 137 fish, and in 5th place is Roger Brewer of Kalispell with 33 lake trout entries.

Brodie Smith is leading the 12 & under group with 43 entries.  Fjord Borgen of Columbia Falls has 37 fish entries, Fisher Whitaker of Kalispell has entered 33 fish, HD of Arlee has 17 fish, and Gunner Whitaker of Kalispell has 12 lake trout entries.

Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell is leading the 17 & under group with 426 fish. Abby Hodgson of Kalispell has 20 fish, Wyatt Thompson of Bigfork is at 5 fish, Emmett Ludahl of Kalispell has 4 fish, and John Ross Jr.  of Stevensville is at 3 lake trout entries.

That $10,000 tagged lake trout is still out there. So are the three $5,000 and five $1,000 tagged fish along with over 9,000 with values from $500 to $100. Turning in $100 tagged lake trout were Tom Kemmpainen of Columbia Falls, Dave Hoback of Arlee, Matt Guckenberg Jr. and Kolten Turner of Kalispell. Three $200 tagged lake trout were turned in by Scott Mahlen of Kalispell, Jack Kirkland of Missoula, and Matt Guckenberg Jr.

There has not been a large lake trout entry in the event so far.

The last day of the Bucket of Fish category is Sunday May 5th.

The 2019 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and is sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event on May 19th. To find out more about the event go to the website www.mackdays.com and click on the events tab for rules, fish ID, entry, etc. Mack Days events-spring and fall-are used as a tool to reduce numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout.

Think spring, come out, and join the anglers fishing in the 2019 Spring Mack Days Event. For more information go to the website or telephone 406-270-3386 or 406-883-2888 ex. 7282 or 7294.

—cskt—