The 2020 Fall event will be one week longer, because the 2020 Spring Event was shortened, due to COVID. The 2020 Fall Mack Days event will begin Tuesday, September 8th and will end Sunday, November 15th. Fish one day or every day, every lake trout entered gives you a chance to win! There will be Up to $200,000 in Cash and Prizes awarded at the conclusion of the event. Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and are used as a management tool to reduce non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake.
Where else can you go fishing and be so lucky to catch a $10,000 tagged lake trout? Your closest lake trout fishing spot to do that is right here on Flathead Lake during 2020 Fall Mack Days event. There have been two $10,000 lake trout winners! Felix Gauci, of Stevensville was the angler who caught the first $10,000 tagged lake trout in October 25, 2014, Felix ended the event with 910 lake trout entries. Matt Guckenberg Sr. of Kalispell caught the second $10,000 tagged lake trout on June 19, 2020. He received the news from a telephone with a chorus of fillet staff voices hollering in the background “$10,000 lake trout”. Matt finished the event with a total of 892 lake trout entries.
Tagging non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake for the bi-annual Mack Days fishing events, began in 2007 with only two tagged fish turned in at the end of the event. Since 2007, a total of 2,276 tagged lake trout have been turned in. The record number for tagged fish during an event was during the 2012 Spring Event when 207 tagged lake trout were scanned. The 2020 Spring Event had a total of 71 tagged fish scanned. The high dollar tagged lake trout are tagged a week or two before each event. Tagged fish not caught during previous events are revalued to $100-$500 values. For the 2020 Fall Mack Days event, there is one with the $10,000 tag, 3 tags worth $5,000, and 5 tags worth $1,000.
It could be an angler who catches one fish from a boat or the dock, it could be someone who fishes a few days, or it could be someone who is out there every single day and catches hundreds of lake trout. If you enjoy fishing, it’s time to try your luck, it could be you! Sometimes all it takes is one fish to win. One lucky fish entry in 2011 Spring Mack Days earned Columbia Falls angler Greg Vogel $1,000 cash prize. Roxanna Colman-Herak was fishing from a dock in the 2016 during the Spring Event, she turned in 5 lake trout, and one was a tagged fish worth $1,000.
Sometimes, it takes more fish to win, therefore helping us reduce non-native lake trout numbers within Flathead Lake. During the 2017 Spring Event, Mike Shae’s total catch was 83 lake trout, along with a $1,000 winning tagged fish. Roger Schiff of Columbia Falls caught a $5,000 tagged lake trout in 2013 Fall-lucky day for him. His total for the event came to 111. During the 2011 Fall Event, Max Martz of Stevensville’s total catch was 803 lake trout, he also caught a tagged fish worth $1,000. Another hard core angler, Steven Benson of Four Lakes Washington turned in 1,071 lake trout along with a $1,000 tagged lake trout.
Anglers earn bonus dollars once they enter 10 or more lake trout. As the fish total goes up the bonus amount goes up. Each entry also give you chances to win $1,000-$400 in a lottery drawing at the end of the event or win one of the many other cash prizes. Top twenty anglers compete for prizes from $900 to $100. There will be 50-$100 weekend drawings and many other ways to win. Entries are taken until the last day of the event and there is no entry fee. If you enter before September 4th and enter at least one lake trout you qualify for one $200 Early Bird Drawing.
Check out the rules and enter online at www.mackdays.com. Click on the events tab at the top of the page. Be sure and learn the different ways to identify bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Those are the native fish protected in Flathead Lake-the reason for reducing the non-native lake trout-increasing the populations of the native fish is important to the history and culture of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the people of Montana.
Good luck and tight lines everyone!