The third weekend of 2013 Fall Mack Days fishing ended with a total of 6,777 lake trout entries turned in, which is 2,566 over the same weekends in 2012. Anglers were once again able to enjoy blue skies and calm waters as they fished Flathead Lake. Total for the third weekend-Friday-828, Saturday-1,034, and Sunday-598- was 2,460 lake trout. Mack Days continues until November 17th with fishing on Friday-Sunday until November 8th and then it is 10 continuous days of lake trout fishing. The event concludes on November 17th with the awards and a fish fry at Blue Bay.
Up to $125,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded at the end of the event which is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The events are used as a tool to reduce numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. A lottery style drawing will be held on the last day with prizes from $1,000 to $100. All it takes is one ticket to win and there are several ways to win prizes including: captain’s prizes, ladies, youth, weekend prizes, top anglers, over 70, and more. Go to www.mackdays.com for information. Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event.
Duane Irwin of Stevensville had beginners luck on Saturday turning in eleven lake trout entries. The lucky part of the entries was two of the lake trout were marked with adipose fin clips. Scanning of the fish turned up tags worth $200 and $500. Other $100 tagged fish were turned in by Terry Krogstad , Tim Mooney X 2, Jim Funke, Laurie Kreis, Phil Meredith, Mike Cosby, Ben Knipe, Deana Knipe, Steve Benson, Kim McMillie, Mike Benson X 3, Brian Arnott, Mike Dolecki, Paul Olson, and Rick Castor. Other $200 tags were turned in by Scott Bombard, Luke Carr, and Terry Krogstad. There are over 4,000 tagged lake trout in Flathead Lake. Values of the tags range from $100 to $500, 10-$1,000, 5-$5,000, & 1 $10,000 tag. Lake trout have been tagged in all areas of the lake.
Smallest fish entries are still held by Deana Knipe-Polson with a 152mm lake trout and Dan Smith-Columbia Falls- 209mm. There is no large lake trout entry. Winners of the smallest lake trout entries win $250 and winner of the largest lake trout entry is awarded $500. Largest lake trout entries have to be over 36” long and weigh over 24 pounds.
Bucket of Fish Days are three specified days anglers mark their four heaviest fish before coming in. Those four fish are then put in a bucket as the angler’s fish are counted and a weight is taken. Daily winner wins $200 and overall winners by points win additional prizes. Buckets of fish are entered by a team in a boat or shore anglers or by a single boat angler or shore angler. Leading after the first of the three days which was Friday October 11th is Meredith/Schiff-Kalispell with a weight of 21lbs.5ozs.-10pts.-2nd Kreis/Putzler-Polson with 21lbs. 2ozs.-8pts.-3rd Bob Christensen-Missoula 20lbs. 8ozs.-6pts.-4th Swaney/Incashola-Missoula/St. Ignatius 18lbs.5ozs.-4pts.-5th Mooney-Missoula 17lbs. 12ozs.-2pts. The second bucket day is Saturday-October 26th and the third day of the buckets is Sunday-November 10th.
Leading the anglers in the event is Mike Benson-Lonepine-492, Roger Dilts-Polson-427-2nd, Scott Bombard-Missoula-399-3rd, Tim Mooney-Missoula-346-4th, Max Martz-Corvallis-321-5th, Phil Meredith-Kalispell-314-6th, Danny Smith-Hot Springs-292-7th, Steve Benson-Four Lakes, Wa. -8th, Terry Krogstad-Kalispell-265-9th, Larry Ashwell-Missoula-210-10th. Top anglers will be placed at the end of the event by their best 15 day average. There are 25 days in the event. Anglers can choose to drop low days or not fish at all if fifteen is all they want. Bonus amounts that go up with an anglers total count continue for all days of the event.
Jeanee Mooney of Missoula leads the ladies with 158, Deana Knipe-Polson-92-2nd, Kim McMillie-Ronan has 61-3rd , Laurie Kreis-Huson-4th with 35, and Julie Vacca of Missoula is 5th with 34.
Eric Sams of Polson continues his lead in the 13-17 age group with 45 and Dylan Hodgson continues his in the 12 & under with 23.
Lake trout spawn in the fall and come in closer to the steep rocky shores of Flathead Lake. Fishing is good for anglers who are trolling, jigging, and casting. Some are changing techniques during the day and changing areas. Best bites are reported to be in the early morning and late afternoons.
For more information about the event go to the website www.mackdays.com or telephone 406-883-2888 ex. 7294.
(Report by Cynthia Bras; Cover & above photos via mackdays.com)