Mack Days anglers have completed the seventh weekend of the thirty four day Spring Fishing Event. A total of 18,475 lake trout have been entered by two hundred fifteen anglers. Fridays total was 1,542, Saturday’s rainy weather didn’t hamper many and still there were 965 entries, and Sunday weather was predicted to be windy with 30 mph gusts but anglers reported the water remained pretty calm with 883 lake trout entered bringing the weekend total to 3,390. Spring 2013 total for seven weeks came to 17,890 and the 2012 seven week total (2012 a record year) was 21,963. Seven hundred seventy eight anglers have registered for Mack Days. Entry is free and continues to open up until the last day of the event.
2014 Spring Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and are used as a fisheries management tool to reduce non-native lake trout numbers in Flathead Lake. Fisheries research done on the lake and river system indicate that the increase in the lake trout numbers in Flathead Lake is main reason the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat numbers have declined over the years. Reducing the lake trout numbers is one of the actions that the Flathead Lake Co-Management Plan set. Restoring a balance to the fishery will help the long term viability of the reduced numbers of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout that are now in the system. It is important that all anglers know how to properly ID bull trout from lake trout. The smaller fish are harder to ID and you have to look closely at them-if you are in doubt-put it back in the lake. Go to the website for information and pictures.
Todd Morigeau of Polson with a lake trout caught during Spring Mack Days
Jason Mahlen of Kalispell leads the top ten anglers with 1,058 lake trout entries. He has a 58.2 eighteen day average. Mike Benson of Lonepine is in second with 844 and 45.5 average, 3rd-Scott Bombard-Missoula-810 and 42.7, 4th-Kevin Burns-Kalispell-712 and 38.1, 5th-Steven Benson-Four Lakes, WA.-654 and 34.1, 6th-Ryan Shima with 638-no 18 day average yet, 7th-Terry Krogstad-Kalispell-616-no average, 8th-Jerry Benson-Plains-612 and 31.9, 9th-Danny Smith-Hot Springs-590 and 32.4, 10th-Robert Turner-Kalispell-584 and 34.2. Top anglers are placed by their best eighteen days out of thirty three. The last day is a separate day. Top anglers are also limited in tickets after reaching eighteen days. They have to bet their lowest day to receive tickets. Lowest days are dropped once they are used.
Danner Shima of Kalispell is first in the 13-17 age category and eleventh in the adult category with 502. He could be a challenger in the top ten angler competition. Following Danner is Garett Vaughan of Charlo with 283, 3rd-Roger Guillory of Kalispell-212, 4th-Kobe Cox of Charlo with 185, 5th-Austin Shima with 126. Matt Guckenberg of Kalispell is 1st in the 12 & under group with 150, 2nd Abby Hodgson-Kalispell with 57, 3rd-Aaron Lang-Kalispell with 29.
The ladies have Julie Vacca of Florence leading with 92 and Abby Hodgson follows with 57, and 3rd-Connie Jones of Kalispell.
Larry Karper of Florence is leading the 70 and Over group with 335, 2nd is Conn Hodgson-Kalispell with 226, 3rd-Roger Smart-Ronan with 80, 4th Jens Gran of Polson with 33, and 5th-Ralph Johnson of Columbia Falls with 18.
Jason Mahlen Mack Days leader- Kalispell- with a small lake trout entry of 7 ½ inches.
Jason Mahlen turned in a small fish entry of 193mm just over 7 ½” to be placed in second in that category. Chris Demmons of Missoula is leading with a 191-7 ½” lake trout entry. Largest lake trout entry is Danner Shimas 40.5” and 25 1/2lb laker.
Turning tagged fish with $100 tags were Matt Guckenberg x 2, Mark Lang, Kevin Burns, Conn Hodgson, Doug Hodgson x 2, Terry Krogstad, Robert Turner-Kalispell, Danny Smith-Hot Springs x 2, Walter Wells and Justin Colston of Salmon, ID., and Chad Cottet-Polson. Connie Jones of Kalispell had a $200 tagged fish in her catch of lake trout. There is one $10,000 tagged lake trout two-$5,000, five-$1,000 and over five thousand with values from $100-$500 that are still out there in Flathead Lake.
For more information about the event, fishing tips, bull trout ID, etc. go to www.mackdays.com or telephone 406-883-2888 ex. 7294.
(Report by Cynthia Bras-Benson)