One hundred ninety four 2015 Spring Mack Days anglers have turned in a total of 10,623 lake trout entries so far in the fifty one day event. One thousand five hundred twenty eight of those fish were caught during the Tues-Thurs fishing days. Nine thousand ninety five were caught during the Friday-Sunday fishing days. The 2014 Spring Event in the first three weekends saw a total of 7,589 lake trout entries caught by one hundred fifty eight anglers. All of the anglers from those competing for the top ten angler prizes, those who are trying to improve their skills and numbers for personal best days, or those out for a fun day of fishing are all vying for cash or merchandise prizes in the event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. There is Up to $225,000 in Cash in Prizes being sponsored in this event. The 2015 Event is several days longer than in the past and numbers of fish will be higher increasing anglers potential for bonus amounts and tagged fish amount. Mack Days Fishing Events are used as a tool to reduce numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake.
None of the highly sought after tagged fish with values of $1,000 to $10,000 have been caught so far in the event. There has been forty four tagged fish turned in so far with values from $100-$500. There are over 5,000 tagged lake trout in the lake. Debbie Pike of Polson added a $100 tag to her previously caught $500 tagged fish. Felix Gauci of Stevensville added to his $100 and 2-$200 tag total another $100 tagged fish. Felix lost a pole overboard on Saturday. Losing a fishing pole can feel like losing a friend. Sometimes you see it go overboard, you just can’t quite get there in time, and you watch as it sinks down into the darkness of the water. He had laid it down, a fish hit the lure, and he watched it go overboard. Felix tried to snag it with another pole and lure but gave up on finding is after several minutes of trying. An hour and a half later he felt something funny as he was reeling in a line and he found another fishing line tangled with his. He quickly grabbed it and pulled it in hand over hand. He found a lake trout at one end of the line which happened to be tagged and his fishing pole at the other end. What luck? This is the same angler who caught the $10,000 tagged fish in the 2014 Fall Event. Good day for Felix. After hours out on the water anglers who are lucky enough to get a tagged fish don’t feel quite as exhausted as they did when they came in to turn their fish in. Other anglers who caught one hundred dollar tagged fish over the week were Steve Benson, Mike Benson, Travis Banyai, Tim Vacca, Tyson Cottet, Mike Shima, Bob Turner, Larry Karper, Kevins Burns, Tony Martin, Darrin Borgen, and Aaron Lang.
Ryan Shima-Kalispell holds first in the top angler category with 483, 2nd Jason Mahlen-Kalispell-458, 3rd-Steve Benson-Four Lakes, WA-389, 4th Danner Shima-Kalispell-386, 5th and 6th Felix Gauci-Stevensville and Mike Benson-Lonepine-304, 7th-Larry Karper-Florence-295, 8th-Scott Bombard-Missoula-277, 9th-John Gauci-Florence-265, and 10th-Mike Shima-Polson-259.
Danner Shima also is in first in the 13-17 category with 386, 2nd-Kobe Cox-Charlo-104, 3rd-Jade Smith-Charlo-43, 4th-Garett Vaughan-Charlo-37, 5th-Dylan Hodgson and Christopher Shae-Kalispell with 26.
The 12 & Under group has Matt Guckenberg-Kalispell in the lead with 38, Abby Hodgson-Kalispell is second with 30, Tripp Bick of Arlee is third with 21, and 4th & 5th is Kieran Incashola-St. Ignatius and Karson Cox-Charlo with 9.
The ladies competition is close with Debbie Pike of Polson in first with 82, Julie Vacca of Florence second with 80, Nicole Peters-Missoula is third with 48, Jane Ramey-Florence fourth with 39, and Abby Hodgson is fifth with 30.
70 and Over Catgory-1st-Larry Karper with 295, 2nd Jim Hoover-Whitefish-62, 3rd-Ralph Johnson-Columbia Falls-60, 4th Jim Miller Missoula-43, and 5th Tom Shonholtzer and Jens Gran-Polson with 25.
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. Go to www.mackdays.com for information about fish identification, fishing tips, entry form, etc.
(Report by Cynthia Bras)