The twenty-seventh Mack Days Fishing Event will begin on September 25th and end November 15th. Forty five days of lake trout fishing fun. Anglers will be fishing for lake trout Friday-Sunday the first weekend which begins on Friday September 25th and then will be able to fish Tuesday to Sunday until the 15th of November the last day of the event. Friday to Sunday fishing days are regular Mack Days for tickets, bonus amounts and tagged fish. Tuesday to Thursday are for bonus amounts and tagged fish only. Up to $150,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded to the lake trout anglers in the form of tagged fish, prizes, bonuses, and merchandise in the 2015 Fishing Event. Anglers from Polson to Trinidad, California and in between are signed up to fish the event. Mack Days Fishing Events are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and are used as a management tool by the tribes to reduce non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout were the dominate fish of Flathead Lake for thousands of years. Over time the native fish were reduced in numbers by an exploding population of non-native lake trout. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes are taking an active role in reducing the lake trout to benefit the native fish in Flathead Lake.
One-$10,000, three-$5,000, five-$1,000 and over 6,000-$100-$500 tagged lake trout have been released in the lake. The high dollar tagged fish have recently been tagged for the fishing contest. The 2014 Fall Event did have the lucky $10,000 fish turned in by Felix Gauci of Stevensville. Many anglers will be hoping they will be the lucky angler to catch the most sought after fish during the 2015 Fall Event.
Every angler who turns in fish receives one ticket for each fish to enter them in the lottery drawing which will be held on November 15th. There are also different categories for youth, ladies, over 70, and top ten anglers. Two weekend drawings will be held each week for $300 and $200. Captain’s prizes, largest lake trout, smallest lake trout, etc. are also categories waiting to be won. Bonus dollar increase as an anglers total increases. Bonus dollars start when an anglers turns in their eleventh fish and go up from there as they get to higher numbers. All it takes is one fish to win in the lottery drawing. Go to www.mackdays.com for more information.
Fall is a good time to fish from shore on Flathead Lake. Lake trout spawn in the fall and come in to the rocky steep drop off areas but also can be caught off docks during this time. Boat anglers will be trolling and jigging during the event depending on what is working best for them during the day. Fishing and boating tips can be found on the website or check out local tackle vendors for some of their great information. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have also produced lake trout fishing videos and a lake map for anglers that are available on the website or at the Natural Resource offices.
Bull trout identification is very important when fishing on Flathead Lake. There is ID information on the website or on the Montana FWP website. Handouts will be available at the Mack Days check in station. If an angler can-not identify a fish it is best to put it back. It is illegal to harvest bull trout in Flathead Lake and it is a requirement that any bull trout mistakenly turned in will be turned over to the proper authorities.
Be safe out there. Weather is very unpredictable on Flathead Lake. Keep informed of the forecast and be aware of changes happening on the water. Have the proper safety equipment on board. Keep your cell phone in a plastic zip lock bag. Let someone know when you will be off the lake. Remember your life vest or jacket does no good if it is not on your back.
For more information: go to www.mackdays.com or telephone 406-883-2888 or 406-270-3386.
Tight lines and good luck everyone!
(Report via Cynthia Bras)