The 2017 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake began September 22nd and concludes on November 12th. Lake trout anglers have just completed the second weekend of the eight week-long event. Up to $15,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. The events are used as a management tool to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. All it takes is one fish to be entered in the event and get your name in the lottery drawings. Three hundred sixty three anglers have entered the event with ninety anglers turning in a total of 4,045 lake trout. The 2016 entries over the first two weekends came to 3,914 and 2015 entries were at 4,527. Weather plays a huge role in the events with wind having worst effect on the anglers. Sunday anglers endured wind, rain, hail, thunder, and lightning in some areas. These anglers (boat and shore) are a hardy group of people. Gaining experience over the years and the events they know how to dress for the weather, where to go when weather isn’t cooperating, and when to get off the water. Jigging for lake trout on the lake requires lines that go straight up and down with no angle to the drop of the jig for the most success. Winds make boats move and spin around making it very difficult to anchor and stay over the top of the fish. Trolling in the bumpy water makes for a rough ride with some boats seeking out calmer waters in bay area’s or in the back of islands. Friday was the nicest weather day with the fish total at 701, wind and rain brought the total on Saturday to 317, and Sunday with a little better weather but still breezy the lake trout total came to 505. The weekend total was 1,523. Tuesday-Thursday lake trout total was 489.
There is a lake trout with a $10,000 tag still out there in the lake along with three-$5,000, five-$1,000, and over 6000 with values from $500-$100. Monte McPhearson of Silverdale,WA was very lucky Tuesday-Sunday turning in two $100 tags and one $200 tagged lake trout. Other $100 tagged lake trout were turned in by Felix Gauci, Jim Flinchbaugh of Kalispell, Geroge Thompson-Missoula, Terry Krogstad X 2, and Richard Kreis of Huson.
Mike Benson of Lonepine is leading the anglers with 407 (Friday-62,Sat.-77, Sun.-83), Terry Krogstad of Kalispell 2nd with 349 (58,48,39), Felix Gauci of Stevensville 3rd-344 (61,25,77), Sam Cusker of Whitefish 4th-208 (36,5,40), 5th Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 177, 6th Larry Karper of Florence-155, 7th Richard Kreis of Huson with 124, 8th Scott Bombard of Missoula with 111, 9th John Gauci of Florence with 94, and 10th George Thompson of Missoula with 91.
Lady angler Laurie Kreis of Huson has 76 lake trout entries to lead the Ladies, 2nd Julie Woolley of Manteca, CA with 35, 3rd Bobbi Hereford of Missoula-34, 4th Gina Schiff of Whitefish with 24, and 5th Julie Vacca of Florence with 14.
Tyler Varga of Kalispell continues to lead the 13-17 Category with 48 entries and Abby Hodgson of Kalispell has turned in 5.
Larry Ashwell of Missoula is 1st in the 70 and Over Category with 177 lake trout, Larry Karper of Florence is 2nd with 155, 3rd Bob Christensen of Missoula with 66, 4th Dan Olsen of Helena with 32, and 5th Jim Hoover of Whitefish with 21.
The category for the smallest lake trout entry changed with Dan Seman of Missoula turning in a 193mm (7 5/8”) small lake trout to move Sam Cusker-198mm-out of the second place slot. There are two prizes given for the smallest lakers. The other spot is held by Felix Gauci with a 176mm (7”) lake trout.
There have been no large lake trout entries. The largest lake trout has to be alive, over 36”, and weigh 24#’s to qualify for that category.
Fish pick-ups Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are provided by staff at the Somers boat ramp 4-4:30, Wayfarers 5:00, Big Arm 4-4:30, and Salish Point 5:00. Go to the website at www.mackdays.com for more information or telephone 406-270-3386. Click on the events tab for entry page and rules.