2019 Spring Mack Days Update: Week 3
By angelamontana

Posted: April 8, 2019

The third weekend of the 2019 Spring Mack Days on Flathead Lake sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes ended with a total of 13,549 lake trout entries that have been turned in by one hundred forty eight lake trout anglers. This event is used to reduce the nonnative lake trout in Flathead Lake.  Currently, four hundred sixty nine anglers have entered this year’s event.

Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded on May 19th during the fish fry event at the BlueBay headquarters.  Fridays total came to 1,873, Saturday was a cooler day with 1,215 entries, and a blustery Sunday total with rain and wind came to 1,044. Wet cold anglers were coming off the water early on Sunday. There was snow in the higher elevations around the lake making the breeze cold and biting through damp clothing. Anglers will also be fishing Tuesdays through Sundays until the end of the event. Tuesday-Thursday are for totals and tagged lake trout. Friday to Sunday is the main competition for prizes and cash for the event.

The famous $10,000 tagged lake trout is still in the depths of the lake. He was nicknamed Bubbles by Mountain Wahl of the Fisheries Staff-and he is still the most wanted fish in Flathead Lake along with other lake trout that have tags valued at $5,000-3, $1,000-5, and over 9000 with $500-$100 tags. Steve Benson of Spokane Valley, WA was very fortunate and turned in lake trout with $500, $200, and $100 values over the week. Steve thought he was doing well and the $10,000 tagged fish would be next in line but his mojo ran out and the last tagged fish he turned in was $100, but still welcome.

Cory Speer of Spirit Lake ID was lucky on Friday catching 2-$200 tagged lake trout plus his rod and reel was retrieved from the rocky bottom of the lake by fishing partner Ron Timlick of Kalispell after it went over the edge of the boat. William Zimmerman, Missoula angler and David McDaniel of Polson also turned in $200 tagged lake trout. David Perleberg of Bigfork, and Kalispell anglers Matt Guckenberg, Ken Varga, and Tyler Varga  (2-$100), and angler Larry Karper of Florence all turned in $100 tagged lake trout.  Another rescue cast by Matt Guckenberg Sr ended with Matt Jr’s line retrieved on Sunday along with the lake trout that pulled it out.

Moving into first place in the Top Ten Angler Category is an angler who has been coming up through the ranks the past couple of years, Kolton Turner of Kalispell has turned in 677 lake trout entries.  Jason Mahlen, of Kalispell is in second place with 670 entries.  Third place is Mike Benson of Lonepine, with 571 entries.  Fourth place is David McDaniel of Polson, with 552 entries.  Fifth place is Bob Turner of Kalispell, with 501entries.  Sixth place is Ken Varga of Kalispell, with 472 entries.  Seventh place is Tyler Varga of Kalispell, with 439 entries.  Eighth place is Jerry Benson of Plains, with 423 entries, and tied anglers sitting in ninth  and tenth place are Matt Guckenberg of Kalispell and Scott Bombard of Missoula, both with 363 entries.  Totals can change fast during the event, daily limit of lake trout is 100 per day. Turning in 100 the past weekend were Jason Mahlen, Felix Gauci, and Ken Varga. Anglers say to catch your daily limit, everything has to go just right.

Lady angler Julie Perkins of Kalispell has 176 entries to lead the Ladies Category.  Leah Banyai of Kalispell is in second place, with 149 entries.  Connie Jones of Kalispell has 49 entries for third place, Debbie Paine of Polson has 32 entries for fourth place, and fifth place angler Courtney Chisler of Kalispell has turned in 24 lake trout entries.

Golden Angler Larry Karper of Florence has the lead in the 70 & Over group with 195 entries.  Second and third place goes to Larry Ashwell of Missoula and John Gauci of Florence with 113 entries. Gary Perleberg of Bigfork is in fourth place with 97entries, and Bob Christensen of Missoula is sitting in 5th place with 17 entries.

The 12 & Under group still has Fisher Whitaker of Kalispell leading with 22, Gunner Whitaker has 10 for second, Brodie Smith of Missoula has 8 for third, HD of Arlee has 5 for fourth, 5 place is Mike Ross of Stevensville with 3 entires.

Matt Guckenberg Jr. is in the lead in the 13-17 Category with 166, Leah Banyai has 149, and Abby Hodgson of Kalispell has 17, John Ross Jr. of Stevensville has 3, and Austen Elverud of St. Ignatius has 2.

There is still a lot of time to come out and be a part of 2019 Spring Mack Days. Six weeks of lake trout fishing left in this event which started out fifty four days long. Fish all of Flathead Lake. All it takes is one fish to be entered. You can fish one day or every day. Go to www.mackdays.com for information-click on the events tab for entry, Fish ID, prizes, etc. Entries will continue to be accepted until the last day.

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have a special permit available to anyone for fishing the south half of the lake. You can fish recreational or you can be a serious angler, go out before the light of day, and stay out until just about dark. Jigging is the preferred method of angling in the spring with numbers of smaller fish higher. Check out the fishing tips/videos on the website. For questions, call 406-883-2888 ext. 7294 or 406-270-3386.  Good luck fishing!

(via Stephanie Gillin)