2022 Spring Mack Days began on Thursday March 17th with a total of 669 lake trout turned in. Fridays fish total was 1,077, Saturday’s was 888, and 528 fish were turned in on a cold and blustery Sunday. The first weekends total including Thursday comes to 3,162 lake trout entries. Ninety-two anglers out of four hundred thirty entered turned in one or more lake trout.
The 40th Mack Days Event is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Mack Days began in 2002 and are used as a tool to reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake to increase numbers of the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat. We read every day about native species in the world struggling to survive. The same struggles are happening in our water’s, the decline of the native species when introduced species like the lake trout are added into a system. Flathead Lake was historically a bull trout and westslope trout fishery. Now those fish populations are a small portion of where they once were. It is important to help increase the populations now for future generations.
There is Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of 2022 Spring Mack Days. There are many ways to win including weekend drawings. This first weekend $200 was won by angler Sam Cusker of Bigfork. One hundred dollar winners were: Bob Turner, Kolton Turner, Hank McLeod, and Jason Mahlen all of Kalispell. There will be lottery drawings at the end of the event with prizes from $50 up to $2,000 being drawn from the entries all anglers have. All it takes is one entry to win. Tagged lake trout from $10,000-1, $5,000-3, $1,000-5 plus one $1,000 sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine of Missoula and over 9,000 with values from $100 to $500 are another way to win in the events.
Winning $200 with tagged lake trout so far are: Missoula anglers Scott Bombard and Chris Demmons, Kalispell anglers Jimmy Jones and Jason Mahlen, Kobe Cox from Charlo, and Justin Spring of Alberton. Jim Bilodeau of Kalispell turned in a $100 tagged lake trout. All of the prizes that are available are listed on the website www.mackdays.com. Click on the events tab at the top of the page and go to the rules page. The prizes help anglers with the expenses of coming out to be involved in the event. All anglers who enter eleven or more lake trout begin to accumulate bonus dollars also. The chart for the bonus dollars is listed on the rules page also. Amounts go up for every 25 fish an angler enters.
Seven-time Spring Mack Days winner Jason Mahlen of Kalispell turned in two perfect 100 fish days Friday and Saturday and another 40 fish entries on Sunday to lead in the event with a total of 240. Kolton Turner of Kalispell who won the 2021 Spring Event is in 2nd with 210 entries. Kolton turned in 70 on Friday, 65 Saturday, and 75 Sunday. He had a 100 fish day on Thursday, Monday-Thursdays count does not get included in the weekend tallies for the Top Angler’s. Bob Turner is in 3rd with 178 fish, 4th Mike Benson of Lonepine with160 fish, 5th Sam Cusker has 125 fish, 6th Larry Karper of Florence, with 107 fish, 7th Larry Ludahl of Kalispell with 83 fish, 8th Travis Banyai of Kalispell with 74 fish, 9th Tom Kemppainen of Columbia Falls with 66 fish, 10th Steven Benson of Spokane Valley, WA with 64 lake trout entries.
Julie Perkins of Kalispell leads the Ladies with 12 lake trout entries, 2nd Connie Jones of Kalispell with 9 fish, 3rd and 4th Rebecca Spring of Alberton and Liev Smith of Charlo with 2 fish and Angela Tennison of Kalispell has 1 lake trout entry.
12 & Under leaders are Wyatt Best of Florence with 5 entries and Gage Spring of Alberton has 1 lake trout entry.
13-17 leader is Matt Guckenberg Jr of Kalispell with 12 fish, 2nd and Karson Cox of Charlo has 3 lake trout entries.
Over 70 category leader is Mike Benson with 160 lake trout entries, 2nd Larry Karper with 107 fish, 3rd Larry Ashwell of Missoula 60 fish, 4th Jack Kirkland of Missoula 45 fish, and Florence angler John Gauci is 5th with 28 lake trout.
A large lake trout entry was brought in by Tristin Persico of Missoula. Tristan’s lake trout measured 38.25 inches and weighed in at 23 pounds. Smallest lake trout entries so far are from Kolton Turner with a 169mm (6.5”) entry and Mike Benson with a 208mm (8”) entry.
Entries will be taken until the last day. Come out and enjoy Flathead Lake angling. You could be a winner for any of the lottery prizes, tagged fish, and other prizes. It takes anglers working to help get to numbers we need to make a difference. One fish or hundreds-it takes every one. For More information, visit www.mackdays.com or call Cindy Benson @ (406) 270-3386.
Tight lines everyone!