If you’ve got time, there’s no place better to spend it than on Flathead Lake! There are two weekends left of the nine-week long 2022 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event. Anglers continue to have to work harder than usual to bring lake trout entries in but for many of them fishing is not just a sport it is a way of life and they love being out on the water catching lake trout!
Sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks there is Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event, on May 15th. There are many ways to win and it’s easy to qualify by entering lake trout for the lottery drawings. Each fish gives anglers a chance to win. The lottery drawings start at $100 and goes up to $2,000. Check out the different ways to win at www.mackdays.com.
2022 Spring Mack Days anglers have turned in a total of 17,214 lake trout entries. Over the past weekend, Friday’s total was 888, Saturday’s total was 736, and Sunday’s total came to 634 for an overall weekend total of 2,258 lake trout.
The anglers say the fish are ignoring their best lures and attempts at getting them to bite so it is a little tougher getting a cooler of fish. Weather over the weekend end was calmer and warmer. With the warmer weather the reports are that the spring thaw is beginning and the water on the north end of the lake is getting murky at the mouth of the river. Sometimes that means good fishing, so we hope that has begun!
Anglers receive bonus dollars once they have 10 lake trout entered. For 11-30 entries an angler will receive $45, 31-50 entries-$88, and on up every 25 fish entered. Bonus dollars are designed to help pay expenses for anglers who spend hours upon hours on the water bringing the lake trout in using their boats, equipment, gas, and time. The events are an important part of the goal to reduce the numbers of the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake.
There is still a $10,000 tagged lake trout in the water. “The Captain” is one lucky lake trout so far. The other high dollar tagged lake-3-$5,000 and 5-$1,000 plus one $1,000 sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine of Missoula along with over 9,000 with values from $500 down to $100 are also out there. Tagged lake trout make any angler smile at the end of the day. Turning in a $100 tagged lake trout was Mike Colyer of Missoula.
Winning the last of the Bucket Days was Chris and Jennifer Demmons of Missoula with a bucket of four lake trout that weighed in at twenty pounds. The Demmons boat won the overall Bucket Day with 30 points. It had the heaviest bucket all three days. Rick Skates of Polson had the second heaviest bucket on Sunday at 19.25 pounds, and Mike Colyer of Missoula was third with 13.55 pounds.
The Top Twenty Angler Category leader is Kolton Turner of Kalispell with 1192 entries and a 61.72 18 day average (Fri=71, Sat=74 and Sun=72), in 2nd place is Jason Mahlen of Kalispell with 1136 and 59.78 avg.(F=62, Sat=61, Sun=43), in 3rd place is Bob Turner of Kalispell with 930 and a 48.78 avg.(F=70, Sat=58, Sun=29), in 4th place is Steven Benson of Spokane Valley with 567 and 30.67 avg. (Fri=25,Sat=5,Sun=28), in 5th place is Sam Cusker of Bigfork with 552 and a 32.47 avg. (Fri=50,Sat=40,Sun=37), in 6th place is Clint Speer of Columbia Falls with 547 and 29.33 avg, in 7th place is Jerry Benson Plains with 480 and 26.33 avg., 8th place is Mike Benson of Lonepine with 468 & no 18 day avg, 9th place is Larry Karper of Florence with 464 and 25.78 avg, 10th place is Travis Banyai of Lakeside with 441 and 23.83 avg, 11th place is Hank McLeod of Kalispell with 386, 12th place is Scott Bombard of Missoula with 387, 13th place is Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 377, 14th place is Andy Reed of Kalispell with 347, 15th place is Gene Corne of Kalispell with 321, 16th place is Tom Kemppainen of Kalispell with 302, 17th place is Larry Ludahl of Kalispell with 298, 18th place is Jack Kirkland of Missoula with 296, 19th place is Matthew Brazda of Missoula with 257, and in 20th place is Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 247 lake trout entries.
The Ladies Leader is Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 216, Connie Jones of Kalispell is second with 76, 3rd place is Rebecca Spring of Alberton with 18, Ia Thao-Missoula is in 4th place with 11, and Amanda Hoback of Arlee is 5th with 5 lake trout entries.
Leading the 13-17 anglers is Matt Guckenberg Jr of Kalispell with 59, Brodie Smith of Kalispell has 37, Karson Cox of Charlo has 6, and Michael Palmer of Kalispell has 2. The 12 & Under leader is Wyatt Best of Florence with 6, Gage Spring of Alberton has 4, Tripp Bick of Arlee, Martin Phan of Kalispell, Allydia Yang and Ava Yang of Missoula are all at 2, Henry Phan of Kalispell and Bridgett Reed of Kalispell each have one entry.
The Golden Oldies-70 & Over leader is Mike Benson of Lonepine 468, Larry Karper of Florence 2nd with 464, 3rd Larry Ashwell of Missoula 377, 4th Jack Kirkland of Missoula 296, and 5th John Gauci of Florence with 44.
Weekend Winners: $200-Gene Corne of Kalispell and $100 winner were Larry Karper, Dewey Kruse of Polson, McIntyre Murphy of Plains, and Carey Hauser of Kalispell.
Jason Mahlen turned in a small lake trout of 154mm (6”) to take second so far in that category. Sam Cusker leads it with a 126mm lake trout. Smallest fish have to be caught with a hook and be identifiable.
Jade Smith still have the largest lake trout entry 41 inches and 25.25 pounds.
Entries will be taken until the last day of the event. Go to www.mackdays.com for information, entry, tips, etc. It is time to go fishing on Flathead Lake! Be safe & please follow all safety precautions when out on the water!
Tight lines everyone!