2022 Fall Mack Days: Week 1 Update
By angelamontana

Posted: September 19, 2022

2022 Fall Mack Days sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes began Thursday September 15th and will conclude on Sunday November 13th.  All anglers will be vying for a chance to win cash prizes from lottery drawings, tagged fish, and other categories.  Up to $200,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Anyone who enters one fish or more will have a chance to win. 

What would be better than catching the $10,000 tagged lake trout or one of the three $5,000, or one of the five $1,000 tagged fish? Plus there is one $1,000 tagged fish sponsored by Bretz Rv and Marine.  There are also over 9,000 with values from $100 to $500. Felix Gauci of Stevensville who is a previous $10,000 tagged lake trout winner turned in a $100 tagged fish for the first weekend.  

Anglers begin to acquire bonus amounts after their fish total count gets to eleven. As the lake trout total goes up the dollar amount goes up. Example, 11-30 fish entries=$45, 31-50 fish entries=$88, up to 151-175 fish entries=$385. Check out the bonus chart on the rules page on the website www.mackdays.com. There are also fishing tips, fish ID, videos, etc. on the website. 

2022 Fall Mack Days began Thursday with a total of 412 lake trout entries. Fridays total came to 717, Saturday 679, and Sunday 374 for a total of 1,770. The fist four days of the 2021 Fall Event had 2,175 lake trout turned in. 

Any day you can fish they say (anglers) is a great day. Thursday was also great fishing weather. Missoula angler Scott Bombard came in with the high number entering 52 lake trout.  Total for Thursday came to 412. Friday was a little breezy but good fishing for most-717 entries, Saturday the total came to 679, and Sunday was a little bumpy out on the water with a total of 374 for a weekend total of 1,770.

Carey Hauser of Lakeside has turned in the first large lake trout entry of the event. Carey turned in a 36.5 inch lake trout that weighed in at 21 pounds. The large fish has to be 36 inches or over and 20 pounds or over to qualify for the $500 Largest Fish sponsored by Bretz Rv and Marine of Missoula. Smallest lake trout entries for two $250 prizes-Ron Seliger of Kalispell with a 204mm (8.25”) lake trout, Jerry Benson of Plains-204mm. Felix Gauci-Stevensville-202mm (8”). 

Veteran Missoula angler Larry Ashwell is leading the anglers with 201 lake trout entries. Larry has been fishing Mack Days Events since the events began in 2002. He was in fifth place at the end of that event with 57 fish entries. Friday Larry turned in his best catch ever with 93 lake trout entries. Saturday he turned in 65 and Sundays total was 43.  Currently holding second place is Sam Cusker of Bigfork with 153 fish entries, 3rd Jerry Benson of Plains with 138, 4th Felix Gauci of Stevensville with 133, 5th Mike Benson of Lonepine with 126, 6th Scott Bombard of Missoula with 116, 7th Larry Karper of Florence with 107, 8th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 105, 9th Richard Kreis of Huson with 88, and 10th Laurie Kreis of Huson with 73 lake trout entries.

Laurie Kreis of Huson leads the Ladies with 73, 2nd Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 71, 3rd Kim Mack of Helena with 26, 4th Debby Sacchi of Thompson Falls with 9, and 5th Connie Jones of Kalispell with 1. It’s been a Great start for the ladies.

Marcus Lucas of Polson turned in 3 lake trout in the 13-17 category. 

The Golden Oldie Category-age 70 and Over-is led by Larry Ashwell with 201 lake trout entries, 2nd is Mike Benson with 126, 3rd is Larry Karper with 107, 4th is John Gauci of Florence with 70, and Jack Kirkland of Lolo is 5th with 36. The oldest angler entered in the event is reported to be 93. Leonard Lewis of Missoula is hoping to get out on the water and fish the event this fall and he knows how to catch lake trout!

Winning the weekend drawings were: John Gauci-$200 and $100, Larry Ashwell-$100, Mike Benson-$100, and Laurie Kreis-$100. 

Barry Hansen CSKT Tribal Biologist gives anglers this message: The Tribal Fisheries Program is grateful for your help in managing Flathead Lake to maintain a healthy and sustainable native fishery.  We’ve undertaken an enormous task and your help is critical to our success.  Years ago we acted on extensive data that indicated the need to suppress lake trout to perpetuate our native trout.  Our strategy, set in 2014, was to incrementally reduce the adult lake trout population by 75%.  This means unlike many other suppression programs in other lakes (Yellowstone, Pend O’reille, etc.) our goal is not total eradication of lake trout.  Therefore, even when the population is reduced to 25% of its size in 2014, an ongoing suppression program will be necessary.  So our work will never be done and we will always need help from anglers. 

Come out and join in this worthwhile effort for the future of the native fish in Flathead Lake. It is going to take everyone helping to sustain native fish populations in Flathead Lake for future generations of tribal people and the people of Montana.  Always be safe out there-have the proper PFD’s on board, check the weather predictions, etc. 

Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event.For more information please go to the website at www.mackdays.com or call us at (406) 675-2700 ex 7294 or (406) 270-3386.  The website has rules, fishing tips with videos, along with fish ID, map, weather information, and safety information. We look forward to a successful fishing contest with many happy anglers!

Tight lines everyone!