FWP News: 2023 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake
By angelamontana

Posted: March 1, 2023

2023 Spring Mack Days will begin on Thursday March 16th. The days are getting longer and the number of days before 2023 Spring Mack Days begins are getting shorter. It is time to bring out the reels, poles, and lures and start planning and organizing. Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The events are used as a tool to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. Increasing the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat populations is important to the fishery of Flathead Lake. “Most of the world is covered by water. A fisherman’s job is simple: Pick out the best parts.” -Charles Waterman. Register for the event and help in this effort to sustain our native fish into the future for future generations.

Thursday-March 16th -Saturday-May 13thIt is 9 weeks of lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake! Fish one day or several days-one fish entry gives you a chance to catch a tagged lake trout and/or win one of the lottery drawings!

Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (1)-$10,000 & (3) $5,000 & (5) $1000 + over (9,000) $500-$100 Tagged Lake Trout-Plus a $1,000 tagged lake trout-Bretz RV and Marine gift certificate. You never know when you will have a tagged lake trout on the end of your line. They have been released in all parts of the lake. They get caught from boats and from docks or the shore.  We invite businesses to sponsor a tagged lake trout or a merchandise award which they can put a name on and an amount-$100, $200, $500, $1,000, $5,000, or the $10,000 tagged lake trout. For questions or comments telephone 406-270-3386.

Register online at www.mackdays.com on or before March 15th and enter at least one lake trout during the event to be eligible for one $200 cash drawing. Entries do continue to be taken until the last day of the event or e mail your entry to cindy.benson@cskt.org. Include your name, address, telephone number and age.  

Friday- Sunday-is the competitive Mack Days-lottery prizes, tagged fish, and bonuses. Top ten angler prizes: Pick your best 18 days/26 possible-Friday-Sunday-11th place-20th based on totals. Ends Friday May 12th. FISH TURNED IN ½ HR BEFORE DARK OR 9:00 WHICHEVER COMES FIRST. There are twenty six days in the weekend part of the event

Bonus $ amounts (Mon-Sun) increase as your total goes up-bonus amounts and tagged fish amounts are estimated for the amount for the total dollars in the event-anglers who enter 11 or more lake trout receive bonuses-examples: 11-30 lake trout entries- $45, 31-50-$88, 51-75-$150, 76-100-$205, …..205-225-$518, 301-325-$813 on up. No pooling of fish is allowed. Lake trout are to be entered the same day as caught.

Monday-Thursday 9:00 am to 6:00 pm deadline to turn in fish at Blue Bay 4-$250, 2-$100, 4-$50 lottery drawings, –33 days-plus bonus dollars-totaled with Fri-Sun at the end of the event.

Saturday May 13th –all fish turned in by 3:00 at Blue Bay only. No fish pickups-We will do an Awards Ceremony for the Top Twenty Anglers and we will also have posted the lottery drawing winners which are done using an electronic drawing app. All entries for the Fri-Sun lottery will be drawn Friday night.  Separate Awards for the 13th -Cash Drawings-$400, $350, $300, $200, $150, $100–Captains $200, Ladies-$100, 70 & Over $100, Siberian Cooler. Largest lake trout under 30” $100-1st $75-2nd & $50-3rd all entries count for bonus totals. 

Lottery drawings begin at $2,000 and go to $50 for the Friday to Sunday event days. There will be fifty cash drawings from all of the entries. Get entered for them or the Monday to Thursday prizes by turning in at least one lake trout entry on those days. Top Twenty Anglers receive additional prizes that begin at $950 and go to $200 depending on their 18 day average. The Top Twenty Anglers are the hard core men and women who fish every day from sun-up to sun-down for as many days as they can. They put a lot of effort, money, and time into the events helping us to achieve successful numbers of lake trout entries. They usually have a pole in each hand or holder and their eyes on the ends of the poles all day long. They are out in all kinds of weather. They come prepared and ready to fish! Flathead Lake regulations allow for two poles per person with two hooks. Many anglers jig-going to the bottom of the lake and jigging up off of it in the Spring Event. Depths vary from 120’ to 200’ depending on the day. You have to try different depths and colored jigs-use some cut bait on the hook-change it out often. There are fishing tips on the website www.mackdays.com. Talk to local tackle shops in the area for advice. Awards are given for Largest Lake Trout over 36” and 20 pounds-sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine, Smallest Lake trout, Captains Prizes, Weekend Prizes for each weekend, etc. Bucket Days-3 days of heaviest 4-fish under 30”-3/31, 4/22, 5/7-$200 winner for each of the days and over all prize awards. Anglers turn in their four heaviest lake trout under 30” to be weighed. Check out the prize list on the website.

Tight lines everyone!

Feature photo: Jade Smith with the largest lake trout entry of 2022 Spring Mack Days-41 inches and 25.25 pounds

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