2023 Spring Mack Days: 3rd Week Update
By angelamontana

Posted: April 3, 2023

The fish are biting on Flathead Lake but the weather did not cooperate during the third weekend of the nine-week long Mack Days Fishing Event. Fridays fish entry total was decent with a total of 931 lake trout turned in.  The brutal winds and cold weather hampered the anglers with 25-35 mph wind advisory on Saturday and a much lower total of 396 fish entries turned in.

These anglers are prepared for the cold, wet, weather but wind causes batteries on the GPS fish finding units to run down fast and hampers the ability to keep boats where they want them. GPS units are a fishing staple on Flathead Lake. They allow the anglers to stay stationary over the lake trout while fishing but they run on battery power-the wind zaps that power.  

Sunday winds were blowing in the morning keeping many from going on the water but the anglers that were out did well!  The Turner boat came in with two perfect 100 totals. Both Bob and Kolton both had a good day. Jason Mahlen was next highest with 84 entries. Hard lesson for Kolton on Friday, his count was 100 and staff count was 99, there was a re-count with the final count coming in at 99.  He won’t let that happen again, Kolton’s Sunday he was on target. The total fish entries for Sunday for all anglers were at 863. The weekend total was 2,190, bringing the total lake trout entries to 11,315 for the 2023 event.  The 2019 total, which is the current record year for a Spring Event at this time was 13,562.

2023 Spring Mack Days events are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks with Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Anglers also earn bonus dollars depending on their final fish count at the end of the event.  The cash awards are sponsored by CSKT and are given in category prizes and lottery drawings that begin at 50 and go up to $2,000. 

Visit our website at www.mackdays.com to check out all the categories and the rules page. These Mack Days events are used as a management tool to reduce non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake. 

Kolton Turner of Kalispell leads the anglers with 803-99 Friday, 59 Saturday, and 100 Sunday. Bob Turner is in 2nd with 591-71, 41, and 100, 3rd Jason Mahlen of Kalispell-579-95, 0, 94, 4th Jerry Benson of Plains-499-73, 29, & 52, 5th Mike Benson of Lonepine with 449-45,36,& 61, 6th Clint Speer of Kalispell-367-70,24, & 53, 7th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell-352-12, 32,  & 36, 8th  Steven Benson of Spokane Valley with 339-30,09, & 0, 9th Travis Banyai of Lakeside-315-37, 12, & 33, 10th Gene Corne of Kalispell with 275-34, 17, & 29.

Lady angler Leah Banyai of Kalispell has 120, 2nd Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 55, 3rd Connie Jones-Kalispell with 30, 4th Amanda Hoback of Arlee 5, and 5th Desiree McIlhargey of Kalispell with 3.

Brodie Smith of Kalispell in the 13-17 category has 82 and Josey McIlhargey Jr of Kalispell has 24. The 12 & Under Wyatt Best of Florence has 3, Hunter McIlhargey of Kalispell 3, and Chloe McIlhargey has 1. 

70 & Over leader is Mike Benson with 449, 2nd Terry Krogstad-352, 3rd Larry Ashwell of Missoula-208, 4th Larry Karper of Florence-204, and 5th Jack Kirkland of Lolo has 115.

Winning weekend drawings were: $200 Kolton Turner and $100-Steve Benson, Scott Johnson of Kalispell, Kolton Turner, and Travis Banyai.

Smallest lake trout entries are Bob Turner-158mm 6 ½”, and Mike Benson with a 169mm lake trout. There are currently no large lake trout entries.

The first of the Bucket of Fish Days was won by the Colyer boat from Missoula with a weight of 25.36 lbs., 2nd Rick Skates of Big Arm 24.8, 3rd the Demmons boat of Missoula with 24.5, 4th David McDaniel of Polson 23.2, and 5th a tie at 18.25-Banyai boat and Krogstad boat. The bucket of fish consists of the four largest lake trout under 30”. 

Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. The weather man says warmer weather is on the way! Come out and get some lake trout entries in. You could be the winner of the $10,000 tagged lake trout. There are also 3-$5,000, and 6-$1,000 including one sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine plus there are over 6,000 with values from $100-$500.  Bob McBride of Corvallis and Robert Hopp of Florence each turned in $100 tagged lake trout. 

Come out and try your luck at lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake. For more information, visit the website at www.mackdays.com or contact Cindy Benson at (406) 270-3386 or cindy.benson@cskt.org.

Good luck and tight lines everyone!



New Podcast!

Riley's Meats - Butte Wild Game Processing