2023 Spring Mack Days 4th Week Update
By angelamontana

Posted: April 11, 2023

Bryan Long of Columbia Falls with largest lake trout entry in the event. This lake trout weighed in at 36.65 lbs. and measured 45.5 inches.

An Easter Surprise and a catch of a lifetime happened for Bryan Long of Columbia Falls over the fourth weekend of 2023 Spring Mack Days event on Flathead Lake. Instead of an Easter basket of goodies he had a large lake trout on the end of the line. He reeled in a 36.65 lb. 45.5inch lake trout. The girth on the large laker was 27 inches around. Bryan said he could not believe how big the lake trout was when he first saw it. It came up on the far end of the boat and then went underneath it before he got it close enough to where he was. Once he got a look at it he started calling for the net. He was fishing with a couple of other anglers who were able to help get the big lake trout into the boat. That is a lot of fish on the end of a line! 

The Montana state record for a lake trout caught on Flathead Lake is held by Ruth Barber from Lakeside who caught a 42.69 lb. 42.5inch lake trout on June 23, 2004. Bryan’s lake trout was longer but the girth was not as much as Ruth’s. The head on his fish was as large as his. He said the size of the fished head was one of the first things he noticed once it was in the boat. Congratulations on the first large fish entry to Bryan. Bretz RV and Marine gives a $500 award to the heaviest lake trout entry at the end of the event. Thank you Bretz RV! The Record largest lake trout for Mack Days is held by lady angler Nicole Peters of Missoula who caught a 45inch 38.5 lb. lake trout on Mother’s Day in 2010. 

The 2023 Spring Mack Days Event is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. These events are used to reduce non-native lake trout numbers in Flathead Lake and increase native bull trout and westslope cutthroat populations. 

Anglers are still looking for the $10,000 tagged lake trout, there are also 3-$5,000, 6-$1,000 and over 9,000 with values from $100-$500. Turning in $100 tagged fish the fourth week were: Claude Kaber-Whitefish, Cole Dehan-Missoula, and Sou Thao of Florence. Bretz RV and Marine also sponsor one of the $1,000 tagged lake trout.

A total of 15,023 lake trout have been entered in the event so far. Friday to Sunday total was 12,876 and Monday to Thursday’s lake trout entries were 2,147. The fourth weekend total is 3,376. The overall total for the 2022 Event at this time was 11,014, Great Job Anglers! 

Kolton Turner of Kalispell leads all anglers with 1,044 lake trout entries. Kolton had 47-Friday, 100-Saturday, and 94-Sunday. Fishing partner and his dad Bob Turner comes in at 2nd with 836-97, 81, & 67. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell is 3rd with 679-100, 0, 0, 4th Jerry Benson of Plains 652-31, 79, 52, Mike Benson of Lonepine 5th with 590-64, 40, & 37, 6th Clint Speer of Kalispell 556-56, 72, & 61, 7th Travis Banyai of Kalispell with 526-100, 48, & 63, 8th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell 447-44, 39, & 12, 9th Steve Benson from Spokane Valley 445-36, 36, & 24, 10th Gene Corne of Kalispell-374-5, 63, & 37.  

Leah Banyai of Kalispell has 140 to lead the Ladies, 2nd Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 91, 3rd Connie Jones of Kalispell 35, 4th Amanda Hoback of Arlee with 5, and 5th Desiree McIlhargey of Kalispell with 3.

Wyatt Best of Florence is first in the 12 & under with 14, 2nd Hunter McIlhargey with 3, and Cloe McIlhargey has 1. 

Brodie Smith of Kalispell is 1st in the 13-17 age group with 119, 2nd Josey McIlhargey 24, 3rd Tsimmeej Yang of Missoula 2, and 4th Eli Yang with 1. 

The 70 & Over group is led by Mike Benson-590, 2nd Terry Krogstad-447, 3rd Larry Ashwell of Missoula-282, 4th Larry Karper of Florence 268, and 5th Jack Kirkland of Lolo with 160. 

New entries are taken until the last day of the event.  Come out and try your luck at lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake and help in this effort to increase the native fish in 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!




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