Flathead Lake Spring Mack Days 2023 is moving into the sixth week of the nine-week long event. Sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes there is Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Mack Days began in 2002-there are two events per year Spring and Fall. Managers use the events to reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake to increase the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat which were once the dominant fish of the lake.
Anglers had a good weather weekend of fishing. A total of 18,508 lake trout have been turned in. The fifth weekend total came to 3,093 lake trout entries plus one fishing net Jack Kirkland of Missoula landed on Saturday. He recognized it right away. It was a net that he lost a year ago in the event. Friday’s total came to 1,091, Saturday-1,060, and Sunday-942-there were a lot of anglers out on Sunday but the fish were a little closed mouth. You never know what may come up at the end of an angler’s line. Steve Benson of Spokane Valley hooked onto a $500 tagged lake trout on Sunday to make his day. Chris Demmons of Missoula and David McDaniel X 2 of Polson each turned in $100 tagged fish. The $10,000, 3-$5,000, 6-$1,000-one sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine and over 9,000 with values from $100-$500 are still waiting for the right lures to entice them to bite.
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. New anglers are becoming involved and learning how to fish Flathead Lake. There are 564 anglers registered. One hundred seventy-six have entered one or more lake trout in the event. All it takes is one entry to qualify for lottery drawings that begin at $2,000 and go to $50. Check out the website www.mackdays.com for information, entry, fishing tips, etc.
Kolton Turner of Kalispell has a total of 1,292 lake trout entered to place him first in the Top Ten Angler’s-Friday-100, Saturday-82, and Sunday-66. Bob Turner of Kalispell is 2nd with 1,030-100, 54, & 40-3rd Jason Mahlen of Kalispell-827-98, 0, 50,-4th Jerry Benson of Plains-760-42, 32, 34-5th Mike Benson of Lonepine-724-60, 42, 32-6th Clint Speer of Kalispell-648-40, 25, 27-7th Travis Banyai of Lakeside with 638-44, 35, 37-8th Steven Benson Spokane Valley-549-37, 42, 25-9th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell with 518-32, 23, 16-10th Gene Corne of Kalispell 442-42, 26, 0.
Leah Banyai of Lakeside is 1st with 177 in the Ladies,-2nd Julie Perkins-Kalispell 91, 3rd Connie Jones of Kalispell-54, 4th Amanda Hoback-Arlee 5, and 5th Desiree McIlhargey of Kalispell with 4.
13-17-Brodie Smith of Kalispell 155, 2nd Josey McIlhargey Jr. 27, Tripp Bick of Arlee has 2, Tsimmeej Yang of Missoula-2, and Eli Yang of Missoula-1. 12 & Under-Wyatt Best of Florence-14, Leon Thao of Missoula-12, Fisher Whitaker of Kalispell-4, Hunter McIlhargey and Chloe McIlhargey of Kalispell-3.
70 & Over-Mike Benson-725, Terry Krogstad-518, Larry Ashwell of Missoula-336, Larry Karper-Florence 321, and Jack Kirkland of Missoula-217.
Bonus dollars begin after anglers turn in their eleventh entry and continue to move up as their totals go up. Bonus amounts are to compensate for fuel, equipment, etc. Examples: 11-30 lake trout-$45, 101-125-$263, 201-225-$518, and on up.
Weekend Winners: $200-David McDaniel of Polson, $100-Scott Bombard, David Myers of Riverton, Wy., Rick Dietrich of Thompson Falls, and Scott Johnson of Kalispell.
Largest lake trout entry is still the 36.65lb. 45.5inch lake trout turned in by Bryan Long of Kalispell. Smallest lake trout entries 158mm Bob Turner and 169mm Mike Benson.
The second Bucket Day will be Saturday April 22nd. Leading the Bucket Day weights is the Colyer boat of Missoula with a 25.35lb four fish bucket, 2nd Rick Skates of Big Arm-24.8, and 3rd Demmons boat of Missoula at 24.5. Winning bucket prize on Saturday is $200. The 3rd Bucket Day will be May 7th.
Be safe out there. Always have safety equipment on board and be weather informed. Remember entries continue to be taken until the last day.
Tight lines everyone!
Photo credit: MackDays.com