The 2023 Spring Mack Days final day of the fishing competition on Flathead Lake was Saturday, May 13th, with a total of 33,297 lake trout that were entered in the event by 200 of the 615 anglers registered making it one of the better events in the history of Mack Days! The total fish count for the last weekend was at 1,514 lake trout.
The 2019 Spring Event has the record number caught at 40,362. This Mack Days event is sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. These events take place twice a year, in the spring and the fall. They are used as a tool to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake, to help improve the native Bull Trout & Westslope Cutthroat Trout numbers.
Mack Days anglers really help make a difference! They invest time and money into equipment, boats, gas, etc. They are a big part of being successful in this effort. Increasing the populations of the native fish who are part of the culture and history of the tribes and Montana is something we can all be part of. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sponsor Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes for the event. Check out the results and category winners on the website at www.mackdays.com.
Top 10 Anglers: Kolton Turner of Kalispell turned in 2,089 entries and had a 95.72 18 day average for 1st in the Top Ten Angler category. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell was 2nd with 1,639 and 88.61 average, 3rd Robert Turner of Kalispell-1,696 78.28, 4th Clint Speer of Kalispell-1,077 52.5, 5th Travis Banyai of Lakeside-1,085 50.67, 6th Mike Benson of Lonepine-1,087 49.72, 7th Jerry Benson of Plains-1,069 49.67, 8th Steven Benson of Spokane Valley,WA-864- 42.11, 9th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell-840 39.33, 10th Ken Varga of Kalispell-687 36.06.
Top 10 Ladies: Leah Banyai of Kalispell was 1st in the Ladies Category with 312, 2nd Julie Perkins of Kalispell 184, 3rd-Connie Jones of Kalispell-98, 4th Nicole Peters of Missoula 14.
70 & Over: Larry Karper of Florence won the 70 & Over Category with 593, 2nd Larry Ashwell of Missoula-586, 3rd Jack Kirkland-Lolo with 479.
13-17 Category/ 12 & Under: Brodie Smith of Kalispell was the winner in 13-17 age category with 285, 2nd Matt Guckenberg Jr of Kalispell-41, Josey McIlhargey of Kalispell-27.
Wyatt Best of Florence won the 12 & Under with 17, Leon Thao of Missoula was 2nd with 12, and Hadley Steen of Kalispell 3rd with 5.
The $10,000 tagged lake trout along with his counterparts did not give in during this event. Turning in $100 tagged lake trout for the ninth week were: Brian McDowell-Kalispell, Mike Benson, Travis Banyai, and David McDaniel of Polson. Turning in a $500 tagged lake trout was Mike Benson. There will be new lake trout tagged before the Fall Event begins September 14th.
Spirit of the Event Awards-knives by Bob Crowder of Thompson Falls went to Gene Corne of Kalispell and Jake North of Denton. Both of these anglers exemplify good sportsmanship, enthusiasm for the event, and helpfulness to our staff and other anglers.
Bryan Long of Kalispell won the Largest Lake Trout award with his 36.6 pound 45.5 inch lake trout entry. The $500 award is sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine of Missoula.
Smallest lake trout winners were: Jerry Benson of Plains-151 mm-almost 6 inches and Steven Bensons 157mm lake trout entry.
Rick Skates of Polson won overall Bucket of Fish. He turned in heaviest buckets twice and came in second once. Mike Colyers boat came in 2nd and David McDaniel of Polson was 3rd.
Captains Prize winners were: Dave Hoback-Arlee, Todd Wood-Ronan, Mike Colyer-Missoula, and Tom Kemppainen of Kalispell.
Winners of the Siberian Coolers were: David McDaniel, Clint Speer, and Ber Yang of Missoula.
The 2023 Fall Mack Days Event will begin September 14 and end November 12, 2023. There is no entry fee. We saw new faces in this event bringing in lake trout entries-that is one of the things that we need to continue to help in this effort. It does take a few trips out on the water to figure out where to go, proper depths, what lures work, etc. Come out and be part of this effort to restore the native fish numbers to Flathead Lake.
Thank you to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, every Mack Day angler, and the tribal staff that helps make this event possible!