2023 Spring Mack Days – Week 8 Update 5.8.23
By angelamontana

Posted: May 8, 2023

There is one week left in the 2023 Spring Mack Days Event. It is not too late to come out and be a part of the event. Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. There is UP TO $225,000 in CASH AND PRIZES sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes that will be awarded to anglers at the end of the event. Enter one lake trout and you would qualify for lottery prizes that begin at $2,000 and go to $50. Check out the categories and different ways to win on the website www.mackdays.com

Total fish count for the event is up to 31,062 lake trout turned in by one hundred ninety-eight anglers. There are six hundred eleven anglers entered. Total for Friday-935, Saturday-673, and Sunday-857. This event total makes this the highest number event in the past four years. The 2019 Event had a total of 40,362, 2020-27,331, 2021-27,561, and 2022-21,023. 

The $10,000 tagged lake trout-3-$5,000, and 6-$1,000 plus over 9,000 with values from $100 to $500 are still out there. One of the $1,000 tagged fish is sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine of Missoula. There were five tagged lake trout turned in over the past weekend. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell turned in two $100 tagged lake trout-one on Friday and another on Sunday. Jack Kirkland of Lolo had a $200 tag. Terry Krogstad of Kalispell and Dmitrey Zalenskiy of Kalispell each had $100 tags. Jason and Terry were sitting next to each other when Terry reeled in a lake trout and shouted over to Jason it had a clipped fin. Jason at that time felt his line get a hit-he reeled in a lake trout that was also clipped. Both lake trout had tags so both anglers had smiles at the end of the long day. Tristin Persico of Missoula reported being lucky and catching a pretty, pretty nice rod on Saturday. It was one he had lost three hours earlier. Nice catch Tristin! 

Top Ten anglers will be placed by their 18-day average at the conclusion of the competition. Totals by catch are listed until then. Kolton Turner is leading the Top Ten Anglers with a total of 2,056 lake trout entries over 24 days of weekend angling. His 18-day average is 95.72. His catch over the weekend was 100-Friday, 77-Saturday, and 43 on Sunday. Robert Turner of Kalispell has a total of 1,656-78.28 avg.-67,60,29, 3rd Jason Mahlen-1,576, 87.56-74,44,70, 4th Mike Benson of Lonepine-1,059-35,35,38-49.72, 5th Jerry Benson of Plains-1,043-23,29,21-49.67, 6th Clint Speer of Kalispell-1,035-20,6,22-51.56, 7th Travis Banyai of Kalispell-1,015, 52,24,47-48.5, 8th Steve Benson of Spokane Valley WA-841-9,20,36,-42.11,  9th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell-815-45,40,31-39.33, & 10th Ken Varga of Kalispell-666-45,35,26-35.78.

Leah Banyai of Kalispell is first in the Ladies Category with 312, 2nd Julie Perkins of Kalispell-176, 3rd Connie Jones of Kalispell-91, 4th Nicole Peters of Missoula-14, 5th Amanda Hoback of Arlee with 5.

70 & Over leader is Mike Benson-1,059, 2nd Terry Krogstad-815, 3rd Larry Ashwell of Missoula-572, 4th Larry Karper of Florence-560, and 5th Jack Kirkland of Lolo has 439. Anglers who are in the Top Ten give up a category if they are qualifying in two. The leaders in this category may change. 

Brodie Smith of Kalispell continues his lead in the 13-17 Category with 277, 2nd Matt Guckenberg Jr of Kalispell-41, 3rd Josey McIlhargey Jr of Kalispell with 27, 4th and 5th Tsimmeej Yang of Missoula and Tripp Bick of Arlee-2. Wyatt Best of Florence still is leading in the 12 & Under Category with 14, Leon Thao of Missoula is 2nd with 12, Hadley Steen of Kalispell 3rd 5, 4th-Fisher Whitaker of Hungry Horse has 4, 5th Hunter and Chloe McIlhargey with 3 each.

Rick Skates of Big Arm turned in the Heaviest Bucket of Fish at 26.4 pounds-$200, 2nd Bryan Long and Joe Minnehan of Kalispell with 20.55, 3rd Todd Morigeau of Polson-18.1, 4th Carey Hauser and Dmitriy Zalensky of Kalispell-17.3, and Nate Dietrich of Kalispell was 5th with a bucket weight of 16.7. 

Bryan Long still has the largest lake trout entry with a 36.6 pound 45,5 inch lake trout. Smallest entries are Steve Benson-157mm (6 inches) and Jerry Benson-151mm lake trout entries. Bretz RV and Marine sponsor the $500 largest lake trout award. 

Competition part of the event ends on Friday May 12th. The event ends on Saturday May 13th with awards for that day only. 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 Saturday fish do count for bonus awards.  All entries are to be turned in by 3:00. There will be a small awards ceremony but no fish fry. There will be no cash awards given they will be mailed the following week. The lottery awards will be posted at that time. 

Entries will be taken until the last day. Come out and get involved in this effort to reduce the non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat. The native fish the history and heritage of the lake. They are part of the history and culture of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and it is important to help them sustain populations for future generations. Tight lines everyone!


Photo credit: Mack Days
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