2023 Fall Mack Days: Week 3 Update
By angelamontana

Posted: October 4, 2023

Anglers fishing the 2023 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks just completed week number three of the nine-week long event. There is UP TO $200,000 in CASH and PRIZES that will awarded at the conclusion of the event on November 12th. Entries continue to be taken until the last day-there is no entry fee. You choose how many days you want to be a part of the event.  One lake trout entry is all it takes to get entered in the lottery drawings that begin at $2,000 and go to $100. Plus one lake trout entry is all it might take to catch a tagged lake trout. Polson angler Rodney Osburn was that lucky angler with one lake trout entry on his first day of Mack Days being a $100 tagged fish. The $10,000 tagged lake trout “GHOST” is waiting for some lucky angler. There are also 3-$5,000, 6-$1,000 including one sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine of Missoula, plus over 9,000 with values from $100-$500. Sam Sacchi of Thompson Falls turned in a $500 tagged lake trout and Richard Kreis of Huson hooked a $100 tagged lake trout during the third week. 

Mack Days are used as a tool to reduce the non-native invasive lake trout in Flathead Lake and increase the numbers of native lake trout and westslope cutthroat and protect their numbers for the future of the Flathead Lake system. The fishing events are a good way to learn more about catching the evasive lake trout, make new friends, and help in this important conservation effort. 

The Monday through Thursday fishing total is at 1,427. Friday was a great fishing day with 851 lake trout entries. Saturday was one of the worst days of wind and waves that many remember. A few anglers were reporting wave sickness hitting them. Many came off the water while some endured several hours of feeling the effects of the huge rolling waves. There were some big rollers going across the lake. Saturdays total came to 389. Sunday saw some of the same big rollers. Veteran angler Scott Bombard stated it was the worst he had ever been on. Anglers were worn out by the end of the day. Sundays total came to 381. Total of all days Monday through Sunday is at 6,405. One fish at a time from daylight till dark-thank you anglers for what you are doing

Different categories in the event gives several anglers a chance at winning. You can be a Top Twenty Angler by your best 18-day average-for the Top 10 or by your fish total for the-11th to 20th placing. There is a category for the Ladies, Youth 12 & Under and 13-17, Golden Oldies-70 & Over, Smallest Fish, Largest Fish, etc. Plus as totals go up bonus dollars go up. Check out the bonus chart online. Once you enter 11 lake trout entries you start going up the levels paid out.  Go to the website www.mackdays for information. Send entries to cindy.benson@cskt.org with name, mailing address, telephone number, and age. 

Leading the Top Ten Angler Category is Riverton, Wy. angler David Myers with 555 lake trout entries. He has fished every day of the event so far with a goal to catch a lake trout each of the 60 days-weather permitting-dock fishing could be one of the techniques he said he may have to use. His daily catch for the weekend was 87-Friday, 42-Saturday, and 59-Sunday. Felix Gauci of Stevensville is in 2nd with 481-54-Friday, 67-Saturday, 0 on Sunday choosing not to go out. Michael Benson of Lonepine is in 3rd with 448-91-Friday, 25-Saturday, and 37 on Sunday. Coming in a close 4th is Bob Stewart of Kalispell with 446-70, 40, & 52. 5th Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 284-47, 11, & 25, 6th Jerry Benson of Plains with 271-64, 56, & 41, 7th Jack Kirkland of Lolo with 268-54, 14, & 0 not fishing on Sunday. 8th Scott Bombard of Missoula with 213-40, 1, & 17, 9th Richard Kreis of Huson with 204-32, 13, & 24, 10th place Larry Karper of Florence with 203-41, 9, 0 not fishing on Sunday. 

Laurie Kreis of Huson leads the ladies with 105, Kim Mack of Helena is 2nd with 65, Debby Sacchi of Thompson Falls is 3rd with 62. 

70 & Over-Felix Gauci-481, 2nd Michael Benson-448, 3rd Larry Ashwell-284, 4th Jack Kirkland-268, and 5th Larry Karper-203. 

12 & Under-Paisley Helvey of Thompson Falls-13, 2nd Blaine Helvey of Thompson Falls-12, Bear Yarrow, Holden Griffin, and Ace Whimper of Clinton each with one entry.

Largest Bucket of Lake Trout winner on Friday was Big Arm angler Rick Skates bucket weighing in at 31.75 lbs. Anglers put their four largest lake trout under 30” in a bucket for a weight.  Coming in 2nd Jens Gran of Polson with 24.4, 3rd Larry Ashwell and Paul Grove-(Wyoming, IL) bucket at 21.55, 4th Richard Kreis 20.9, and 5th Sam and Debby Sacchi with a bucket at 20.85 lbs. The next Bucket of Fish Day is Saturday October 14th and the last one is Sunday November 5th

Smallest Lake Trout entries are Paul Grove with a 141mm (5.5”) entry and Laurie Kreis of Huson with a 184mm (7.5”) entry. 

No large lake trout over 36” and 20 lbs. has been turned in so far during this event. 

This event will continue until November 12th. Pick your days to fish-come out and get involved-you may be a winner!

Tight lines everyone!

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