2024 Spring Mack Days: Week 3 Update
By angelamontana

Posted: April 1, 2024

After three weekends of fishing beneath the snowcapped Mission Mountains on Flathead Lake, our Spring Mack Days angler’s total lake trout count stands at 13,417. Totals of past years 3-week mark are: 2023:11,315 entries, 2022: 9,039 entries, 2021:11,135 entries, 2020:12,925 entries, and 2019:13,622 entries. These anglers are amazing fishermen and women who put in countless hours, money, and effort making the events successful!

Mack Days Fishing Events are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and are sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The Fishing Events are a management tool used to reduce the non-native lake trout population in Flathead lake. Increasing the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat is important for the future of Flathead Lake fisheries by helping to sustain populations of the bull trout and westslope cutthroat into the future. There is UP TO $225,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event to many hard-working anglers. Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. Enter at the end of the day or send your entry with name, mailing address, telephone number and age to cindy.benson@cskt.org. We apologize, our mackdays.com website is not functioning at this time. 

Leto “hidden one” the $10,000 tagged lake trout is still eluding the anglers along with 3-$5,000, 6-$1,000-one sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine and over 9-000 with $100-$500 values. These fish are the ones that anglers like to see at the end of their lines. Turning in tagged fish the third week were: Travis Banyai-Kalispell $500–$100 tags Tyler Varga, Matthew Mitts, Brodie Smith, Luke Smith, Collin Mitts-all Kalispell anglers and Missoula angler Jack Colyer.

Anglers rods were busy Friday and Saturday bringing in a few high lake trout numbers the first two days of the weekend. Friday the total was 1,390. Kalispell anglers Kolton Turner and Jason Mahlen had 100 entries each.  Saturday’s total came in at 1,723-Kolton again had a 100 fish day. Sunday numbers were down with many anglers coming off the rough water early. Sundays total was 850. The weekend total came to 3,963. Every lake trout entry counts-anglers come in with 1 to 100 lake trout-every fish counts! Lottery prizes are drawn using the angler’s daily counts. Each fish is entered into a file by using the angler’s ID number and random drawings are done using a computer app. 

Kolton Turner is in first place in the Top Twenty category with 875, 2nd Bob Turner-Kalispell-760, 3rd Jason Mahlen-705, 4th-Jerry Benson-Plains-508, 5th -Clint Speer-Kalispell-501, 6th -Jake North-Denton-455, 7th Tyler Varga-Kalispell-442, 8th Gene Corne-Kalispell-426, 9th Ken Varga-Kalispell-425, 10th Mike Benson-Lonepine-390, 11th Bryan Long-Kalispell-340, 12th Travis Banyai-Kalispell-331, 13th Felix Gauci-Stevensville-307, 14th Larry Ashwell-Missoula-299, 15th David Kelch-Great Falls-284, 16th Larry Ludahl-Kalispell-276, 17th Dan Deutschman-Missoula-265, 18th-Brodie Smith-Kalispell-226, 19th-Jack Kirkland-Missoula-205, and 20th-Joe Minnehan-Kalispell-193. 

Youth anglers who fish in the event are exceptional young men and ladies spending many hours on the water-loving what they are doing. Youth angler Eli Yang from Missoula is leading the 12 & Under category with 31 entries. Mason Cusker of Bigfork is in 2nd with 4, and Gage Spring of Alberton and James Kuchera of Kalispell each have 2. 

The 13-17 category has Brodie Smith of Kalispell leading with 226 entries, he is currently in 18th place in the Top Twenty, Kennedy Yang of Missoula is 2nd with 31, Lane Braza of Missoula is 3rd with 14, Matthew Mitts of Kalispell has 12, and Lucia Savoia of Missoula has 1. Thank you for supporting Mack Days!

Lady angler Julie Perkins of Kalispell is leading the ladies with 92, Shirley Batz of Kalispell is 2nd with 31, Melissa Triano of Bigfork is in 3rd with 24, Connie Jones of Kalispell is tied for 4th with Rebecca Spring of Alberton each with 15.

First day of the Bucket Days was won by Collin and Matthew Mitts with a bucket weight of 19.15, 2nd Lyndon Lee of Kelowne BC was 2nd with 19.0, 3rd Rick Skates of Big Arm 16.95. Second day of the Bucket Competition is Saturday April 20th. Anglers put their four largest/heaviest fish under 30 inches and a weight is taken.

Kolton Turner has turned in the smallest lake trout so far at 166mm (6.5”). He also has the second smallest lake trout at 175mm (7”). 

Weekend 3 Drawing Winners were: $200 Kolton Turner, $100-Kolton Turner, Shane Salminen-Eureka, Eric Lechleitner-Missoula, and Jeff Hale-Lolo. 

Warming spring weather is on its way-come out and join in. Help the native fish populations in Flathead Lake for future generations. 

We would like to send out a big “Thank You” to Lake County Search & Rescue for giving a disabled boat a tow off the lake Sunday. Safety is a big consideration for the anglers and you provide your help when needed. It is greatly appreciated. 

We remind anglers to be weather wise when fishing on Flathead Lake, have the proper safety equipment on board, wear your PFD’s-life vests, keep cell phones dry, and let someone know your fishing plan. Be safe out there. 

Good luck and tight lines everyone!



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