2024 Spring Mack Days-Week 6 Update
By angelamontana

Posted: April 22, 2024

Jack Kirkland of Lolo with his large lake trout entry. It measured 42” and weighed in at 24.4lbs. Jack released the fish back into the lake.

There is Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. Annual spring and fall Mack Days fishing events are a tool used to reduce the numbers of introduced non-native lake trout to increase the native fish numbers. 

Being a successful angler takes research, on the target fish species and body of water.  Practice, patience, hard work, and a little bit of trial and error also plays a part.  You have to work at it, you can either be driven to compete and work at being one of the best anglers in the competition, or you can fish to simply have fun!  Mack Days is for everyone—one fish or 100 fish—come out and be part of the event!

Some wonder why many native species struggle when non-native species are introduced into a system.  Non-native species that have been introduced into a particular location can become Invasive species, and tend to outcompete native species, causing damage to the entire ecosystem. Currently, lake trout outcompete the native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout in Flathead Lake for food and they also prey on the native fish. Lake trout have also adapted to eating introduced mysis shrimp in the lake which has helped them to develop into a very robust population.  The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes want to see our native fish populations increase for our future generations to enjoy. These native fish are large part of our history within the Flathead Basin and to our local tribes. 

Lake trout entries for the 2024 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event keep climbing thanks to the endurance and tenacity of the lake trout anglers on Flathead Lake. Many would say it was a rough time on the water over the sixth weekend especially Saturday and Sunday. Blustery winds and cold temps took a toll on the anglers. But in the midst of it all on Saturday-a tough veteran angler Jack Kirkland called in and said he was bringing in a large lake trout to be weighed–and it was a good one. He entered a 24.4 lb.  42” fish in the largest lake trout category. To top that off the big fish had a clipped adipose fin. When it was scanned for a tag number one came up on the scanner and it matched up to a $100 value. Bretz RV and Marine of Missoula sponsors the $500 award for the largest fish. That plus the $100 tag makes Jacks’ fish a $600 fish. Nice payout for a very rough day on the water and Jack has bruises to prove it. Trying to bring up a big one and then get it in a cooler of water is a struggle on the rough water. Jack released the lake trout back into the lake after getting it entered. 

“LETO” the $10,000 tagged lake trout, whose name means “hidden one” is still out in the lake. There are also 3-$5,000, 6-$1,000 including one sponsored by Bretz RV and Marine and over 9,000 with values from $100-$500. Along with Jack Kirkland’s $100 tagged fish another one was turned in by shore angler Richard Kreis of Huson. Richard had two entries and one was tagged.

Total fish count is at: 25,397 Friday=983, Saturday=1,630, and Sunday=337. 

 Saturday was the second day of the Bucket of Fish Competition. Anglers put their four largest lake trout into a bucket and a weight is taken. Heaviest bucket wins $200.  Cole Williams of Kalispell was the winner with a 29.75 lb bucket of four heavy lake trout. 2nd place Rick Skates of Big Arm with a bucket at 21.95, 3rd Connor Thompson of Bozeman with 21.7, 4th Larry Ludahl of Kalispell with 18.4, and 5th Tristan Persico of Missoula with 15.75. Third day of Bucket of Fish is Sunday May 5th

Lady angler Julie Perkins of Kalispell is in 1st in the Ladies Category with 238, 2nd Shirley Batz of Kalispell 80, 3rd Corrine McCubbins of Kalispell 69, 4th Melissa Triano of Bigfork 24, and 5th Janine Kowalski of Florence 17. 

Brodie Smith of Kalispell has learned his fishing techniques from growing up fishing on the lake and they are paying off. He leads the 13-17 Category with 362, 2nd Kennedy Yang of Missoula with 31, 3rd Lane Brazda of Missoula with 14, 4th Matthew Mitts of Kalispell with 12, and Lucia Savoia of Missoula with 1.  

12 & Under leader is Eli Yang of Missoula-31, Mason Cusker of Bigfork is 2nd with 4, 3rd Gage Spring of Alberton-3, and in 4th James Kuchera of Kalispell has 2.

Kolton Turner of Kalispell continues leading the Top Twenty Anglers with 1,675-(16-100 fish days), Bob Turner of Kalispell is in 2nd with 1,532-(10-100 fish days), 3rd Jason Mahlen of Kalispell with 1,411-(10-100 fish days), 4th Clint Speer of Kalispell-1,003, 5th Gene Corne of Kalispell 867, 6th Ken Varga of Kalispell 789, 7th Jerry Benson of Plains 769, 8th Tyler Varga of Kalispell 733, 9th Travis Banyai of Lakeside 700, 10th Michael Benson of Lonepine 666, 11th Larry Ashwell of Missoula 635, 12th Bryan Long of Kalispell 602, 13th David McDaniel of Polson 591, 14th Larry Ludahl of Kalispell 553, 15th David Kelch of Great Falls 533, 16th Jack Kirkland of Lolo 494, 17th Nate Dieterich of Kalispell 479, 18th Jake North of Denton 455, 19th Dan Deutschman of Missoula 425, 20th Terry Krogstad of Kalispell 438. These anglers put in hours and days of fishing Flathead Lake during the event. They work hard and are relentless but many are good friends and they always have each other’s backs out on the water. 

There are only three weeks remaining, in this nine-week long event, which concludes on Saturday May 11th. Entries are taken until the last day of the event. Our website is currently under construction, please call (406) 270-3386 to enter or enter at the end of the day when you turn in your catch. 

All it takes is one entry to be eligible for lottery drawings.  Fish from a boat or from shore!  Get your poles out and come out for some lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake! 

Weather is looking promising for the next week. We ask you to stay safe out on the water and have proper safety equipment.  Please stay alert to changing weather, and keep cell phones dry!

Tight lines everyone and Thank you anglers-you make this happen!


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