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Angler nets over 1000 lake trout so far at 2013 Spring Mack Days

Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell with a lake trout that is almost as big as he is. (courtesy photo) Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell with a lake trout that is almost as big as he is. (courtesy photo)

POLSON ó Jason Mahlen of Kalispell, Spring Mack Days 1 place angler, caught his one thousandth fish on Friday and kept on fishing; one thousand one, one thousand two, one thousand three until he reached one thousand fifty six for his ending total on Friday. He added twenty two fish on a very windy Saturday and forty seven on a windy Sunday to add up to one thousand one hundred twenty five lake trout entries, which puts him in a good position to break last yearís record of one thousand five hundred fifty one lake trout turned in by Don Beville of Lakeside. Mahlen also turned in a tagged fish worth $100 during the seventh weekend of the event. Jasonís fishing finesse has been witnessed by several anglers who are impressed by his lake trout fishing technique.

Weather has been relentless with wind and wave action hampering the anglers. Many believe that this has been the worst weather during the history of the events. Saturday was reported to be the worst ever with huge waves white capping across the lake. You have to know where to go to get out of that type of wave action to be able to hold anchor and fish throughout the storm. Even with all of the rough water and winds, anglers have turned in a total of 17,890 so far in this event. That number compares with 21,963 in the 2012 Spring Event.

2013 Spring Mack Days are sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and sanctioned by Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks and are used as a management tool to slowly reduce the non-native lake trout numbers in Flathead Lake. Up to $150,000 will be awarded to anglers on the last day of the event. Every lake trout entry gives anglers a chance to win in the lottery style drawing that begins at $1,000 and goes to $100. There are several other ways to win-smallest and largest lake trout entries, ladies, youth categories, captainsí prizes, weekend prizes, etc. For more information go to

Ryan Shima of Kalispell with a large lake trout. (courtesy photo) Ryan Shima of Kalispell with a large lake trout. (courtesy photo)

No one has turned in a high dollar tagged fish so far in the event. They are out there; one $10,000, five $5,000, 10 $1,000 and over 4000 with values from $100 to $500. The higher valued tagged fish were released in different sections of the lake one-two weeks before the event began. The tags are not visible. The adipose fin on the tagged fish has been clipped and those fish are scanned to read the tags.

Jason Mahlen is in 1 with 1,125 and a 59.33 average, Mike Benson of Lonepine is 2 with 733 and 38.94, Steven Benson of Four Lakes, WA is sitting 3rd with 691 and 36.39, 4 goes to Craig Morigeau of Polson with 676, Danny Smith of Hot Springs is 5 with 604 and 33.5, Scott Mahlen of Kalispell is 6 with 590 and 31.56, 7 is Bryan Long of Columbia Falls with 478, Jerry Benson of Plains is 8 with 451 and 24.72 average, 9 place is Dean Vaughan of Charlo with 417, 10 place is Darren Borgen of Columbia Falls with 412. Some anglers have not fished enough days to get an eighteen-day average which the top ten anglers will be placed by on the last day.

Lady angler Susan Martin of Polson has a total of 170 to put her in first place. Second is Julie Vacca of Florence with 158, and Nicole Peters of Missoula is third with 127. Tracy Powers of Missoula is 4 and has 55, 5 place is Deana Knipe of Polson with 45, and Donna Bolendar of Kalispell has 11 and is in sixth place.

Danner Shima of Kalispell leads in the 13 to 17 category with 219. Connor Kowalski of Florence follows with 150, Kobe Cox of Charlo is third with 117, 4 goes to Roger Guillory of Kalispell with 106, and Tanner Murry of Columbia Falls has 101 and is in fifth. Garett Vaughan of Charlo is in first place in the 12 and under category with 281. Matt Guckenberg of Kalispell is second with 57, Cole Gilleard of Charlo is 3 with 32, Abby Hodgson of Kalispell is 4 with 17, and Dylan Hodgson has 14.

Sunday May 5 will be the third day of the Heaviest Bucket of Fish Contest. Anglers must mark their four heaviest fish before coming in to enter for the day. Those four fish will be put in a bucket and a weight taken. Heaviest bucket of four fish will win $200. Overall winners of the combined three days of this contest will be announced May 19 at the awards.

Mack Days continues with fishing on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday the 8 weekend May 3, 4, and 5, and then beginning Friday May 10 there will be 10 straight fishing days until May 19 the last day of the event. The fish fry will begin at 4 p.m. at Blue Bay with awards at 5 p.m.

Telephone 406-883-2888, ext. 7294 for more information.

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