FLATHEAD LAKE — Week two of the 2021 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event on Flathead Lake ended with winds bringing anglers off the lake early on Sunday before the predicted high winds began. A National Weather Service Advisory was heeded by many anglers, who wisely decided to stay safe off the wild white capping waters and did not venture out at all. At the end of the day Friday, the total came to 1,177 and at the end of the day Saturday, the total was 1,083. With 242 lake trout entries turned in on Sunday, the weekend total was 2,502 lake trout entries. The two-week total for weekends came to 6,088 plus the Monday to Thursday fishing of 676 brings the final count to 6,764 lake trout entries.
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes sponsor the Mack Days Fishing Events to allow anglers to play a roll in reducing non-native lake trout in and preserving and increasing the native fish populations in Flathead Lake. Native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout populations are important to the history of the Flathead Lake fishery, the history of tribal people, and Montana.
There is UP to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes available to anglers participating the event. All they need to do is turn in one lake trout entry to be entered in the lottery drawings that begin at $1,000 at the conclusion of the event. There are several categories that anglers may be entered in. Ladies, Youth-13-17 and 12 and under, Over 70, Smallest and Largest Lake Trout, etc. Check out the categories on the website www.mackdays.com. Once an angler turns in their eleventh entry they begin to earn bonus amounts. The bonus chart is in the rules page under the events tab on the website. The higher the total the more in bonus dollars earned.
The $10,000 tagged lake trout named JAWS is still out there, 3-$5,000, and 5-$1,000 tagged lake trout are the most popular fish in the lake along with over 9,000 with values from $500-$100. Turning in $100 tagged lake trout the second week were: Kalispell anglers-Brodi Smith 12 & Under, Travis Banyai, Hank McLeod, and Clint Speer-Carey Hauser-Lakeside, and Richard Kreis of Huson. Sam Cusker of Bigfork turned in a $200 tagged laker.
There were three perfect 100 fishing limit days turned in the second week of the event. Jason Mahlen of Kalispell turned in perfect scores on Friday and Saturday. Jason chose not to go out on Sunday because of the high wind warning. Kolton Turner also of Kalispell had a perfect 100 on Saturday. He came close on Friday with 95 and turned in 77 on Sunday. Catching 100 fish a day is no small task. It is a good day when everything goes right-no tangled lines, no large fish that take time to bring up and release, etc. These anglers are intense and focused the whole day. Many anglers are hitting the water at dawn and do not come in until dark. They put a lot of time, work, money, and effort into fishing the events.
Kolton Turner of Kalispell is leading the Top Angler category with 392, 2nd Jason Mahlen-370, 3rd Scott Bombard of Missoula-262, 4th Bob Turner of Kalispell-261, 5th Mike Benson of Lonepine-260, 6th Steven Benson of Spokane Valley-241, 7th Ken Varga of Kalispell, 8th Sam Cusker of Bigfork-221, 9th Tyler Varga of Kalispell-190, and 10th Jack Kirkland of Missoula with 165. Top 10 anglers are placed by their best 18-day average at the conclusion of the event. Anglers in 11th to 20th also earn a cash prize.
The Ladies are led by lady angler Julie Perkins of Kalispell with 80, 2nd Laurie Kries of Huson with 20, 3rd Terry Biere of Butte with 7, 4th Polson angler Debbie Paine with 6, and Rebecca Spring of Alberton with 5.
Golden Oldies (70 and Over) leader is Jack Kirkland with 165, Larry Ashwell of Missoula is 2nd with 155, 3rd Larry Karper of Florence with 106, 4th Marty Herak of Polson with 55, and 5th John Gauci of Florence with 54.
Matt Guckenberg Jr of Kalispell leads the 13-17 group with 45, Josey McIhargey Jr of Kalispell is 2nd with 16, Abby Hodgson of Kalispell is 3rd with 12, Leah Banyai of Kalispell and Aithen Balavage of Athol Idaho each have one.
Brodi Smith of Kalispell has 82 in the 12 and under group, 2nd Tripp Bick of Arlee with 5, and 3rd Gage Spring of Alberton with 1.
Tom Kemppainen turned in a 189mm (7.75) small lake trout and is in second behind Jack Kirkland’s 175mm (6 7/8”) small lake trout. Riley Anderson of Kalispell has the largest fish entry lead with a 40” 21.25-pound lake trout.
Winning $100 each in the second weekend drawing were: Bob Turner, Matt Guckenberg Jr, Roy Hassinger, Larry Ashwell, and Ellis Surratt of Huson. Roy is in the 70 and Over group and turned in two fish-just goes to show you don’t have to be in the Top Angler Category to win!
Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event and there is no entry fee. Currently seven hundred twenty-one anglers are registered. One hundred thirty-four have caught one or more lake trout. Safety on the water is very important. Know the daily weather report and watch for changes, have safety equipment available on board, keep your cell phone in a sealed bag, and have a plan! For more information please visit www.mackdays.com.
Tight lines everyone!