2020 Spring Mack Days Event is back on and has been extended until June 28! 

Paul Jochim

Paul Jochim from Stevensville shows off his 38.5” Lake Trout that weighed 24.5 lbs.

POLSON — Lake trout anglers are back on Flathead Lake fishing their favorite fishing holes hoping for tight lines with maybe the $10,000 tagged lake trout on the end of it. The 2020 Spring Event has been extended by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes with up to $225,000 in cash and prizes to be awarded at the conclusion of the event on June 28. The extended event will end on June 28 making it a total of five weeks instead of the normal nine weeks.  There will be no fish fry or awards on the last day of the event June 28, prizes will be awarded electronically and mailed to the winners. 

The contest began on March 20 and was suspended on March 27 out of concern over risks from COVID-19. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Council recognized the importance of these events to the reduction of the non-native lake trout and chose to proceed cautiously with the understanding that anglers will follow strict safety protocols regarding the COVID 19 issues.  Tribal lands within the exterior boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation are still closed to non-residents, therefore anglers who are not residents will need to continue to utilize public or private docks to access Flathead Lake. 

There is up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. The tagged lake trout are still out there. There is 1-$10,000, 3-$5,000, 5-$1,000 and over 6,000 additional tagged fish with values from $500-$100. All anglers who turn in 11 or more fish qualify for bonus amounts for their totals. Every fish anglers enter gives them a chance to win in the lottery style drawing that begins at $1,000 on down to $450. Shore anglers are getting several entries in along with the boat anglers. 

Mack Days are a management tool used to reduce the numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake to increase native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. A total of 3,631 lake trout were turned in over the weekend bringing the total to 12,925 for the event so far. There were 792 on Friday, 1,475 on Saturday, and Sundays total was 1,364.

Reservation tribal lands are closed to non-residents of the reservation at this time so Blue Bay can only be used by residents of the reservation. But fish pickups are being done at boat ramps in the State Parks around Flathead Lake: Yellow Bay(6:30-7), Big Arm(6-6:30), Wayfarers(6:30-7), Westshore(5-5:30), Somers(5:30-6:30), Salish Pt.-CSKT(7-7:15). Residents of the reservation can turn in at the boat ramp areas or at Blue Bay from 11 to 8. Anglers can also boat to the dock at Blue Bay call in and staff will come to the dock to pick up your catch. Call for more information on fish pickups. 

Jason Mahlen of Kalispell continues his winning ways with more 100 fish days added to his angling Mack Days story. One hundred fish days are fun but also a lot of exhausting hard work for the anglers. They know how many fish they need to catch during the morning bite and how many per hour through-out the rest of the day to get that perfect number. They do not stay if they are not catching-they move to other spots they have found over the years. They have put in the time finding those areas and know what time of day to move to them. Being a successful lake trout angler on Flathead Lake takes effort, time, and patience to learn what works and what does not. Jason has seven one hundred days, Mike Benson of Lonepine 4, Scott Bombard-Missoula 2, Andy Reed-Kalispell 1, Kolton Turner-Kalispell 2, Scott Mahlen-Kalispell 1, Sam Cusker-Bigfork 2, and Larry Karper-Florence 1. 

Jason is in 1st in the Top Angler category with 700, 2nd Mike Benson with 602, 3rd Kolton Turner-585, 4th Bob Turner-481, Sam Cusker 5th with 419, Scott Bombard 6th with 344, 7th Larry Karper with 319, 8th John Gauci-318, 9th Tyler Varga-300, and 10th Larry Ashwell-293.

New to this event will be the addition of top angler cash prizes given to anglers in the 11th to 20th placings. Cash awards will be given instead of the usual merchandise prizes. There are thirty five cash awards for the lottery drawing plus extra for the merchandise prizes.

Julie Perkins leads the Ladies with 197, Debbie Paine-49, Connie Jones-43, Savannah Popper-20, and Rebecca Lester-19. 

Matt Guckenberg Jr. is 1st in the 13-17 group with 177, Leah Banyai has 18, Madison Mahlen is 3rd with 17, Allison Hotchkiss-11, and John Ross Jr.-6.

Brodie Smith has 79 in the 12 & Under group, Tsimmiej Yang-11, Mike Ross-8, and Arley Grandchamp-2.  

Two large lake trout have been entered for the coveted large fish prize. First one in was by Ber Yang of Missoula. Exciting times for him. His fish measured 39.25 inches and it weighed 24.5#’s. Then came Paul Jochim of Stevensville with a 38.5 inch laker that weighed in at 25.25 lbs. His boat included two young anglers who were not much taller than the fish was long. The largest lake trout award goes to the heaviest fish. The category ends on the last day of the event. 

Tagged fish with $200 values were turned in by: Marty Herak-Polson, Travis Banyai-Kalispell, and Will Best-Florence. Tags worth $100: Terry Krogstad-Kalispell, Josh Morigeau-Helena, Sam Cusker-Bigfork, Matt Guckenberg and Matt Guckenberg Jr.-Kalispell, and Luke Smith-Kalispell. 

Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. Go to www.mackdays.com and click on the events tab for the drop-down boxes or enter when your fish are turned in.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Cindy Benson at (406) 270-3386 or 883-2888, ext. 7294.

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