FLATHEAD LAKE — There is only one weekend left in the 2020 Fall Mack Days Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Mack Days are a management tool used by fisheries managers to reduce numbers of non-native lake trout in Flathead Lake to increase populations of native bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Up to $200,000 in Cash and Prizes will be awarded at the conclusion of the event which is November 15.
A total of 14,066 lake trout have been entered so far. Winter weather blew in over the ninth weekend with raging winds, cold temps, and snow. Total Monday through Thursday fishing total is 3,572 and the Friday to Sunday total is 10,494. Tough hard-core anglers were out even with the harsh conditions on the water. Fridays total was 205 lake trout entered, Saturday 354, and Sunday a hard caught 33 entries. Anglers deal with frozen reels, lines, and fingers making it difficult to catch the lake trout.
Sunday was the third and last day of the Heaviest Bucket of Fish competition. Six anglers were out on the water trying to catch four fish to put in a bucket. Heaviest bucket went to Mike Benson with a 14 pound bucket of fish. Second place was Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 11.55, 3rd Terry Krogstad and Julie Perkins with 9.95, and 4th Steve Benson of Spokane Valley with 8.9 pounds of lake trout in the bucket.
Overall winner of the three days of the Bucket Competition goes to Rick Skates of Polson who turned in a first-place bucket at 18.35 on Sept 18, and 3rd place 20.6 on October 10. Second place goes to Terry Krogstad and Julie Perkins of Kalispell who were in second with 17.8 on Sept 18 and 9.95 for third on November 8. Richard and Laurie Kreis of Huson are 3rd with a first of 25.65 on October 10.
Mike Benson leads the anglers in the Top Ten Category with 988 and an 18-day average of 49.06 over 26 days of lake trout fishing. Second place holder is Sam Cusker of Bigfork who has 15 days in and a total of 706, 3rd Larry Ashwell of Missoula with 642-32.61 over 23 days, 4th Scott Bombard of Missoula with 564-30.17-21 days, 5th Terry Krogstad 560-27.06-24 days, 6th John Gauci of Florence 517-27.67-21, 7th Julie Perkins 497-24.61-23 days, 8th Steve Benson 427-23.33-20 days, 9th Larry Karper of Florence with 411-22.44-19 days, and 10th Richard Kreis of Huson with 372-19.0-22 days. Three days are left of the 30- weekend fishing days that counts for the top angler places.
Julie Perkins leads the Ladies with 497, 2nd Laurie Kreis with 280, 3rd Gina Schiff of Kalispell with 80, 4th Kim Mack of Helena with 66, and 5th Kim McMillie of Polson with 52.Larry Ashwell is leading the 70 and Over group with 642, 2nd John Gauci of Florence with 517, Larry Karper is 3rd with 411, 4th Jack Kirkland of Missoula with 291, and Marty Herak of Polson is 5th with 119.
Rich Ferris of Thompson Falls, Julie Perkins, Terry Krogstad, and Mike Benson X 2 turned in $100 tagged lake trout and John Gauci had a $200 tagged fish.
Winners of $100 in the ninth weekend drawing were Sam Cusker X 2, Kenny Garrett of Missoula, Jack Kirkland, and Mike Benson.
Youth angler numbers have not changed. Tripp Bick of Arlee leads the 12 and Under with 13, Kaden Blowers of Missoula 2nd with 6, Gage Spring Alberton 4 is 3rd, Brodie Smith of Kalispell and Zander Oliver of Missoula each have one. Jeff Devlin of Polson leads the 13-17 group with 14, 2nd Makenna Garrett of Missoula with 8, 3rd Kadin Kammerer of Missoula with 7, and 4th Wyatt Thompson of Bigfork with 2.
The $10,000, 3-$5,000, and 5-$1,000 tagged lake trout have eluded anglers for nine weeks. There are also over 9,000 with values from $500-$100. In the past anglers that have caught only one lake trout or very few have landed one of these sought after tagged lake trout.
It is not too late to get involved in the event and help out in this effort to increase populations of native trout in Flathead Lake. Entries continue to be taken until the last day of the event. Check out www.mackdays.com for information or telephone 406-270-3386. Tight lines everyone!