The 2020 Spring Mack Days Fishing Event sponsored by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes began on March 20 and continues until May 17. There is Up to $225,000 in Cash and Prizes that will be awarded at the conclusion of the event. Because of the coronavirus, at this time there will be no Awards Ceremony or Fish Fry on the last day of the event. Therefore, cash awards will be given in place of the merchandise prizes. Anglers can fish one day or every day. All it takes is one fish entry to win in the lottery style drawing that begins at $450 and goes to $1000. As angler’s fish totals go up, they earn bonus dollars that will also be awarded. Please visit the website for more information on the changes to 2020 Spring Mack Days event. 

One hundred thirty four anglers turned in a total of 5,387 lake trout entries the first weekend. The 2019 Spring Event first weekend total was much smaller because of ice issues all around the lake, where all boat ramps were iced in and the event had been postponed for one week-first weekend. The first weekend total in 2019 was only 2,052 fish. However, the total at the end of the 2019 event was the largest in the history of ALL the events with 40,362 total lake trout entries. The second weekend in 2019 was the largest of the event with 4,846. The previous record for the first weekend was in 2017, when 6,138 lake trout were entered. Weather is a huge factor that effects Mack Days events, it can change in a minute out on the lake. Please be sure and check weather reports before going out on the water!

Spring Mack Days to protect against coronavirus and AIS

From CSKT Natural Resources Department

With all the cancelations happing throughout the Mission Valley, rest assured at least one event will not be canceled! Grab your fishing poles and get your families onto Flathead Lake to participate in the 2020 Spring Mack Days event, which begins on Friday, March 20 and runs until May 17. 

In order to conduct the contest in ways to minimize viral transmission we will implement the following changes: 

Anglers will be received on the porch of the processing building, preferably one at a time.

The Tribal Fisheries staff will count fish and will handle tickets for the angler.

The awards ceremony and fish fry are suspended pending further information. 

At the fish pickup sites please go to the truck one at a time put your cooler down and step back. The staff will count in your fish and they will handle the tickets. These are all actions intended to be consistent with health guidelines to minimize group sizes and maintain social distancing. 

The Tribal Fisheries Program asks anglers to check the website regularly as the coronavirus situation may cause additional changes to the contest. Spring Mack Days requires that everyone have current 2020 AIS boat inspections. Inspection locations are:

  • Kalispell FWP at 409 N Meridian Rd (406) 752-5501
  • Polson at CSKT DFWRC permit office @ 406 6th Ave East (406) 883-2888 
  • Ravalli AIS Check Station (open 7 days a week from 7am-7pm)

Thank you for your cooperation and please stay tuned. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Cindy Benson at 883-2888, ext. 7294.

Jason Mahlen, a Kalispell angler and six-time first place winner in Spring Mack Days event is leading the top ten anglers. It was a four-way tie after the first day with Michael Benson of Lonepine, Larry Karper of Florence, and Scott Bombard of Missoula matching Jason’s total of 100 fish entries. The current limit listed in the CSKT regulations for lake trout caught per day is 100 fish for Flathead Lake. 

The second day Larry’s boat motor gave out with him turning in early with 40 fish entries. Benson and Bombard again matched Jason’s total with 100 each. On Sunday, it was Jason with 100, M. Benson with 61, and Scott with 60 fish entries. Scott Mahlen turned in 100 on Sunday matching his brother’s total and Sam Cusker of Bigfork, also turned in 100 fish enteries. 

Top ten anglers at this time are: Jason Mahlen-300-1st, Michael Benson-261-2nd, Scott Bombard-260-3rd, Kolton Turner-243-4th, Sam Cusker-233-5t, Ken Varga-Kalispell-228-6th, John Gauci-Florence-188-7th, Jerry Benson-Plains-186-8th, Tyler Varga-Kalispell-183-9th, and Bob Turner-Kalispell-178-10th. 

Anglers in 11th to 20th place will be awarded cash prizes for the first time on the last day of the 2020 Event. Scott Mahlen is currently 11th with 150, 12th-Larry Karper-140, 13th Terry Krogstad-Kalispell-114, 14th Julie Perkins-Kalispell-111, 15th Shannon Brownlee-Lolo-105, 16th Larry Ashwell-Missoula-103, 17th Morgan Amdahl-Kalispell-101, 18th Jack Kirkland-Missoula-74, 19th Thomas Kemppainen-Columbia Falls-64, 20th Andy Reed-Kalispell-63.

Julie Perkins leads the Ladies Category with 111, 2nd Debbie Paine-Polson-43, 3rd Connie Jones-Kalispell-33, 4th Janet Iverson-Bigfork-14 and Jenny Stratton-Kalispell and Jenny Perth of Missoula are tied with 7 for 5th place.

Matt Guckenberg Jr. of Kalispell in the 17 and Under Category had some bad luck during the weekend, losing a custom-made rod and a good reel overboard. Imagine the feeling of seeing a rod go overboard and slowly sinking out of sight, especially if it is a special setup like that was. Matt has 58 entries, 2nd Brodie Smith of Kalispell with 29, Allison Hotchkiss of Missoula-3rd with 11, John Ross Jr. of Stevensville is in 4th with 6, Emmett Ludahl of Kalispell-2, and Alex Hotchkiss of Missoula have 2 and are in 5th place.

Mike Ross of Stevensville leads the 12 & Under with 8, Tsimmeej Yang of Missoula is in 2nd with 7, Arley Grandchamp of Pablo is 3rd with 2. 

Tagged lake trout with $200 value were turned in by Travis Tennison-Kalispell, Matt Guckenberg Sr.-Kalispell( X 2), Shane Stratton-Kalispell(X 2), and Bob Bochee-Missoula. Those with $100 tagged fish were: Connie Jones, Bob Stewart-Kalispell, Shannon Brownlee, Jack Kirkland, Jason Newton-Polson, Sou Thao-Florence, Chris Demmons-Missoula, Storm Kemmpainen-Columbia Falls, Cory Hauser-Kalispell, Toby Thompson-Bigfork, Bob Christenson-Missoula, Jenny Perth, Mike Colyer-Missoula, Mike Ferda-Whitefish, Scott Mahlen, Travis Tennison-Kalispell, Jack Kirkland, and Jade Smith-Charlo.

Come out and enjoy lake trout fishing on Flathead Lake. Entries are taken until the last day of the event. Again, we ask anglers that when you are turning in fish, watch that you don’t crowd in, in order to minimize viral transmission. Please take turns coming into the check-in stations. 

Go to or telephone 406-270-3386 for information. Click on the events tab at the top of the page for drop downs with information. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Cindy Benson at 883-2888, ext. 7294.

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